March Against Racism in Bend Oregon

I’m emotional tonight. So many people showed up in POWER today. I was joined by Natasha & Marissa as we went to the March followed by the vigil for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others.

On our way there, we passed the mini protest in La Pine. For my Flagler fam, we live in the equivalent of the Mondex. I wasn’t sure what the attendance/reception was going to be like. As we were passing, we had to slow down. Tash was driving. I rolled down my window to raise a fist in solidarity. And let me tell you. The ERUPTION of voices, the looks on the attendee’s faces. The Children that were there with them. It was something that made me break down for a moment. At the end of the stretch, there were also a group of “Proud Boys” clutching their AR’s and waving a flag that I couldn’t make out but it sure wasn’t an American flag.

Once in Bend, we parked and walked to the meeting point for the march. When we arrived, I was… overwhelmed by what I saw. At first, it was over a hundred people showing up. By the time we were ready to march, that number… I couldn’t begin to count. Easily over a thousand. We marched along the road. We marched along multi million dollar homes where some held Signs of support from their back yards. Some simply observed. Some joined in. We marched through Old Mill (I don’t think this part was planned). But we overtook the plaza, marching in solidarity. Chanting cadences of justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, and so many others.

Once we made it Down Town, that was something I was not prepared for. My voice cracked. My fist raised. Tears streaming down my face. I take a turn calling the cadences for our section. I look to my left and Tash, arm in arm with me, has raised her fist with me. My daughter was calling the cadences for our section. My knees buckled a bit. A woman to my right, whom I do not know wrapped her arm around my shoulder and simply whispered “It’s not right. It needs to stop”. She then proceeded to follow the chants being called out by Marissa.

We reached An intersection where cars were stopped waiting for the caravan to pass. They honked their horns and raised their fists in solidarity. Once we reached the court house, a FLOOD of humanity lined up with us. Chanting for equality. Enough is enough. Our voices will be heard. There were a few speakers. A drone flew over our heads snapping shots. I hope to see the footage.

Once the speakers were done, we made our way to Troy Field for the vigil. So many people poured into the field. Across the street from the field. About 5-6 more Proud Boys in Camo, Trump shirts, and the ever present decked out Assault Rifles. They opened up the vigil for speakers. Before I realized it.. I was standing there with the mic. My voice did not crack this time.

I will no longer be silent. Even though the Proud Boys wanted ALL of us silent. They wanted us gone. Other Proud Boys drove by in their large diesel trucks, Trump flags flying. Gunning their engines. Staring us down. The Police were standing guard. They kept an eye on the Proud Boys.

There were probably 30-50 Black, Hispanic or Asian people out there. There were a few people from India. And the rest was white america. They ranged from the elderly, some that were around during the civil rights movement. There were several that brought their young children. At the end, we all took a knee for 9 minutes to remind us just how long that officer had his knee on George Floyd. Several people wept during this. It felt like an eternity. Imagine what HE felt like.

Life if precious. Life has meaning. No one should have to go through that. Change is coming. If you’re “sick of seeing the protests”. Do yourself a favor. Attend one. Be part of the peaceful movement. Be part of the right side of history. Perhaps the experience may show you a different viewpoint.

This does not stop after today. When the protests die down. It Does Not Stop. Keep Going. Keep pressing for equality.

Lives literally depend on it.

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