Sunday, June 7, 2020

Peaceful Protest in Baker, Nevada

 A friend told me about a protest march in Baker, NV, for Black Lives Matter and said that it was going to be small. My husband and I talked about it a little, and I did some research, as I don't have much experience with protest marches. I also have found that my knowledge of Black Lives Matter and racism and white privilege in general have greatly expanded in recent weeks. Even though we live in a remote community, often isolated from the rest of the world, we still care.

So the kids and I headed out Saturday morning with a couple signs, our Covid masks, and the dogs. We found that word had spread about the protest march, and instead of the handful of people I was expecting, there were about 30.

The organizer gave a quick talk, saying he hadn't really organized something like this before, so it was fluid. We decided to start off by walking around the streets of Baker.

I ran ahead to take a photo.

Then we headed out to the pavement and continued. We moved aside when vehicles came by and waved at them, sometimes sang, sometimes shouted, and talked with each other. The protestors included ranch employees, national park employees, service industry employees, students, retirees, and more.

A colorful tutu lent some levity to the march!

 I was impressed that 100% of the participants wore face masks. We are considerate of each other and want each other to be safe!

I had heard the phrase Black Lives Matter, but it took a little research to understand it better. Yes, all lives matter, but that phrase shows that whoever is saying it really doesn't understand the issue. If you say your grandma is sick, the respondent doesn't say that all grandmas matter. They ask about yours. If you say your ankle is injured, the respondent doesn't say all your body parts matter, they ask about your ankle. When someone says Black Lives Matter, they are referring to the injustices that black people have suffered, and they are many. It's okay to focus attention on them and still love all lives, but right now we need to spend time on this issue.

After the protest, I asked the kids why we were protesting. I wanted to see what their takeaway was. Desert Girl said we were protesting "because not all people are being treated equally, and we all deserve to be treated equally because we're all the same species."

We stopped for a photo op with Great Basin National Park behind us.

Then we went over to the courtyard and sat down and discussed why people were participating. It was enlightening. I feel like everyone is on some kind of continuum, with some having more knowledge of racism than others. Hearing other people's thoughts helped us move along that continuum to better understanding. And with better understanding, we can better help those that need help.

We heard about other people's journeys learning how people of color are not treated the same as white people, even though many of us thought they were. We learned that even though we are remote, and one hadn't even seen a black person until she was ten years old, people want to make a difference. We were encouraged to be active voters. We were challenged to not only be an ally to people of color, but an accomplice, actively helping them.

We all know each other, as we're a close-knit community, and it was great to hear and see the camaraderie.

We then walked through town, with some tourists joining us for a short while.

We ended back at Baker Hall, where we kneeled in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time that the officer kneeled on George Floyd's neck, killing him.  It's a long time.

A few people continued with a walk on to the Border Inn. Many others, who didn't know about the protest, said they would gladly join a protest if there was another one. 

I wasn't sure how the whole protest would go, but I came away from it feeling the love of the community, and the desire to make the world a better place. We have a long way to go to make the world better, but if each of us takes a little time to do that, we will all be better off.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you so much to you and the people of Baker and surrounding areas for your brave and selfless and kind acts, for these lovely photos, and for the beautiful words you wrote.

Your meditation was among the best I've ever heard on what "Black Lives Matter" can mean to us all. I particularly appreciate your take on how misguided, if not worse, is that odd, non-empathic response sometimes given.

Great Basin National Park. The lovely high desert, the open skies, and the eternal bristlecone groves there has always been to me one of the most spiritual places.

Thanks to you all for demonstrating so well that the people who live there are also so filled with love and light.

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