Readings from Black historical figures and the first-hand experiences of Black and White students will be part of the Hilton Black Lives Matter ROC rally from 3 to 5 p.m. June 13.
“We really want to have some conversations,” said organizer Cherriese Marie, who is chairwoman of the Families for Racial and Ethnic Equality. “We hope the community comes out and we really want to talk to them and share with them our stories.”
The event is scheduled to start at Hilton Community Center and continue with a walk through the village.
“A lot of people think this is about rioting or George Floyd,” she said. “It’s bigger than that.”
About 5% of the population of Hilton is Black, and about 1.5% of the population identifies as two more races, according to population data.
Cherriese Marie said that Black and biracial students feel excluded in the community. She said that she has heard from White students who go away to college that they lacked knowledge about Black history or the Black experience.
She said the rally would be inclusive and would educate residents.
“We understand a lot of people don’t understand what the issues are and that a lot of our White neighbors have a great experience in Hilton,” she said. “This is a tight-knit community where people say they don’t see color. But that’s because a lot of Black people stay to themselves. And they don’t raise the issue out of fear of being outcasted.”
As rallies move into the villages and towns, Cherriese Marie said she hears people saying that not everyone is racist. A rally is scheduled for the following weekend in Greece.
“A lot of people are not racist, that’s true. A lot of people just have never looked at things from a different point of view. And really, that’s where it is. When people hear things, people don’t understand that silence is compliance.”