[Facebook message posted by Luke Kinney, the organizer for the BLM Protest planned at Bishop City Park tomorrow, cancelling the event around 9:30 p.m. Monday night, June 1]

Dear Community, (do not show up to the park tomorrow) SHARE this post

I hear you. I am cancelling tomorrow morning’s protest for two reasons:

1. The number of threats we have received – very real threats, of violence to both people and property – has become excessive. I cannot in good conscience gather this community together – my friends, my family, my neighbors – if I believe I am putting them in harm’s way. I wish I could say I was shocked that some of my fellow Bishopites – people I live next to, people I’ve worked with – would have so little regard for our Constitutional right to free speech and expression, but given what is going on in our country right now, I am not.

2. The protest failed to adequately center the voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people. After hearing about George Floyd’s death, I felt that I had to do something. I felt morally obligated to use my privilege as a white man to fight against the systemic racism that has plagued this country since before it existed. In my eagerness to show how much our community supports Black Lives, I rushed to organize an action without doing enough to ensure that the voices of our marginalized neighbors – the people at the center of this fight – were the ones leading the protest. I still feel it is essential that we as a community get out and show our support for Black Lives and racial justice – and we will. Make no mistake, there will be action, and we will demand justice. But when we do, the movement will be led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous folks.

This is absolutely not the end of this effort. There will be protest. There will be action. But it will be led by those who are at the center of this fight, and it will be organized to guarantee the safety of my friends, family, neighbors, and all those who believe in justice for George Floyd and that Black Lives Matter.

Thank you for understanding, thank you for demanding justice, and thank you for being a part of this community.

Luke Kinney

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