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Tucson pastor on what it's like growing up black in America

Posted at 3:55 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 07:54:54-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Justice.

That’s what one man says America is seeking after years of oppression.

Dr. Damond Holt is a man who has worked hard to earn a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. He is also a pastor.

He sought higher education to better himself and give his family a better life, but he says the racism that surrounds him every day, makes it hard to breathe.

He says this is what it’s like growing up being black in America.

“The code in the street was, you better not be in those territories when the sun go down,” said Dr. Holt.

He was born and raised in Flint, Michigan.

“So I’m from the 'hood. Raised in the areas of poverty and violence, and we had high racism,” he said.

So curfew for Holt was always early. He says that’s what it’s like growing up Black in America.

“Because we knew the police was going to be picking on us, harassing us, or even trying to take us to jail... because of racial bias, people look at dark skin as aggression,” he said.

Dr. Damond Holt believed in the power of education, hence why he pursued a doctorate in counseling psychology.

However, he says even his degree couldn't shield him from racism.

“I’ve had police officers pull me over for no reason. Want to know why do I have the car that I have. Uh, because I went to school and I’m educated and I worked hard to get where I’m at. That’s why,” Dr. Holt added.

Now fast forward to May 25, 2020, the day George Floyd was killed by a police officer.

“Black America is upset. This is 400 years of oppression and we still, to this day, are dealing with the aftermath of the effects of people not respecting. People not making sure we have justice. People not making sure we have equality in Black America,” he said.

Dr. Holt went on to describe the video that America and the world saw of George Floyd taking his last breath.

“It was something about seeing nine minutes of someone’s life being taken and it was grueling. It was demonizing. It was just horrific and it was traumatizing to America. So we’ve said enough is enough,” he said

And so people all around the world have taken to the streets to stand up against police brutality and injustice

“We’re protesting so we can change policy,” said Dr. Holt.

Here’s what he says you can do if you want to join the movement:

“We have to change our march to a meeting, we have to shift our anger to an agenda, and we have to move from protesting to shifting policy. And let’s set some new legislation that reverses any type of legislation that empowers institutional racism in our state and in our country,” he added.

However, Dr. Holt says none of this is possible without equity and justice for all.

“The healing for racism cannot start until we finally get justice and we get equality for our country and for Black Americans,” he said.