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Why Black Lives Matter Tucson decided not to organize in-person protests for George Floyd

"A story we've heard over and over again."
Posted at 6:11 PM, May 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-30 13:02:22-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — On the heels of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and a host of other black lives lost at the hands of racial injustice, George Floyd is another name added to that list.

"The story itself is a story we've heard over and over again. But at some point you recognize that we are reaching a level of such depravity and lack of humanity that you are conveying to a community of people - not just in Minneapolis, but across the country - that you so devalue black life that people feel they have no place to go with their pain and rage, but into the streets,” said Lola Rainey, the executive director of Tucson Second Chance and a member of Black Lives Matter Tucson.

To the violent protests in Minneapolis, Rainey said, it is a spontaneous, last resort response of people who feel powerless and ignored - now letting rage send the message.

"And that's what you saw happen was people rising up and saying, 'No more.'" said Rainey.

In Tucson, Rainey said the rage is there, but organizers are taking a different approach.

"When you talk about taking to the streets an organized movement like that, you have to be aware that you're putting other people's lives at risk. One, because we are in a pandemic, and there are a lot of things you cannot control when people are out in the streets like that,” said Rainey.

She said the intent from organizers may be peaceful, but they can't fully control what happens from either side of the issue.

Rainey explained that Black Lives Matter Tucson is deciding to take a step back and work out different ways to promote healing and change.

"What about the three officers who stood by and watched? That is symptomatic of what white supremacy and action looks like. Instead of looking to us to take action in the streets, what are you going to do about what you saw? What is your role? What power do you have to change what's happened? Because you do. It can't just be black people who are always leading the charge,” said Rainey.

That is the call to action to non-black allies across the nation.

Black Lives Matter Tucson organized a virtual black healing event that took place Friday afternoon.