The movement of black lives matter has shined a bright light on racial inequity and police brutality in America.

Tebias Perry and Demarcus Austin have decided to spotlight countless individuals who chose to share their experiences with peaceful protesting, riots and looting around the country. The range of diverse stories will give you some insight to the movement; present and past.

They have teamed up with Georgia Voice to spread their stories to further share their recaps.

 

My Name is Robbie Poindexter and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

Growing up in Mississippi, I dealt with racism. We shouldn’t be treated any differently because of our skin color. It’s sad a black life had to be taken to drive home the reality that racism is still alive and well. Too many innocent black lives have been lost at the hands of racism. I will continue to peacefully protest until we get justice for the black lives we lost. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

 

My Name is Alexis Mathis and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit. Blood on the leaves and blood at the root. Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.” This song, called “Strange Fruit,” was written in protest of the lynching and murder of black Americans. Over eighty years later, we are still singing the song. Why? Why have we been protesting and crying over blood shed for centuries as Americans?

Since before the United States was free from British rule, blacks have always been portrayed as villains, criminals, test subjects, and animals, even in fighting for our freedom to be American. Black Americans were used by force for testing drugs and medical procedures, because it was believed that blacks could not feel pain. Black Americans were also bred, the same way as dogs, to create the strongest and best slaves. For over 400 years, we have been protesting in a system that was solely created for straight, white, free men. Protesting has led to laws that protect those who have murdered, tortured, and abused.

We need to create a new system of government. The solution will have to be transformative.

I dedicate this to my brothers and sisters that have had complete generations wiped-out due to the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge era, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Communist invasion in Tibet, Native American Massacre of 1622, Gasoline Baths of Mexicans, the Stolen Generations of Australia, and the Cuban Revolution; slaves who were breeders; slaves who were used for medical experimentation; and the political prisoners who will never see the light of day because they refused to believe in the American political system.

 

My Name is Master Eli and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

The Black Lives Matter movement is so personal to me and all who are black. As a person of direct Jamaican decent, I feel privileged to be a part of this empowerment movement in America. I truly understand the Black Panthers’ position in America. I take pride in showing up and showing out for the mission of empowering blackness in the streets.

 

My Name is Nick Fuentes and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

I was playing roller derby with the Atlanta Rollergirls, surrounded by some of the most badass black women on earth. At the same time, a member of of my chosen family was a white police officer.

One game day, after yet another brutal action by the police, a white teammate showed up at a game wearing a Black Lives Matter (BLM) shirt, and I was in attendance with my cop friend. The cop started saying BLM is a terroristic group designed to kill cops. I knew this was not true, but I said nothing; He had taken care of me during one of the darkest periods of my life. He was “one of the good ones,” I thought.

But after speaking with one of my black peers, I went back to my cop friend. I told him we weren’t going to talk about BLM anymore that day. I went home and sat in the hard emotions about how I think, how I behave, who I listen to, and why.

Since that day, I have made a commitment to learning the history of black people, understanding how the system was built on their backs, and keeps them down, unable to breathe. I am far from perfect. I continue to learn and try to do just a little bit better every day.

 

My Name is Tony Feliciano and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

I have three African sons, so I will protest via advocacy for human rights, especially for the rights of my people until the day I die, even if I have to stand alone. The Creator has placed a mandate on me to oppose the spirit of racism, and I will do so unapologetically, because black lives—our lives—matter!

 

My Name is Rick Gore and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

No matter what laws are enacted or resolutions passed, there will always be people who hate gay folks. And obviously the same holds true for black people. Only God can change those hearts. In the meantime, we still need to love those different from us, vote for the right people and work to pass laws that protect the life and dignity of all people. There are no quick solutions.

 

My Name is Ronald Ballenger and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

I’m a 53-year-old Caucasian man that lives in Atlanta. As a single father of a bi-racial child, I recall at an early age when he came to me and asked, “Daddy, being mixed, what race do I belong to?” My response to him, “The human race!” I’ve had to sit and teach him about racial injustice from an early age, and how he will be judged solely on the color of his skin. That caused great pain for me. I worry, I struggle, and I lean on my faith to protect him when he’s not in my sight. As I have raised him to think we are all equal in God’s eyes, somehow the world reminds me that he’s not as equal as I am. I want him to feel as safe as I do in my house as well as outside the house. My son should be safe regardless. As long as I’m breathing I will do my part in making sure everyone feels equal, safe, and loved regardless of race. We all deserve that; we all deserve to live in peace, love, solidarity. I’m not only with my son, I’m with you. I will not stop fighting until racism is no longer an issue in this country!

 

My Name is Tobias Jackson Campbell and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

This marching, this movement, this moment in American history is different. We assure you of that. We are what our parents told us we could be. Our parents told us, “The sky is the limit.” The marching, the protesting, the desegregation of schools, fighting for legislation such as the Voting Rights Act, all of their actions to form a more just and inclusive union, making the American dream more tangible for black and brown citizens everywhere. We are the generation of black people that was told nothing could stop us, not racism, not sexism, not classism. The marching and protesting will not stop until this government understands the meaning of “no justice no peace,” until this society sees the black race as equal, until tangible policies are put in place to protect our lives.

America has had to face the brutal truth—that what black people have been saying for years about police officers is true—by video. The video of George Floyd being pinned down for eight minutes and 46 seconds was watched by the world, who saw the glaringly smug expression on the officer’s face. For those nine minutes, they had to feel our pain, they had to acknowledge their lack of care for our pain for centuries, they had to admit that there was a problem in America when it comes to raising up the black experience and the systematic system that keeps holding back the black race. This moment in American history, with protesting and marching, is necessary.

The only thing we are asking America to do is to live up to your founding principles, that all people are created equal with a right to the pursuit of happiness. We will get there. We will. We ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.

“America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’” 

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

My Name is Eric Rutherford and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

My thoughts on the BLM Movement is simple. It’s about black lives and the years of injustice still lives. All lives matters to me, and no other race should be placed before another one. However, being an African American, I’m usually the one unrecognized, overlooked, unappreciated and targeted by those who feel superior to myself and others like me. At some point we have to come together to recognize the injustices we’ve endured for many years. We need ALL lives to push our movement, so if ALL lives matter to you, it shouldn’t be a problem.

 

My Name is Anita Dodd and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

I am a conservative. I’m 60 years old, and I have seen many changes in our country.

Asked how I feel about the BLM movement, I say that I support people of color. I personally want to see change. I want to be a part of the change. My question is simple: What can I do to help change occur? What do you feel needs to be done?

Too many people are allowing this to become political, but it’s not; it’s human. Let’s work together for change. We can’t inspire change until we come together.

 

My Name is Pat Ferguson and this is my Black Lives Matter story.

The horrific and inhumane image of George Floyd lying face down, hands bound behind his back, begging, pleading for his life until he had no more breath to beg with, and using the last of it to cry out for his Mother, shook me to my core. I was traumatized beyond my own comprehension at first. Then it began to sink in: this trauma is 61 years old for me and 336 years old for African Americans.

What was I seeing with my own eyes? I could only watch a few seconds. As my mind began to comprehend what my eyes were seeing, I realized that I couldn’t breathe either. I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t breathe, I stopped breathing. I was watching a human being die. Not a movie, not a dream; in real life, a cop put his full weight on a man’s neck until he stopped living. I was watching a snuff film.

I saw the last few seconds of the eight minutes and 46 seconds that the policeman casually applied his full body weight of 200 plus pounds. I saw, with renewed and complete horror, that Mr. Floyd was dead. He was gray, eyes bulging, not breathing, still. In the street, still under that cop’s knee, he was dead.

For 61 years, I have looked away, ignored, walked through the trauma that is the state of my existence. I cannot this time. Being traumatized as a people had become accepted by black folk, by me, and by the world at large, but as it turns out, black folk, me and the world just can’t accept it anymore.

The world has asked me to keep going despite America’s vile history of slavery and centuries of racism that follows us into 2020. The world has asked me to ignore years of torture, rape, family separation, the emasculation of our men, beatings, hangings, stereotyping, the denigration of black womanhood … the list of dehumanization goes on and on. The world has asked me to look away from disproportionately imprisoned Black men, subpar schools for my son, health disadvantages, joblessness, unfair hiring and promotion practices, unequal pay and incentives, overpolicing, and police brutality against my people.

We’ve played by rules that were never designed for us to even be in the game. When we made our own rules, they were burned to the ground, infiltrated, and destroyed. There is a punishment and price for not accepting America’s trauma and marginalization.

I am struggling, and you need to know that others may be as well.

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