By A.J. Harris
BLOOMINGTON – Last night at Miller Park, Black Lives Matter hosted a second public meeting to discuss just how to attain the demands that were established during the first public meeting last month, and also to discuss and clarify the language involved in such demands.
While movement skeptics wince at the aggressive language, organizer Ky Ajayi discussed why words like “demands” and “defund” are so important.
“I love the word because it causes shock, outrage,confusion, and our hope is that it would stimulate conversation,” he says.
Ajayi adds the detractors say no, that people just shut down with such language.
“That’s fine, you can shut down if you want, but to me that’s silly. Ask me ‘what do you mean by that?’, tell me that if you defund the police that we’ll be unsafe,” he says.
“Now we can have a conversation.”
The issue of language stemmed from remarks made by Bloomington Alderwoman Joni Painter, who, while saying she supports the movement, questioned the aggressive language.
Addressing the crowd, Ajayi spoke of the first 20 enslaved Africans who landed in Virginia in 1619.
He adds using the word “demands” implies urgency, and that they have been asking nicely for over four hundred years with nothing to show for it.
“The time for asking nicely is at an end,” he says.
While the crowd was distinctly smaller this time around, a fact acknowledged and expected by speaker and BLM organizer Radiance Campbell, that did not deter those in attendance, and many were not worried about keeping the momentum of the movement.
Lexi French, 21, wasn’t worried about the smaller crowd, and talked about what she as an individual could do to keep things moving forward to election day, the day when many of the changes the movement hopes to implement would take place.
“Having conversations, utilizing social media. It’s really important to make sure that these issues are still on everbody’s minds and remain prevalent,” French says.
Ajayi also remains optimistic, and he is certain that results will come and that finally people understande what Black people have been saying for a long time, that they have been treated inhumanely and it has to stop.
“Dr. Martin Luther King said that the arc of the universe bends towards justice, and I believe that.”
A.J. Harris can be reached at email@example.com