This is important and so I want to share it with you.
If you’ve never been to a protest march, you might wanna give it a try. Protests are interesting. They are living, amorphous bundles of energy.
I went to one last week…here in Charlotte…when all this pain and agony first erupted.
I’m not gonna lie. I was scared. Scared to death actually. I know this sounds crazy; but I looked both of my kids in the eyes before I went and told ’em how much I loved ’em.
I was met by my friend Toussaint Romain. And when I got there he outlined the mechanics of a protest.
“It’s important to keep the people moving,” he explained. At one point, as the crowd congregated, he and a few clergy, stepped up and shouted, “Yall ready to march? Come on, let’s get moving!”
It’s funny. I immediately understood what he and my police friend, Garry McFadden meant when they both said, with great pride in their voices, “Now this HERE is how a protest march works!!!”
The crowd marches down the middle of the road and the police stay way off to the sides. They are on bikes and they morph and flex and dance around the edges.
The whole thing is like one big moving living amoeba.
It was beautiful actually. An unspoken respect and understanding between the protestors and the cops.
Somewhere in all that moving, I saw one young black woman break from the crowd and run over to the line of cops on bikes and shout, “Thank you! THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING ME SO I CAN BE HERE.”
At one point during the marching and chanting, the crowd stopped. People were up against people. The chanting continued, yet now all that energy felt stuck and rising and building.
It’s amazing the difference I felt almost immediately within my own being. As long as we were moving I felt safe. When, we stopped I did not.
And that got me thinking about lots of things about all that’s happening in my town:
How beautiful and respectful it is when we give plenty of room for people to be angry, enraged, to say what they need to say. To not just hold the space BUT CREATE IT.
But also how unhealthy it can be when we create the space but then stop moving, evolving, going forward. How all that anger and rage and frustration gets bottled up when we get stuck, cordon it off…when we don’t give it room to move…to transform…to DO something.
As the crowd congregated on the corner of Trade and Tryon…stopped the moving, the marching, the chanting…the voice of one policeman sounded loud as it pulled from his bullhorn.
“Keep moving. Keep moving. We need to keep moving forward.”
And my friend Toussaint…a man I have come to know, love and respect chimed in, “Alright people. You heard what he said. Let’s all keep moving.”