A Black Lives Matter group and a Donald Trump rally crossed paths recently — and what occurred then isn’t what you would expect. The two groups are traditionally opposed, but when the BLM group approached the rally, an organizer did the unexpected: he invited them on stage to speak.
In the name of free speech — and not promising the crowd would approve of their message — the Trump organizer took a meaningful action the name of freedom, saying it was about BLM’s “right to have have a message.”
“I’m gonna let Black Lives Matter come up here, while I show them what patriotism is about, all right?” said the man. “It’s about freedom of speech, it’s about celebration, so…we’re gonna give you two minutes of our platform to put your message out.”
BLM Leader Hawk Newsome accepted the invitation, boldly stepping on stage and declaring, “I am an American” to Trump rally-goers who cheered him wildly.
This unexpected moment happened when Black Lives Matter activists were invited on stage at a pro-Trump rally (via NowThis Politics)
Posted by NowThis on Monday, September 18, 2017
“The beauty of America is that when you see something broke in your country, you can mobilize to fix it,” said Newsome, following up with reasons why he stands for the BLM movement and re-iterating that they are not anti-cop, just “anti-bad-cop.”
There were certainly some jeers in the crowd, but still, the BLM group was allowed to speak and say their peace — something so often unheard of in today’s easy-to-offend society.
When someone in the crowd yelled out “all lives matter,” Newsome agreed with the audience member, then explained his reasoning behind using the term “Black Lives Matter” instead.
After his short few minutes on the stage, Newsome came away encouraged and refreshed, saying it had restored his faith in some of the Trump supporters.
One of the most valuable things we can do for one another in these polarizing time is let others know that they are heard, that their feelings and opinions do matter. We shouldn’t immediately invalidate someone’s beliefs simply because they are opposite or different from ours. Giving BLM a chance to speak at the Trump rally respectfully was a step towards hearing and respecting one another again.
“We made progress…I feel like two sides that never listen to each other actually made progress today,” said Newsome.
After he spoke, multiple members of the crowd came up to shake his hand, take photos and thank him for delivering his message. They may not have agreed with every word, but they respected him as an individual — and his right to free speech even in the midst of a rally dedicated to their cause.
We have more in common than we have in disagreement — and find those places of commonality is crucial to restoring peace among people today.