Protesters to counter Blue rally, support BLM

Corryn Brock and Elizabeth Taylor

An Eastern student has organized a Black Lives Matter counterprotest in response to a Back the Blue rally happening at 10 a.m. on the Coles County Courthouse lawn Saturday.

The counter protest will begin at the same time and be in the same place as the rally.

The student who organized the event, Brianna Hull, a sophomore political science and public relations major, said she felt the Back the Blue rally is inappropriate at this time, “especially when we just lost another person to police brutality.”

Hull said she does not want to remain quiet on the issue.

“I felt that the Black voice on this campus can be quite silenced at times, I feel like there’s this desire to be comfortable and to not intimidate our peers,” Hull said. “Given the most recent political climate, I have not found myself wanting to do that anymore.”

She said she made the decision to do something in response when those around her all said something should be done but offered no ideas on what to do.

“Everybody is like ‘Yeah we need to do something about this’ but nobody decides to do anything, so I’m like let me just tell people about this,” Hull said.

Hull said she hopes the counterprotest shows that there are voices in the community that support her cause, because she feels that racism in Charleston is often downplayed.

“It kind of shows that there is a voice here that supports Black lives, and we’re not going to passively accept the racism that is in this area,” Hull said. “A lot of people try to speak down on it, like it’s not here, it’s not existent, and we look passed it, and it’s a quiet secret that Charleston has its prejudices against people of color.”

She added that the she thinks the Back the Blue movement differs greatly from the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s a conversation that we keep having that the idea that a blue life exists, it’s not a thing. A blue life, that’s a career you go into, it’s a choice that you make and the people we are, the people we’ve grown as, it’s not a choice. It’s not a decision to come into this group marginalized, and have these people just oppress you.”

Hull said she has lost interest in finding common ground.

“I think there’s a desire to try to understand both sides, but me personally, my desire to do that, I’m long passed that. You know how people go through their activism stages,” Hull said. “I’m more at that point that’s like, there’s only so much explaining you can do.”

Hull said she is planning on bringing extra face masks and hand sanitizer for those attending the counterprotest.

Hull said she feels that

“I feel it’s more of a human issue or a humanity issue than it is a political issue,” Hull said.

 

Corryn Brock and Elizabeth Taylor can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]