Deray McKesson — Black Lives Matter activist, founding member of We The Protestors, “curator, connector,” and Twitterer extraordinaire — gave a speech on Saturday at a San Francisco gala hosted by GLAAD.
McKesson spoke about the protest in Ferguson, and how those early days grew into a movement. About what it means to love himself as a proud black gay man. About the power of Twitter as a force in fostering community and sustaining activism, and how social media has enabled those who have felt alone to find one another — and to make their voices heard.
Because I believe this speech is too good not to be heard, I am sharing it here.
Because I can’t be the only person who prefers reading to listening, I also transcribed it. (You’re welcome!)
Because I proved unable to control myself, I have added emphasis to certain passages below. Mostly these’re the ones I want to run through the streets shouting into people’s faces, so I figured a font change was the better choice. (You’re welcome again!)
Without further ado — take it away, Deray…
A year ago in St. Louis, we never thought that the protests would spread the way that they have. We never thought that people would rise up in their own communities. We knew that people were going to stand with us in St. Louis, but we didn’t know that it would spread. But it did. And here we are.
In those early days, we made two commitments:a commitment to stand today, and a commitment to fight tomorrow. We made those commitments despite it being illegal in St. Louis to stand still. We made those commitments despite being arrested for what we knew was right. We made those commitments despite being teargassed and shot at with rubber bullets. We made those commitments because we knew that we were on the right side of justice.
And those commitments started as commitments of protest. Protest is confrontation, protest is disruption, protest is the end of silence. And for us, the protest began in the street. But protest is so many things.
I think often of this tweet:
Continue reading “Coming Out of the Quiet”