SPOKANE, Wash. – Community leaders, local politicians and law enforcement stepped away from their party lines and stepped up to the base line on Sunday to speak out against racism.
People from all political affiliations, ages and races joined together with the hope of promoting unity at the Spokane NAACP’s “Recreation Against Racism” event.
“To build a community, to defy racism, we need to have shared experiences,” said Gonzaga student body president Caleb Dawson. “Understanding that we have a lot of things in common and our differences doesn’t have to be scary.”
What was alarming for Spokane NAACP’s President Phillip Tyler was the recent acts of racism he has seen in the city.
In November, a racial slur was spray painted on the side of the Martin Luther King Family Outreach Center. Two months later, a woman found a racist sign in her yard. Most recently, anti-refugee posters were put up around downtown Spokane.
Tyler said that is why they held this event.
“This was a perfect opportunity to create a teachable moment to our citizens to come together. We are better than this kind of hate,” said Tyler.
Republican and Democratic leaders shared messages of unity when it comes to combating racism.
“They were able to separate ‘r’ and ‘d’s’ and focus on ‘you’ and ‘I,’” said Tyler.
People left the event with a sense of hope, knowing it was a step in the right direction.
“Understand that we still have some work to do. We still need to get to know our neighbors a little better,” said Dawson.