Before planning this protest, I had been exposed to racist comments here in Tooele. It was never more than a few hateful words but it hurt nonetheless. I am fighting not for racism to magically disappear — I know that is simply unreasonable; but for folks here in my hometown to be more aware.
I would like people to be more aware of the negative impact their words carry when they harbor generational bias toward people of color. Implicit and subconscious bias could be the cause of one person with the same resume as their counterpart getting a job because they have a less ethnic sounding name.
Though I have experienced explicitly racist comments from people in Tooele, that is not the majority of what we see here. In my experience, our county is plagued more so by subconscious biases that most are unaware they harbor. Which further contributes to the divide in our county, state, and country and makes it hard for people of color to reach the same heights as their white neighbors.
The rally on Friday went exactly as I planned. I worked diligently with Mike Keil, Greg Dunn and others on the Tooele Democratic Party to ensure the safety of our businesses and neighbors.
I believed in my community and I knew that the folks out there who feel as passionate as I do about racial justice and equality would show up with their heart on their sleeve and fists in the air, not planning on hurting anyone or any property.
I was pleasantly surprised and thankful at how cool, calm and collected our counter protestors behaved. My hope is that those who showed up in such opposition of the Black Lives Matter movement were able to humanize us, hear our message of peace and have a change of heart.
I am not an official contributing member of the Black Lives Matter organization. I am a supporter of the movement and its message. I often compare this to having a super bowl party, though I am not the official NFL.
Any of my words and actions are only a reflection of my personal beliefs; though, I 100% back BLM and their message of social justice.
Now that the rally was successful, I hope my community members and neighbors take that passion to the polls as well as contact our governmental leaders to express your concerns and wishes.
I want Tooele to take these issues seriously and recognize that it is our duty as Americans to right our wrongs and make the world a better, safer place for all. I am so incredibly proud of Tooele and I am blessed to have grown up here.
Alexia Blake is a resident of Tooele.