This last week has brought small victories and a devastating tragedy. Nationally, we saw a delay of voting on the Senate’s version of a new healthcare bill, and we celebrate the opportunity to continue to contact legislators with concerns about the impact and implications of this legislation. Locally, we saw a kind, young man die after being shot in a neighborhood park; an immediate, irreversible, violent act that has gripped the hearts of a community.
We started this group in response to the divisive and hateful rhetoric that gripped our country and led to the election of a president who’s fanned the flames of fear and separation. Our mission has been to proactively engage in progressive change, and while we’ve made many strides, we have so much opportunity to do more. To everyone who has canvassed, made calls, contacted legislators, showed up for demonstrations, done research, printed fliers, written postcards, given rides to voters, and donated your hard earned dollars to candidates and causes – you are creating the change that you crave for our community!
But, we must be vigilant. Where is your comfort zone in this moment? Because it’s time to stretch a bit. Just a little. Last night I went to the vigil for Quan Torbit, who died on Sunday after being shot at Midtown Park in Rock Hill, just off S. Wilson St. There were a few hundred people there and, I can’t say for sure, but maybe 15 where white. Was I a little apprehensive to go? Absolutely. I didn’t know anyone going. Was I worried my intention might be misunderstood? Of course. I stepped out of my comfort zone just a little and was able to show up for a neighborhood grieving the loss of a child. One of the faces I saw in the crowd was Archie Parnell’s. He drove the 2 hours from Sumter to stand in the late summer heat in his trademark blue blazer to bear witness with this community to their suffering. Change in this county is ours to make. Will it be easy? Not at all. But it is possible. We are the ones, and the time is now.