NAACP and local leaders address ongoing racism

Published: Sep. 27, 2020 at 8:27 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Local leaders and elected officials in Roanoke want to see change in the community. They gathered Sunday, September 27, to start a conversation about racial injustice across the country and how we can address the problem here in our hometowns.

“We’ve lost too many of our own and enough is enough. I’m tired thinking I am next and I know that you are too," Brianna Wilson, vice president of the Roanoke NAACP Youth Council, said at the conference.

She took to the podium Sunday to stand up for black lives and Breonna Taylor - the Lousiville woman shot in her home during a police raid in March.

“She was not an unresponsive woman. Her name was Breonna Taylor. Say her name. Breonna Taylor!” Wilson said, as the crowd chanted back.

The Youth Council and local NAACP branch led this conference that addressed racism and the ongoing injustice in our country. The council invited Mayor Sherman Lea to speak; Sherman encouraged everyone to vote.

“You’ve got to vote. Take advantage of it. Take advantage of that. Take that pain and hurt and frustration and go forward,” Mayor Lea said.

And Vice Mayor Joe Cobb also shared a message: “George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. May their names and their lives become our brilliant beacon for justice. We are done dying.”

Elected officials Sam Rasoul (D-11) and John Edwards (D-21) echoed that sentiment in their speeches at this event.

“Any of that injustice that is upon one of our communities is upon all of us. But the only path forward is to be able to work together and to be able to push together," Delegate Rasoul said.

State Senator Edwards added, “Without justice, you cannot have peace, and that is so, so true, so let’s make sure we have a just society.”

Throughout the conference, youth council members called out the names of those killed at the hands of police.

“These young people called out their names because their names mean something, just like their names [of the youth in Roanoke] mean something,” said Brenda Hale, president of the Roanoke Branch NAACP.

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