As a participant in the June 8 march and peaceful protest to honor slain George Floyd, I would like to say thank you to Desiree Heflin who organized us to peacefully protest and call out the racism embedded in our culture. Without your gifts, Desiree, this would not have happened. We are blessed because of you.
Thank you to Chief Clifton of the Oneonta Police Department, who pulled together a mighty group of law enforcement officials to ensure our right to a peaceful protest, as guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution. Chief Clifton, your word is good. And the irony of this situation (our police department protecting us from men in camouflage with guns, who objected to our protest) is not lost upon us. We are a blessed community.
Thank you to all of the people, of so many colors, political beliefs, faiths, and ages, who came out, as never before, 300 plus of us, to say “Enough is Enough!” We see our Black brothers and sisters being killed, abused, and terrorized by white failure to stop it. Well, we are with you now. Please accept our apologies for being late to the table. We are here now. And as one of the protest and march speakers, attorney Ed Berry said, we have to “check ourselves” and then “check our brothers and sisters.” We are a blessed community rising up. Amen.
Thank you to all of the churches, all of the folks who made or bought masks to donate, and all who brought water. Thank you to all the good folks who told us “we are with you in Spirit” even if we are not with you today. We are blessed again.
And may the detractors come to see the harm they are doing, not only to others, but to themselves. We are not from New York; we are not stupid; we are not communists; we do have jobs; we are productive members of our local communities here in Blount County; we are tired of the hate, the violence, and the division, and we are a community who is ready for change. It takes a village to raise a healthy community, and we have one.
This is the first step. I look forward to the next steps, Black lives DO matter.
Sara Rose, RN, Royal