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"This is not new. Police officers were never here to protect Blacks. The system was never designed for us. It was never made for us to thrive. We thrive because we’ve fought to thrive. Because we’ve forced ourselves to be better. That’s why. Not because the system or the police officers are helping us. No. We did it because we as Black people knew we have to be better, we have to rise above, we have to do what we can."

 

                                                                           

 

-Brittany Smith

"Having conversations with my friends, it's like “It’s so cool that you’re reading these books now and it’s so cool that you’re acknowledging your privilege. But how are you actualising that knowledge and how are you measuring your growth with it?” That’s the real question. I’ve been pushing people and challenging people a lot with that recently. It’s been really eye-opening to see the ways you can test a friendship with this topic. Because a lot of people are uncomfortable with it. But if we’re going to be friends, you can’t be uncomfortable with this. Straight up.

Being a friend is holding someone accountable and helping them grow through those challenges they have and truly showing up for them. I feel we don’t do that a lot with people we claim to be our friends, and so friendships often fall shallow, certain bridges don’t ever get crossed, intimacy can’t be developed because people are too afraid to really see what could be with people we meet and encounter. I really try more intentionally now to tell people how I feel in the moment and also encourage them to tell me how they feel. Because if I can’t build you up and you can’t build me up, what are we doing here?"

-Denzel Coleman
 

                                                                           

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"Here in Bath, I’ve been told I’m not the right color for this town. I’ve always felt like a zoo creature or something. I’m very quiet. Maybe I try to blend in more. Even if it’s somebody calling me beautiful, I think about it and wonder if there’s something underneath that.

My roots are here. I want to raise my children here one day. I love the way life is here. Maine’s the way for me. And I just feel so pushed out and alienated lately. More than ever."

 

 

-Rose Cruz

"I believe in peaceful protesting but at the end of the day you have to look at reality. Riots are what make changes. Look at the Boston Tea Party. Look at history. Until you break things, until you bark loud, no one is going to hear you out. That’s just how it is. For me, I will be peaceful. But if you come up to me and punch my face, I’m going to punch your face. I’m not going to stand there and watch you hit me over and over again. Of course I’m going to strike back. People can be peaceful for as long as they can handle it. But eventually it will break."

 

-Shukri Abdirahman

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"Being Black and a transgender man, I’ve just always kept my head up. This is me. I’m not gonna change. For some people, maybe they look up to me or maybe they could look up to me. If they see me being strong they might think “Oh, I can be strong too.” So I need to keep going. I’m tired but I need to keep going. I’m exhausted, I’m hurting, but I need to keep being strong, not for myself but for other people; all the lives that aren’t here."

 

 

-Breydan McCrary