Walk-a-thon raises $3,000 against racial injustices

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 5:45pm

Some residents of Block Island are continuing their commitment to supporting the Black Lives Matter movement through walks and protests. The local and global movement was created in the aftermath of the deaths, most recently, of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black individuals who have been murdered due to what many believe is the systemic racism and injustices against Black lives in the United States.

Most recently, a walk starting from the North Light and ending at the Southeast Light was initiated to help raise funds against racial injustices.

Winslow Rock, 16 years old and a current resident of Brooklyn, New York, has been coming out to Block Island her entire life. She recently put together the walk, Block Island Walks for Racial Justice, a walk-a-thon in support of raising funds for the organization Equal Justice Initiative. The organization is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, protecting human rights for vulnerable communities, and challenging racial and economic injustice in the United States.

“I put the event together with some help from my parents. I wanted to create the walk because there is so much going on regarding the Black Lives Matter [movement], such as the protests, in big cities like New York, near my house even, and I wanted to get involved even if I’m not at home,” said Rock.

“Something I have been interested in for a while is the prison system. I want to continue to learn more about mass incarceration, and I am making an effort not to support companies that use prison labor,” added Rock.

The walk-a-thon, Block Island Walks for Racial Justice, began on Monday, July 6 at 8 a.m. in the North Light parking lot, and ended around 11 a.m. at the Southeast Light. Participants were encouraged to walk as much as they would prefer. Mask wearing and respect to social distancing were practiced during the walk.

“We may be a small island, but we can still take part in the nationwide protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Rock.

When asked how many donations have been raised for the E.J.I., Rock said, “we have about $3,000 dollars pledged, which is so great, and I’m so thankful to everyone that has donated. The E.J.I. is working against mass incarceration and fighting to end racial injustice. A big part of what they do is represent people with no legal representation, who are sentenced to life in prison without parole or who are on death row and represent them so they can get a just sentence. It’s a really great organization and I definitely recommend reading more about them and going to their museum and monument in Alabama.”

“I think that the protests and walks are incredible. The amount of attention on the B.L.M. movement right now is so essential. The protests are making all types of places, and people rethink how they think and interact with people. I go to a private school in New York, and we have had so many Zoom calls with the school and alumni so that the school can make the change that as students we have been asking for. Many things need to change in America regarding racism and racist systems, and that change is starting to happen. Even small efforts can lead to a significant difference,” said Rock.

Rock noted donations can continue to be made towards the walk until July 15, “but if you miss that deadline, donations can be made directly to the E.J.I. or other organizations or bail funds… I hope that people will read more about the E.J.I. and what they do. But I also hope that people will start doing more than just my walk and that this is just the beginning. There are lots of places to donate, such as organizations and bail funds, and there are so many ways and places to learn more about systemic racism, mass incarceration, and other issues,” added Rock.

To check out the recent walk-a-thon and make a donation pledge, https://go.rallyup. com/biwalks.

To make a donation to the E.J.I, https:// eji.org/