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SURJ asking to break white silence, support black lives

SURJ organize demonstation at Naples Pier
Posted: 9:18 PM, Jul 16, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-18 09:22:56-04

Dozens of feet filled the sidewalk of the Naples Pier with men, women, and children clutching signs and sporting black t-shirts with one message imprinted on their chests: Black Lives Matter.

Rachel Bass is one of dozens of people who gathered at the Naples Pier on behalf of the Showing Up For Racial Justice Organization of Southwest Florida (SURJ SWFL). The SURJ SWFL is a local chapter of that describe their efforts to organize white people for racial justice.

"As a white person I don't suffer from racial discrimination," Bass said. "We're all human and we should care about this issue."

According to their Facebook page, the SURJ moves white people to act part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. Bass says she chose to rally to break the silence of violence and show racism is still present across the country.

"We want to call more white people to racial justice," she said. "None of us want to live in a world where people of color are treated unfairly."

Ellen Hemrick, the organizer of the event says she wants to be a mouthpiece to break the silence against violence. Her efforts are to ask to break white silence and support black lives.

"We're all part of one big human family," Hemrick said. "When we see part of our family crying out for justice we feel like it's our duty to speak up."

There have been outbreaks of violence at rallies across the country, after the death of two African-American men, Hemrick says the rally is not against police, but against racial discrimination and racism in the criminal justice system.

"I know in the civil rights movement in the 60's it sure did help. It passed a lot of legislation and it changed a lot of racist laws."

"It shows its just not white people supporting black people. white people care also."