We Can’t Ignore It
By Kellan Grady @KellanGrady31
On August 27, 2020 I got word from a teammate of mine that there was a conflicting demonstration in Downtown Davidson on Main Street. I was a block away so I stopped by.
As I approached the scene, I saw two very contrasting demonstrations. To my left on one sidewalk, I saw about 8-10 white supremacists, claiming to represent God and Christianity. They stood on the public sidewalk carrying signs and speaking hate-filled words (through a megaphone) at members of our college and town. Their comments were racist, hate-filled, and especially targeted at the LGBTQ Community. Despite this, many students, faculty, staff, townspeople, and I gathered across the street, all wearing masks, holding up rainbow flags, antiracism and anti hate flags, and signs affirming the love and respect between all persons.
The demonstrators across the street continued spewing out hateful and racist slurs, homophobic slurs, making gruesome sexual remarks, referring to peers of mine as “whores,” and the list goes on. I’ve never seen or heard anything remotely close to what I witnessed.
After a couple minutes, I walked toward the front of the crowd.
The man with the megaphone (that he used the entire time in an exclusively hateful way) saw me at the front, pointed at me with an evil smirk, and said “look at this black lives matter thug.” He continued to target me solely with racial slurs, repeatedly called me a thug, referenced the BLM movement as garbage, and used the N word multiple times.
A few minutes later, I overheard a few people in the crowd state that a Davidson faculty member whom I know well, was pushed by these demonstrators. I crossed the street peacefully, feeling a natural inclination to help. As I crossed and approached the opposing sidewalk, I was attacked again. This time by another man, and he said “here comes a black lives matters thug.” I ignored him and after the fourth time turned and said “did you say Black Lives Matter Thug and Black Lives Matter is Garbage?”
He responded “you are all thugs” and repeatedly called me a thug and the N-word to my face from about five feet away. He said that I was aggressive. I asked if I was a thug because I was black, and he repeated the same statement, that we are all thugs. He treated me and spoke to me like a subhuman, like I was innately bad because I am black.
A faculty member crossed the street as this was going on, pulled me away, comforted me, and told me not to take the bait.
I went back to the other side of the street to stand with those fighting for the same fight I am, fighting for equality and justice for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender. I was once more pointed to and called a “BLM thug” over the megaphone in front of dozens of people in the middle of downtown Davidson.
This was a group of hateful white supremacists and homophobes who reportedly have been going around to college campuses to spew out vile gestures and language. They eventually left in a multi-passenger, large white van with massive hateful stickers/slogans.
This is uncharacteristic of Davidson as a town and, undoubtedly, as a college community. I was so proud to stand on the right side, with the town of Davidson and our College. But with that said, this still happened.
I was publicly targeted solely on the basis of my skin color, and witnessed dozens of fellow town members and peers targeted, as well. I write this to stress the importance of what is deemed tolerable by too many in our country – the hate and racism that has been magnified the last four years.
This was heartbreaking and emotional simply because it is a reality. A reality I had never faced before today in this fashion, but one that too frequently occurs and is emboldened in our current society by too many hateful and racist people who are leading us. Please understand the stakes this November, and please continue to do your part in making this country a more just and tolerable place. What happened today was truly devastating and hard to comprehend.
We can’t ignore it.
Forget politics…we have to be better.
I still have hope and the overwhelming majority of us still do, as well.
[Editor’s note: Kellan originally wrote this as a series of 4 tweets on Twitter. He gave News of Davidson permission to consolidate the tweets into this article. Thank you Kellan.]