This man is Toussaint Romain. He is a very good friend of mine. He is a man who sat down with me nearly two years ago and told me to never let the color of my skin…dim my passion for standing up and speaking up with people of color. 

He was one of the first to serve on The Red Boot Coalition board. 

Toussaint…brother…I think you are one of the bravest and most passionate humans I know. I love you so much. I stand with you. 

Detective Garry McFadden…I know you are there. I know you wear the blue and I know that you love so big. Please be safe. I love you so much my heart aches with it. I stand with you. 

And then of course…there’s Antonio Baldwin. Many of you may know him as my garbage collector. I know him as one of my best friends in the whole universe. He is a Red Boot Guide. He is uptown now…called in…the garbage trucks are being used as barricades. I hold you in peace. I hold you in safety. I stand with you. 

And of course my good friend Robert Cannon…first responder and fire department captain. We’ve known each other a long, long time. He and others are on call…been on call for 24 hours…exhausted but ready to assist when they can. You are so brave and so compassionate. I stand with you. 

Jennifer Watson Roberts…our Charlotte Mayor. Sister. I hold you up on this night. I hear the fatigue in your voice. I do not know how you are managing all of this. I have known you since we were children. I know your heart. I know your spirit. You’ve got this. I stand with you. 

To Makeda T. Pennycooke…sister…be safe. Be smart. I stand with you. 

It’s time we get to know each other. As people. As friends. 

Because when we do…this shit gets real…real quick.