Kalamazoo rally amplifies Black women’s voices

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Black women gathered in Kalamazoo Saturday afternoon to call for justice for Breonna Taylor and share their experiences and perspectives.

While the cause was the same, the rally was different than many others. There was no chanting or marching. Instead, it happened in the quiet neighborhood LaCrone Park and handed the microphone to a handful of women leaders in the Black community.

Some read poetry while others spoke from the heart, sharing personal stories they feel underscore the importance of the overreaching Black Lives Matter movement for racial equity.

“Truly considering what it means for our communities to be safe. I know as a Black woman, there is many, many times that I have not felt safe,” speaker Sholanna Lewis said.

Many of the women spoke about how recent protests and rallies have been critical in complementing their work behind the scenes.

Uplift Kalamazoo, a Black advocacy group, hosted the event. Uplift Kalamazoo Executive Director King Ryan said the organization was created as a way to supplement protests with a coalition working behind the scenes to end systematic racism.

“Rather than on the streets and just making noise, now we’re able to actually challenge and call upon local businesses and white-led organizations and white community leaders to actually center Blackness and center Black voices and the Black struggle,” Ryan said.

A demonstrator makes signs at a Kalamazoo rally calling for justice for Breonna Taylor and all Black women. (Sept. 26, 2020)

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