Donzaleigh Abernathy – a life in civil rights, protest and what comes next.

Protests at the death of African American George Floyd have turned violent in the last few days, with President Trump calling for a military intervention.

I have been feeling impatient, annoyed and uncertain. While aware of my position as a white person, having never faced this sort of discrimination due to the colour of my skin.

People on all sides have rushed to make judgements and have opinions heard and shared. This is a time for talking, sure, but it’s also a time for listening.

So, last night on my talkRADIO show we stopped and listened.

Donzaleigh Abernathy is one of the daughters of the civil rights movement. Her father, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, founded the movement alongside family friend Martin Luther King.

In a powerful conversation, Donzaleigh talks of her life growing up within the civil rights movement, watching on as her family and ‘Uncle Martin’ Luther King took part in some of the most pivotal moments in history; the march on Washington, the Birmingham campaign of 1963 and the killing of several of her friends and family. She describes how it feels to watch on as these protests unfold, how the civil rights movement is a long game and the need for protesters to pace themselves, what happens next and how it feels to be discriminated against after decades of fighting for equal treatment.

Putting what is happening this week in the context of decades of civil rights struggles, from the perspective of somebody who has lived it every day of their lives, helped me understand what is happening and make sense of how I feel. I hope it does the same for you.

Get a cup of coffee. Get comfortable. It’s time to listen.

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By Darryl Morris

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