Commentary and conversations about life in Richmond, Indiana

Community Life

Kelley Cruse-Nicholson on witnessing the vehicle attack on Black Lives Matter marchers

On September 5th 2020, Richmond saw an act of aggression and violence against peaceful marchers who were demonstrating in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, as a local man drove his vehicle through the line of people, striking and injuring some of them.

A few people have reduced this event to arguments over traffic laws. But many of us see this as a disturbing manifestation of Richmond’s serious challenges with confronting and working on racism, and an echo of the ongoing national struggle to do the same. The act of violence itself, the response of the community, the fact that hitting pedestrians is even a topic where people can take sides, and now the sensational charges brought against the protestors for obstructing traffic are once again bringing to the surface that we have a lot of work to do if we want to be a community that offers safety, justice and peace for everyone who lives here.

In this conversation I talk with Kelley Cruse-Nicholson, a member of Richmond Common Council (among many other roles), who personally witnessed the attack and then actually followed the driver until police could take over.


The below transcript was generated with the use of automation and may contain errors or omissions.

Chris Hardie: So I want to dive right in to the events of September 5th. A demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter was taking place through the streets of Richmond. And as I understand it, you were not a part of that event itself, but you came upon it at a pivotal moment. So just want to ask you to take us through what happened that day and what you saw.

Kelley Cruse-Nicholson: Sure. I actually had planned on joining that day, but somehow I had gotten hoodwinked by my nieces to take them to Ikea. So I took my nieces to Ikea and as I was coming home we all know I live right here in the Depot area. So as I was coming home, I came across the railroad tracks right there by Richmond Furniture Gallery. And so the march was going right in front of me, I stopped, I was waving at some of my friends and I let them pass ahead of me. And I thought, well, I’ll just go in behind them to kind of show much support. So I was behind them going up Richmond Avenue or Fort Wayne Avenue, I’m sorry, going up Fort Wayne Avenue. And they were headed towards Jack Elstro Plaza on Seventh Street.

Kelley: And they were walking, they were chanting, nothing unusual going on. As we get to where the light is there was a couple that were a little farther back with a couple of other people who were right there on the bike path. And a man had a baby strapped to his chest and they were in front of me. And I saw a red truck who at the time was headed west on a street there. And as they were crossing the street I heard like a rev and then he ran through them.

Kelley: Now what I saw is, there was a truck that was sitting there, the people were walking, I will say SUV was, the people walking across the street. He ran through them. I heard screaming, I saw water bottles fly. And I actually yelled at the people who were on the bike path in front of me to get out of the way and I put my car onto the bike path. And then I cut across at Best-One Tire. I cut across their parking lot and pulled them behind him. He continued driving and I immediately called 911, and I told them what I had witnessed. And I told them that I was following the person who had driven through the crowd.

Chris: And before we sort of go from there, there’s been a lot of discussion about this and people have made all sorts of speculation. I mean, in your mind, is there any way possible that the driver did not understand that they were driving into the same space that was occupied by people, by human bodies? I mean is that-

Kelley: No.

Chris: … any way that’s possible?

Kelley: No, absolutely not. There’s no way, I bet there was 75 to a hundred people that were walking. There’s no way he didn’t see them. Okay. I told all of this to the 911 operator, as I was driving, I gave her the description of the car, the license plate number. I followed this car all the way to where they stopped, which I assumed was their home. I pulled up behind them and she said do not get out of the car, and I said, I’m not going to and the guy got out of the car and he kind of looked at me and smirked and laughed, and then inside the house and I’m telling all of this to the 911 operator. And she asked me to stay in my car until the police got there which I did.

Kelley: I stayed in my car. And then the first policeman actually on the scene was from Centerville. And he came up and he asked me if I was okay. And I told him, yes. And he said, do you know where they went? And I showed him which house they went into. And he said, okay. And then the Richmond police department, they arrived, they talked to me, wanted to know if I was okay, and the 911 operator at that time, I told her the police were there and I hung up because they were talking to me too. The police officer I was talking to asked me to go down to the city building to the police department so that I could meet down there and give a statement. He said there would be some people down there to talk to me. And I said, okay. And I said, are there people hurt? I didn’t know.

Chris: Yeah.

Kelley: Because when I saw him drive through the people, people were screaming, water bottles were flying and I just took the person. And he said he didn’t know. But they were aware of the situation. And so I then went back down to the city building, I drove by Jack Elstro Plaza to see if there was anybody still there. There was not, they had dispersed at that time. So I went ahead to the police department and gave a statement. And then I called my friends that I knew were at the march. And I was like is anybody hurt? Is everybody okay. And they had told me that there were actually three people would actually get physically hit.

Kelley: There were no life-threatening or anything, EMS had not even been called. And I said, okay. So but I came into my house. I was very shaken up. It bothers you when you see it on television and you’re affected by it, but it’s a totally different experience when you see it in real time. It’s an experience. Yeah.

Chris: Yeah. And I mean, and I want to ask because I mean, Richmond has had other peaceful marches, mostly without incident this year.

Kelley: Yes.

Chris: But of course, all of this was happening in the context of national events like you mentioned, where there are incidents of violence against people protesting racism, there are incidents of violence, ongoing concern about violence against Black people. And so, here you are a Black woman following and confronting a man right after what you understood to be an intentional physical act. And it happened in the context of a protest against racism. So when you were following, what were you thinking and feeling in that moment about what you were now unfortunately a part of?

Kelley: Honestly, Chris, the only thing that kept going through my head was they can’t get away with this. I cannot let them get away with this. That’s all I was thinking the entire time. Now other thoughts came into my head later after I got home and settled down a little bit some of the things where Kelly, what were you thinking? This person, obviously was not thinking correctly. They could have physically attacked you when you, I mean, all of these things then go through your mind because still thinking about it I get very upset still just because I know how it made me feel. And I didn’t see a vehicle coming at me.

Kelley: I wasn’t someone who was standing in the path. I was just someone who followed the person that did it. It makes me emotional sometimes to think about how other people that were involved with this were feeling and not only then was I concerned about their emotional and physical state, but especially now, with the charges that have come up. It’s about a whole new level of insanity to me actually.

Chris: And so, I mean, on that day, did you have a sense of how you thought things were going to go? I mean, it seemed multiple witness reports had confirmed the narrative of an intentional act of harm. Was there any question in your mind at that point that this person would be held accountable soon after that through arrest or criminal charges or something like that?

Kelley: Absolutely. There was no doubt in my mind that he, in fact, one of the officers said to me, well, he’s not disputing that he did it. It’s just, he’s saying it’s a different reason why he did it. And something I have said every time someone asks me about this situation, I say it every time I said, when was the last time you were going somewhere and thought, I’m just going to drive my car through a crowd of people. That to me is not a thought that has ever, ever entered my mind ever. I use a story that happened just a couple of weeks ago where I was coming across Chester Boulevard and turning off of a street coming North. There was a funeral coming towards me, a funeral procession, but there was enough room.

Kelley: There was enough time, it was two blocks away. I could have gotten across the street and went home without problem. But a motorcycle rider pulls up, blocks traffic, gets out and gets off his motorcycle, blocks traffic, the opposite side of the street. The funeral possession goes by, I wait, when the funeral procession gets by, he nods his head at me and I node back at him, he gets on his motorcycle, he drives away. Not at any given point, did I go, forget this guy. I’m just going to drive across the street anyway. He’s blocking the road. He doesn’t have a right to, so I’ll just do it anyway.

Chris: Yeah. And I mean, some of the worst conversation I saw happening online shortly after that day was, suggesting that there was some scenario in which a pedestrian deserve to be hit. I agree with you. I have not seen them. Even though Richmond is a town that is not always the friendliest to pedestrians, not always the friendliest to cyclists, to people that are in the way. I mean, I have just not seen anyone escalate that to the point of violence-

Kelley: Right.

Chris: … using their vehicle. And I think that whether it’s respecting school bus stops or crosswalks, or even people who may be crossing the street at a point where it’s not the best spot.

Kelley: Right.

Chris: There’s no one running over them and it’s unfortunate that it needs to be said that pedestrians always have the right of way. I mean, there’s just no scenario in which it’s okay to use a…

Kelley: Right.

Chris: … vehicle to hit someone. So it’s just seems unfortunate that that was even a point of discussion, but apparently that’s something that we need to be reminded about.

Kelley: Exactly. Exactly. And that’s kind of where I was, there was no doubt in my mind that he would be arrested or charged at all, there was no doubt in my mind and from what I saw it was intentional what he was doing.

Chris: Yeah. So after that day the waiting started, Mayor Snow issued a statement saying in part, “everyone in our city should be free to express their opinion without fear of physical harm.” Over the following weeks, there were calls for witnesses to come in and give reports. There was a lot of online conversation as we talked about, but not much else happening that the public could see. You said elsewhere that you had nightmares about seeing the attack and knowing it could have been worse.

Kelley: I did.

Chris: I want to ask, what was that waiting time like for you in those weeks after.

Kelley: Well, honestly the first week it was okay, the due process, people were emailing me asking me how everybody was doing. I got text messages, phone calls, things like that. And that was fine. Week two, I was like okay, all right. People start asking me, what’s going on? Why hasn’t this person been arrested? And my answer was, every time was, we are fighting for the system to work for us too. So let’s let the system work. Let’s let due process happen, but we need to let the system work for us. And week three, like okay, this is a little ridiculous. I made phone calls, ask questions and it was an active investigation and they were still talking to witnesses and they were still looking for video footage and okay.

Kelley: All right week four, it started to be a little unnerving because I was just like okay, what? This is a clear cut to me. It was clear cut. Okay. Apparently once the charges were announced, apparently it wasn’t as clear cut to some people as I saw it. I’ve heard multiple things from people where they have said that the driver felt threatened, that the protestors just surrounded his car and started hitting his car and things like that. No that didn’t, it never happened. And so I was baffled, but the day I got the charges or that day that I heard the charges, my phone all of a sudden just started just going off, text messages, Facebook messages. And I’m just like what is happening? I wasn’t listening to news or anything like that. And I open my phone and I was like you are kidding me.

Chris: Wow.

Kelley: I was angry. I actually, I mean, I was livid, I cried. I yelled at my husband and I’m just like this is unreal. Who does this. And then honestly, one thing that I thought about Chris is, when I would get upset about things, my mom used to say to me, she’d say, all right, you can’t get anything done when you’re angry. She was like you need to remember whose daughter you are and then get the work done. And my mom was a very strong individual. So after about Saturday, I just wouldn’t talk to anybody at all. I wasn’t on any social media, I wouldn’t answer my phone. I just wouldn’t talk to anyone. On Sunday, I was like okay, now the work needs to be done. So that’s where, and that’s why I’m going now, we are working. I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Chris: I guess, well, one thing I should say is for anyone who doesn’t know already so the charges were announced on October 9th and they were misdemeanor charges for the driver for leaving the scene and stunningly misdemeanor charges for five of the marchers for blocking traffic.

Kelley: Right.

Chris: I mean, we can’t know the thinking or the motivations with the prosecutor’s office, and we don’t know all of the evidence that they’ve gathered, but there’s clearly a feeling that the decision to punish people who cooperated with the police investigation, that goes beyond enforcing the law and into the territory of sending a message about how protestors demonstrating in support of Black Lives Matter should expect to be treated if they get the attention of the legal system. And at the same time, I mean, this is my words, but the decision to only charge the driver with a misdemeanor, I think really risks sending a message to people who might already think that driving into a line of protestors is okay.

Kelley: Right.

Chris: It risks sending the message that they don’t have to worry about serious consequences for something like that. I mean, if we put all that together, it seems like it could have a real chilling effect on expression of free speech. In just a time-

Kelley: Yes.

Chris: … when Richmond as a community needs to be having more conversations about racism, not less. And more importantly, for people of color who might already fear for their physical safety and or for the safety of their kids, it clearly makes things worse. It may be easy for folks to talk about this as an incident on the street, but it just has such a bigger implications for our community.

Kelley: I agree. One of the things that I have said is that we are walking a very fine line right now as a community, fine line, because a precedent has been set. And some of the comments that came after the protesters were charged, were that’s what they get, they need to be arrested, there was a prominent individual here in Richmond who came out and said, I would run over them. And if they tried to do anything to my car, I would shoot them in the head. And I’m just like geez.

Chris: Wow.

Kelley: The thing is as someone who is and… I am a city council person, but I am speaking to you about this as a citizen who witnessed an incident. It’s a very fine line that we’re walking right now. And to me, a very clear message has been sent, which is, and people would disagree with me for saying this, but the very clear message has been sent is that, we’re not going to have this in our city. As far as the person driving a car through pedestrians, but the protestors, how they feel, I’ve heard people talking now about, well, I’m not going to get involved in anything like that again.

Kelley: I have been asked to be a speaker at the women’s march this weekend. And honestly I said, yes, I will speak, but I’m not going to actually march with the women, because I think that it’s very scary for me to think that something like that could happen again. And yes, I think that there’s always someone out there that is willing to take the worst of a situation and make it even worse. By acting up upon it violently. I don’t want to see anything like that happen. And it terrifies me to think that it’s just going to take that one person that goes, you know what, forget this and boom, violence erupts. That terrifies me.

Chris: And certainly in the past, I mean, to varying degrees the message from law enforcement or political leadership has not been one that encouraged violence in any way near what we’ve seen in recent history. And I don’t know if that’s the particular fine line you’re referring to, but it feels like we’re at a point where just the conversation and public dialogue or the lack of it has completely shifted the dynamics of how we figure things out as a community.

Kelley: Yes.

Chris: I mean, you mentioned being a member of council. I mean, you are a prominent person in Richmond yourself, you represent the community, you are a face of the community. You’re entrusted with the future of the community in many ways. So I know that doesn’t put you above the law, but presumably your word and your perspective have a level of credibility here. I guess I need to ask, do you feel like you were taken seriously through this process so far?

Kelley: No. No, I don’t feel like that at all. That’s one of the things that I’m working on right now is that I don’t feel as if I was heard. I don’t feel as if I was seen. Yeah, that’s a tough one for me, Chris, because honestly I was just like if they’re not listening to what I said about this incident why would they listen to me about anything? And this happened in my district, a lot of those people are my district constituents. And yeah, no, I don’t feel like I was heard. I feel that, how could I have seen what I saw when I was behind the protesters at the, this is how I feel.

Kelley: My story has not wavered at all. I know what I saw. You have to understand that, this is nothing new for African-American people. Not being seen, not being heard, not being believed, not being trusted, not being understood. This is nothing new for us. This is 400 years in the making, and I hate to say it like that, but I feel that’s exactly how it’s been. During this time of unrest after George Floyd was killed by the police officers, anyone who has been protesting the Black Lives Matter. We have been seen as being unruly, monsters, violent. I had one shop owner who said, what is this going to mean for my business?

Kelley: And I said, what do you mean? And he said, well, they start tearing stuff up. That’s the first thought that everyone goes to is that we’re going to tear things up even though it’s been shown that at a lot of the Black Lives Matter protests, that there have been people who have infiltrated in order to cause disruption, cause violence and it’s been proven and it’s been shown, but still here we are. It’s hard for me.

Kelley: This is something that I actually said to the Mayor and he was like well, I understand you’re upset. And I said, no. I said, I don’t think that you can truly understand because the fact is, yes, I saw this happen. It affects me. It hits me just a little bit differently as a minority woman, it really does. As a minority, this hits me a little bit differently. And understanding that or thinking to myself, had that been an African-American or Hispanic man who had driven their car into pedestrians, what do you think would have happened?

Chris: I mean, I looked up a case from several years back where an African-American man hit a young person with his car, was arrested the next day, charged with a felony. And obviously we can’t compare cases and say they were exactly the same and should have same outcome. But the connection that you’ve made to broader systems of racism at work is really worth noting. And I think some people if they can’t see an overt act of racism, then they can’t see racism. And the risk that we run as a community is to say, well, if there’s not overt act of racism happening out on the streets, then we don’t have that problem. Well, here we have a case that could very well be called an overt act of racism in the sense that, if you look at the context and here we are still mincing words over the details of whether it was a misdemeanor or not.

Kelley: Right.

Chris: The community just clearly has so much work to do when it comes to being allies to people of color who have experienced what you’ve described and are listening, hearing, understanding, believing, and then being willing to take action. I guess I want to tell you what I understand the Black Lives Matter marches to mean, and you can tell me your view. But as for me, it’s a way of saying that the systems that we’ve had in place, the way we’ve been doing things is not working for everyone in our community. It is not working, there is not justice for everyone. There is not peace for everyone. And so as a community, until we can get to that point where we’re all moving forward together, we’re all being treated equally. Something needs to change.

Kelley: Yes.

Chris: And the concern of, work through the system, follow the process that that is not enough anymore in a time where, as you said, 400 years of Black lives not mattering. And so for me, Black Lives Matter is the call to say, it’s past time for something different. And if we need to disrupt things a little bit, if traffic needs to wait a little bit longer sometimes, maybe that’s okay if we’re calling attention to that need. What do you see and I mean, I know you weren’t a part of the march, but in marches like that and in events like that, what do you see the call being in those kinds of conversations and events?

Kelley: That’s absolutely it. The truth is what you were saying is that this has been, when is it enough, when are we going to say, this is enough, this has to stop. I was looking back on some of the things that my mom did, my mom actually had done some civil rights marches, and she was involved with Mary Jo Clark here in Richmond. And they did the equal rights for women’s act. They registered women to vote, things like right here in Indiana. My mom did a lot of wonderful things. And when my mother was doing that, and I’m thinking about this, I’m two years old, three years old and even at that time, there was the Tivoli movie theater where African-Americans still had to sit in the balcony…and I was alive at this time.

Kelley: So, people think about the Civil Rights Movement and the things that happened at that time as being a long time ago. It wasn’t as long ago, as you may think. I think those are the discussions that we need to have is that, I feel that we are at a point right now in our nation where racism is not only been brought to the forefront, but it’s been glorified if that makes sense. What I’m saying, that it’s been glorified. So people feel it’s okay now to do and say things that are disrespectful, hurtful. I really struggled with it because it’s not just, the oppression that’s going on is not just black people. You know what I’m saying?

Kelley: It’s not just black people, it’s wide. It’s just wide. And I get very frustrated when I think about it, because the thing is we are saying at this point enough.

Chris: Yeah.

Kelley: Enough, this is enough. We need to have these conversations because this can’t happen. And right now I’m working with a small group right now of individuals who we had a Zoom meeting the other night. And our focus was, how are we going to talk about racism in this community? How are we going to get those conversations started when there are people who still don’t believe that there’s racism in our community? It’s got to start somewhere. It’s got to start somewhere and ignoring it as you see, doesn’t work. Saying, well, this doesn’t happen in our town. It doesn’t work. These things are happening everywhere.

Kelley: And I think that we are calling for a time of change, plain and simple. Time of change. I think that people get confused when they hear about, they say defund the police, I think people get confused as basically as to what that means. And a lot of people, what are you going to do without the police force? That’s not what we’re talking about. I’m not sure how I want to say this, Chris. It’s time, it’s time. It truly is. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and everything happens at a time that it is supposed to happen.

Kelley: We are in the middle of a significant shift in our country, but the conversations have to start in order and it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough for people, but the conversations have to start. We have to start these conversations. I would have never thought that in Richmond and I’m been here my entire life, but I never thought I would have actually seen somebody, a young person drive a car through a group of people. I never thought I would have to sit down and have a conversation about that.

Chris: I mean, maybe that’s a possible good outcome from some of this is if it starts conversations, but I applaud what you’re starting and thinking about. I would also hope the rest of the community joins in, in that. And I would especially hope that anyone who thinks of themselves as a community leader, as someone who is trying to make Richmond and Wayne County a better place, whether you’re a small business owner or you’re in municipal government, or you are involved in economic development, whatever it is that you don’t think of your job as done if a significant portion of our community sees daily systemic oppression and discrimination. That we can’t think of our community as moving forward, if we’re not all moving forward together. So I hope people hear that and hear that call for conversation, not as a disruption for disruption’s sake, but something that needs to happen so that we can take care of each other as a community.

Chris: I wanted to ask, stepping back a bit. Can you tell us how you ended up in public service and what led you to decide to be a part of city council?

Kelley: Yeah, I’ve had a lot of things in my life that have made my life take a dramatic turn in a direction I never thought it would go. So 14 years I’ve been on City Council, Chris.

Chris: Wow.

Kelley: 14 years. And it started with a conversation that I had with Sally Hutton, who said, Etta is going to be leaving City Council. I think that you will be a good person to replace her. And I was like yeah, no. That was my first. I was like no, I was like I’m not interested in being in politics. I wasn’t interested at that time. That was probably a year before the election started. I had told my mom and I kind of laughed about it.

Kelley: I told my mother, I said, you believed that, it was like she thought I’d be a good person to be a politician. And my mom’s like why not? And I said, why would I want to be a politician? And my mom said, you have always been in the forefront of controversies speaking for the underdog. She said, always your whole life. And I was just like what, honestly, I never thought about myself that way. I never did. But then I started thinking about it and some of the things I’ve always done, involved in government at school, when I was in college, when I was in high school, well, all these things and getting involved in activist groups and things like that, I’ve always done that.

Kelley: I thought, okay, let me give this some serious thought. And I sat down with Sally and we had a long talk and sat down with the Democratic chair at the time and we had a really long talk and I said, okay, well we’ll give it a shot. And I said, how long is the term? And she said four years. And I was okay but I thought, all right, let’s give it a shot. And I got excited. At that point I kind of got excited. I was like I need to be able to make some real changes for our community. And I wasn’t even thinking about the changes that we’re thinking about now, but I was like I may be able to make changes in our community.

Kelley: Now a lot of people are, and it’s funny because what I found out from being on City Council is that people want change. But only if it’s the change they want, if it’s not the change that they actually want that you’re pushing for, then you’re wrong. So. I have found that through the years and I guess that’s really where I was just talking with my mom and my dad and thinking about my mom was like your grandfather was a good friend of Evan Bayh. We’ve always done things and I thought about it. I was like wow you have, so that’s where it came from, just talking with my mom and my dad and Sally kind of encouraged me. And at first I turned it down. Just like nah, I don’t think I want to do that.

Chris: Well. From what I can tell in the years since, I mean, you bring that same spirit of leadership that is derived from, emerges from the sense of community building and community spirit. And you bring that to Council. You bring that to the work that you do and you bring a lot of heart to it and you don’t let yourself get bulldozed by process or by the mechanics of it. I mean, I’m sure there are times where it can be very frustrating to see change move so slowly or not happen at all. And you know it, but you bring that to Council and it seems you’ve been able to maintain the spirit in which you initially resisted and then agree to Council all those years.

Kelley: Yeah. I do my best and it is tough because when you’re in the public eye, you take a lot, a lot of criticism. Like I said, when things don’t go one way that people think that it’s going to go, you can be under a lot of fire. Change is hard but it’s also necessary. I think that’s been my biggest challenge. One of the things I said about city council was we can’t stay with it’s the way we’ve always done it and it works. So don’t change it. I was like we can’t stay with that. That’s no good. We have to push ourselves to move forward and challenge ourselves and the community to make it a better place. We really do.

Chris: And I know you’re not here to speak on behalf of Council, but is there something that you see or hope for when it comes to council’s role in helping Richmond confront racism and discrimination in our communities? Is there anything clear there?

Kelley: My hope is that we can involve administration and council with the public, to have these conversations. Going to have to start in small groups. It’s like they say the ripples turn into waves. So it’s going to have to start in small groups, but I’m not really happy with the way some of the things have been handled lately. And one thing about me that I don’t know if you know about Chris, but I’m pretty vocal when I’m unhappy. You know so.

Chris: That’s one of your best qualities I think!

Kelley: Yeah. So a lot of people know that I’m unhappy right now. But I think that’s part of it. I think that would be part of it. Yeah.

Chris: I mean, there’s pressure being placed on the prosecutor’s office to reconsider whether these charges are what’s in the public best interest, and there’s a legal defense fund that’s being collected on GoFundMe. And I think that’s up to, over 6,000, almost close to $7,000 as of today. There’s talk of involving the ACLU to help make sure that the justice is found here.

Kelley: Yes.

Chris: Is there anything else? I mean, beyond those small groups and those conversations that we need to be having, which are so important, is there anything else that you think the community as a whole should be doing or anyone listening to this conversation to be doing and talking about as we go forward for this particular case and the situation?

Kelley: Well, I will tell you now that yes, the ACLU has been contacted. And I think that’s a good thing. I think that’s going to be positive for those people who right now are facing charges that I think are ridiculous and I really do. I just think they’re absolutely ridiculous, but I think as a community, we need to start in our mind, start that role reversal change. Look at what we’re doing affects your neighbor. I think it sounds kind of strange to say that, but we need to start one, having compassion and empathy and start to recognize and appreciate the differences in others that are in our community.

Kelley: Like I said that’s all going to start with conversation. Richmond has done some things that are very progressive, I think Rainbow Richmond is wonderful moving things forward and the way people have joined in with Black Lives Matter is amazing. I’ll be honest with you Chris, two years ago. I don’t think we would have had as many people show up or support as we are now. But we still have such a long way to go a long way to go. I’m not sure. I really answered your question.

Chris: No, I mean, you do a great job of highlighting the tension between the need for kind of immediate action and change and coming to the defense of, or to be allies of, people who are vulnerable, who are in pain. And then also just the long-term processes that we have to go through that it’s not that we have to be complacent or overly patient, but you’re right. I mean, things that take probably generations to change. Right. Through families, through neighborhoods, through workplaces, that those are conversations to be having.

Kelley: Absolutely.

Chris: That tension is always there and I don’t ever know how to reconcile it, but it’s good to recognize that there’s a place for both kinds of actions too.

Kelley: Yeah. Yeah. Agreed.

Chris: Kelly, thanks so much for taking the time to share about your experience and to talk with me. I certainly wish you some peace and justice in the weeks and months ahead. So.

Kelley: Thank you. We are working, Chris, and I will say that we are working. I don’t plan on making the work stop anytime soon.

1 Comment

  1. Len Clark

    Great interview. Has anyone shared this with Mike Shipman? If not, I will.

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