TONIGHT: Stand Up for Racial Justice

By on July 21, 2016

A rally tonight on town square will address race relations and escalating violence in the U.S.


Jackson Hole, WY — Yet another unarmed black person was shot by a police officer yesterday. Social worker Charles Kinsey was attempting to calm his autistic patient who had gone missing from a treatment facility. Instead, police at the scene told Kinsey to lie down on the ground with his hands in the air, while the autistic patient sat a few feet away. Kinsey complied, explaining that he was the patient’s caregiver. One of the police officers shot him anyway.

Fortunately the shot fired was not fatal. “Why did you shoot me?” Kinsey asked the cop.

“I don’t know,” the officer reportedly replied.

The only good thing about this story is that Kinsey wasn’t killed. Police killed at least 102 unarmed black people in America in 2015. So far in 2016, police have killed 160. Not only does the violence continue unabated, it’s increasing, despite rising public outcry.

Perhaps only crying out louder will stop the bloodshed.

Tonight, dozens of people are expected to gather on town square for an “Action to End White Silence.” Organized by Sarah Ross, Jackson’s rally will be part of a nationwide day of action crafted by the activist groups Stand Up for Racial Justice and Black Lives Matter.“I think it is paramount that we—and I’m speaking of white people—demonstrate with our voices, time, and bodies that we oppose racism, and oppression in all forms, including police brutality,” Ross said.

Ross was born in Africa and grew up in Jackson. She attended Jackson Hole Community School and participated in Model United Nations. She earned her BA from Colorado College, and is now living in Jackson again. No stranger to progressive activism, Ross is committed to principles of racial justice.

“Black Lives Matter is asking white people to consider how our whiteness protects and privileges us, how our identities have been built on the backs of those exploited and marginalized people of color,” Ross said. “We, in one of the most privileged communities in this country, must demonstrate our commitment to critically thinking about race and working to end racism, no matter how uncomfortable or overwhelming.”

The rally is both a time of reflection and action, Ross explained, and she encourages other people to offer their input. The rally begins at 7 p.m. but people are welcome to show up early to make signs.

Ross plans to lead a moment of silence. She also wants to engage the group in reading “23 Ways You can be Killed if you are Black in America,” the script from a video created by notable black celebrities. “I hope this gathering will be the starting place for a conversation, and ideally, a group that might be interested in organizing to oppose racism, and to collaborate with the organizations in this town that already protect, defend, and represent marginalized members of this community,” she said.


Action to End White Silence, tonight, 7 p.m., Jackson Town Square.



About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

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