HENRIETTA, NY (WROC) Clay Harris is hoping to spread awareness of the core issues he says are behind the racial unrest in America today: “Racial injustice, oppression, systematic racism,” says Harris.
Harris is used to brining together people on the gridiron. A former high school and college football star, he now sees the opportunity to bring everyone together.
He and his family made hundreds of “We Stand Together Black Lives Matter” signs to be posted across town, and a steady stream of people, of all stripes, pulled in to pick them up at the Henrietta Church of the First Born.
“We’re going to give them out to however many people want them,” says Harris’ cousin, Alysha Poles. “At a time like this, we need to be one. We need to be unified and know ‘hey, my neighbor has my back,'” she says.
Harris points out a number of things have already happened since people have taken to the streets locally and around the nation to bring about change. That includes Governor Andrew Cuomo signing police reform bill repealing 50-A into law Friday. 50-A kept officers’ disciplinary records confidential. Cuomo also took action to ban chokeholds in police confrontations.
The family says their underlying message of combating racism is spread through mutual respect and devotion. “We want to love unconditionally and that is the sole message,” says Pastor Ronald Poles of the Henrietta Church of the First Born.
Harris says the way for real change going forward won’t be achieved by upending a community like we’ve seen at home and across the county. He says lasting change will come through events like this, and the willingness of all to listen and educate themselves.
“You can go ahead and learn so many things that will actually help elevate you. Please keep (the signs) right in front,” he says adding, “Everyone needs to see the signs to spread awareness so that we continue to put pressure on the lawmakers to make changes to fight systematic racism.”
If you would like to order one of the signs, click here.