EVERETT — Jordan Davis-Miller wants his voice to be part of the story of ending hate and respecting the differences in others.
Last year as a junior at Mariner High School, he studied U.S. history, and as he sees it, what’s going on today across the country is historical, a pivotal point in time. What will be the message?
“My point is it’s about spreading love,” the 17-year-old said.
Help the youth not repeat the mistakes of the past, he said. Keep an open mind, build relationships and listen to other’s stories, the teen said.
Davis-Miller left his seat next to his mom and dad Sunday to address hundreds of people gathered at the plaza outside the Snohomish County government campus in Everett.
Davis-Miller told the crowd that he is a biracial teenager, who is proud to go Mariner High School, a diverse place that gives him the opportunity to learn about other cultures and beliefs. He seeks out others who are different from him. It helps him keep an open mind, he said.
“We need to push people of every race to speak up and be proud of who you are,” Davis-Miller said.
There is no room for hate. His words brought the crowd to its feet.
The Snohomish County chapter of the NAACP organized Sunday’s “Rally Against Hate” in response to the Aug. 12 white supremacist rally in Virginia that erupted in violence. Heather Heyer was killed and several other people were injured when a man drove into a crowd of counter-protesters.
People came from across Snohomish County on Sunday to speak out against white nationalists and neo-Nazis.
Rev. Steven Greenbaum with the Living Interfaith Church in Lynnwood asked the crowd to lead with love and not hate, even if they are angry about what happened in Charlottesville.
“Please let us not succumb to hate,” he said.
Jeff Ferderer, who has taught at Mariner High School, invited others to join him at noon on the first Sunday of every month to walk “peacefully, quietly and fearlessly” in support of immigrants and refugees. The walk begins at the courthouse and ends at Grand Park in north Everett.
Janice Greene, president of the local NAACP chapter, asked the crowd to think about what they are going to do as individuals and as a community to fight racism, bigotry and hate.
“This is not a partisan issue…This is a community issue and we’re just not going to take it here,” Greene said.
Several people came with signs and stories about fighting for civil rights decades ago.
“How many of you went through this in the ‘60s?” Greene asked.
Dozens of hands shot up in the air.
“Welcome back,” she said.
Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers told the crowd he was shocked by the images of people in the streets toting Nazi flags and torches.
“This is a day to stand up and speak out,” he said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.