In solidarity with protesters – who remain out in force across the country – we’re running a series this week called “Black Lives Matter in the Coal Region.” Dozens of events have been held in our region, from Scranton to Shamokin. This series seeks to amplify the voices of the people in the streets, providing transcribed speeches and videos from various events.
This is our third speech in the series. It’s by Sharee Clark, a co-founder of Freedom Fighters in Wilkes-Barre. It took place in Wilkes-Barre on June 20, 2020, and begins at the 1:06:50 mark in this video.
by Sharee Clark
Again, I just want to thank everybody—in the sweltering heat—but we’re out here. This is important. I just want to thank everybody for their support.
We’ve been out here on the front lines for two weeks now. Any time I’m on a platform there are four things I wanna do.
First is to continue to ignite passion. Anything you’re not passionate about—it’s not gonna last. Do I have any passionate people out here for change right now? Anybody out here passionate about bringing some changes out here?
Second thing I want to do is to keep our minds exactly where this young man’s shirt is. Where do we go from here? I must stress that the protests bring attention to the issues. But the number one thing that’s going to bring change for us is getting those people that are in office that don’t represent our cause out of office. Let me get a “Vote them out!”
[Crowd: VOTE THEM OUT! VOTE THEM OUT! VOTE THEM OUT!]
Everybody under the sound of my voice that is over the age of 18 that is not registered to vote, it is imperative that you are registered to vote—not only on paper, but when the polls open, we should be the first ones there.
I said when the polls open we should be the first ones there.
We have to educate ourselves on the people that are running so we know what they are standing for. Somebody say education.
[Crowd: Is power!]
[Crowd: Is power!]
The next thing that I want to make everybody aware of is that breaking the cycle of a system that has been in place for over 400 years is not going to be instant gratification. It is going to be a long journey. Do I have any soldiers that are willing to fight for the long haul?
In order to destroy systemic racism in American we have to nip at it brick by brick. It starts right here on the front lines but this is not where it ends. We have to come together as a united front. It doesn’t matter what your skin color is.
Without unity we are never going to make it across the finish line. So I want to thank all the allies that are out here right now. If you don’t stand for something, you’re gonna fall for anything!
What we did in the parking lot at the Save-a-Lot is what we need to continue to do.
WE WANT CHANGE!
And I just want to send a message to those that are listening—we’re not going to be silent until we see tangible changes. Whenever there’s a protest, we need everybody to come together. Whenever there’s an action, we need everybody to come together.
Who will stand with me?
Also from this series:
All photos for this “Black Lives Matter in the Coal Region” series are by Paul Weaver. Check out more of his work here.
Did you give a speech at a local BLM rally? Would you be interested in having it published on our blog? If so, be in touch.