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Our young people lead with voices, presence

Winchester Star Op-Ed

ROBIN YOUNG

I write in support of my brothers and sisters, black and white and all races, who march the streets across our commonwealth and nation for justice long overdue. I am white and I am not silent, but these older bones are past their days of marching logistics. I dare to hope the moment has come, where we take action to build an equitable, just society of opportunity for all. For decades, right-thinking people have talked with other right- thinking people, saying and nodding that this must happen. But no one had the ability to flip the switch, especially in a nation with fringe elements on both sides who march with bricks and blow torches in their backpacks, or carry AK47s into churches and state buildings.

But today I dare to hope that switch can flip. I am watching today’s New York march, from lower Manhattan’s Union Square up Fifth Avenue. This is residential and the people are coming to their windows to wave to the marchers. Old ladies are coming out on their rollators to wave. Drivers honk and people are banging pots and pans from the sidelines to encourage this mixed group of genuine marchers. But it is the young people who float this movement on their shoulders now, masked, tattooed, homemade signs, running shoes and shorts, fearlessly striding Uptown at a pace I could never maintain. Last night, as I watched the peaceful group in D.C. before they

were ruthlessly gassed and shot with high velocity weaponry ordered by a despot, their honesty, their dedication, their obvious acceptance of this torch, coolly, their matter- of- fact faith that, of course, all lives matter, caused me to remember something wonderful.

I remembered 2008, in California, when a controversial ballot initiative on gay marriage had divided the state along predictable lines. All of a sudden, the young people were in the streets, organized by social media when that was novel. They were in the streets everywhere — at shopping centers that had never seen a demonstration in 30 years. They took it as natural that LBGTQ people have the same rights. They recognized the freedom to love mattered. They never looked back and they voted. They normalized this social change with their voices and their presence — what the leaders of the LGBTQ movement had been fighting for decades. The torch was passed.

Today, I think they can do it again. I think the action steps can begin. The straw broke the camel’s back. The core of the nation has shifted. In Frederick County if you wish to be part of the solution you can take join in community with the NAACP of Winchester, with the Winchester Frederick County Democratic Party, or join Coming to the Table’s local affiliate in Front Royal.

Robin Young is a resident of Middletown.

Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller

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