NEW ORLEANS — More than 1,200 miles separate New Orleans and Minneapolis, but the recent events there are hitting close to home for Dwayne Conrad. He worries about the future his daughter will inherit.
“Sometime, somewhere, this has got to end because too many people are being hurt by this,” said Conrad.
On Friday morning, he was among dozens of people who organized a protest in Treme. Black and white, stood together against racism.
The reality is, many of us will never face extreme racism or police brutality. They’re issues many of us just see or debate on social media. For many African Americans though, they say it’s something that can happen to them any day.
“As a black man in this country, as a person with a 19-year old black son in this country, it’s very personal to me because when it happens to them, I feel like it happens to all of us,” said Marc Barnes.
“It is very stressful to so often know that you’re going to be in the position of you have to make other people comfortable,” said Givonna Joseph.
Joseph is the cofounder of OperaCreole. She is a devout Catholic. Joseph says none of that can be seen through the lens of discrimination.
“Although I’m an opera singer and an educated woman, I still walk into a room, and I know there’s going to be someone that just sees the black person that walked into that room and that’s it,” said Joseph.
Marc Barnes earned a Ph.D. and is vice president of institutional advancement at Dillard University. They are titles he says a skeptical society can strip away depending on the way he dresses.
“If I’m wearing some jeans or a hoody which I do sometimes then I’m one of those thugs. They don’t see that I have a Ph.D., they don’t care that I go to church every Sunday, they don’t care if I have a family,” said Barnes.
The death of George Floyd and the video leading up to it is hard to ignore. So is the violence and looting. Joseph and Barnes say these are the latest flashpoints of a struggle that has plagued America and the black community for far too long.
“Let me just be clear that this is not our issue to resolve. This is an issue, particularly among the white community in our country for them to understand and help bring a resolution to this. This is not our burden, we have to bear the burden, but it is not our burden to solve,” said Barnes.
“We’ve done our work, we’ve invested, we have built, we have loved, we have taken care of your babies, we’ve done everything. Let us be,” said Givonna Joseph.