By Mike Espy
Something big is happening in America and all over the world.
Yesterday, we witnessed what may have been one of the largest global gatherings of peaceful protesters in demonstrations for civil rights in history, and I was proud to stand side by side with Mississippians in Jackson to say “Black Lives Matter.”
Across the world and in all 50 states, people from all walks of life stood up to make their voices heard — and Mississippi showed up.
In downtown Jackson, thousands of people assembled to protest police brutality and demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others who should be alive today. Folks came prepared with powerful, moving signs, along with face masks, water, and other supplies to share with their fellow protesters.
I was proud to march alongside my family and Black Lives Matter Mississippi, thinking about those that came before us like James Meredith who marched against these same injustices 54 years ago. As a dad to two young Black men, it was important to me that I march alongside my sons.
What inspired me the most was the fact that this protest, and so many others across the country, was organized and led by young people. You could really feel the energy, the hope, the love, and the momentum for change.
As organizer Calvert White told the crowd, “When Mississippi changes, America changes. When America changes, the world changes. And we’re about to get moving on change.”
I can’t remember the last time I saw this type of energy in Mississippi, and hope we can keep it up throughout the coming months. I believe yesterday showed people all over the state that a new Mississippi is possible, and we will not stop fighting until it is achieved.
Let’s keep up this energy until real, lasting change is achieved. I’ll keep showing up and listening.
PS — My opponent, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, did not respond to my invitation to join me and her constituents at yesterday’s event. Once again, she remained silent, showing Mississippians that she stands by her past comments about public hangings, her support of voter suppression, and her participation in glorifying old symbols of hate. It further goes to show Mississippi needs a leader in the Senate who listens to and shows up for them, and I hope we fix that come November.