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Kid-friendly Protest

A way to talk about race becomes something more.

by Jan Schlain

From the July, 2020 issue

"Some of us wanted to get involved in some of the marches," says Georgetown resident Mira Sussman. "But with Covid and having little kids"--her youngest is six --she decided to organize something less intense.

She saw her Kids March for Equity as a way for parents to "talk about race with their kids" and expected maybe thirty people to show up--fifty, tops. So she was shocked to find at least 150 gathered at the intersection of Tacoma Cir. and King George Blvd. on the first Sunday in June. There were seniors (including Sussman's activist mom, Lonnie), parents pushing buggies, elementary-school kids, and teenagers.

"I told everybody ... bring your own signs, snacks, and water," Sussman says. Luckily, Jen Rosenberg also brought a megaphone.

Sussman told the crowd, "the burden of ending racism does not rest solely on black people. It's up to those of us who benefit from these [racist] structures to recognize our roles in maintaining these systems."

The marchers "wound up walking down King George to Eisenhower," says Sussman. Drivers honked in support as the protesters waved their handmade signs.

Sussman's sign quoted the Torah: "Justice, Justice, You shall pursue." Leslie Wilkins, who is white, made one that read "Black Lives Matter." Wilkins' thirteen-year-old daughter, Maxine, who is black, wrote on hers, "I shouldn't be scared to go jogging."

Reading it, Wilkins got teary-eyed. The next week she and Maxine joined another family march, this one in the Scarlett Mitchell neighborhood. She says 240 people showed up for that one--"and half of them were kids."     (end of article)

[Originally published in July, 2020.]


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