Essence Festival of Culture hosted a session on Saturday called “Good Trouble,” a one-on-one conversation between sports journalist Jemele Hill & activist Tamika Mallory.
During the segment, Mallory discussed what motivates her to fight for the voiceless, why white people should shift from allies to accomplices, and the impact last year’s movement has had on the country.
Hill began the discussion asking Mallory to recount her very first time attending a protest and where her fire for fighting for justice came from.
“I remember actually seeing Rev. Sharpton there. That was at a time when he had longer hair and the medallions and the sweatsuits and I just remembering looking like ‘look at these people,’” Mallory told Hill.
“I had to be four or five years old and they were so big and tall. But they were so powerful. They had just finished this protest…but you could tell that they were all like ‘we’re not going to take it and we’re going to stand up and fight back and I was so memorized by the idea that these people who looked like me, although they were much bigger than me, they were so powerful and their voices were so strong.”
The two then touched on 2020. Last year was a year like no other. Much of the American population either lost their jobs or were forced to work from home. As a result of the pandemic, Americans were plugged into their televisions, streaming services and social media platforms like never before. It was hard for some to escape the reality that America had a race and police brutality problem following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. While risking their lives, many people around the nation and the world took to the streets demanding justice and equality for all.
Hill asked Mallory what’s one difference she’s seen as a result of last year’s movement to end racism and police brutality.
“I’m being joined more by folks who have not been allies in the past,” Mallory told Hill. “Now our goal is to shift these individuals from being allies to being accomplices, people who are really prepared to sacrifice something not just recognize that it’s happening, but then also to say even in my own family, even at my own kitchen table, I’m going to call out racism, sexism, and any other ‘ism’ that I know exists within my circle no matter how uncomfortable it makes me and that is the work.”
Mallory says the younger generation keeps her hopeful and motivated in the fight for justice.
“The young people that I have encountered across the country in Minneapolis, Louisville, Kentucky even in New York…these young people make me more bold, they help me to push forward and to walk into spaces and places that I may not have been in because of either trying to be politically correct and or safe,” Mallory told Hill.
“You know as we get older we have more wisdom and so when we see fire we don’t want to go too close to that fire, but these young people run straight to it and through it and I’m not going to let them beat me, so I’m running with them down the street.”
Mallory says although she’s in the forefront fighting for justice, she’s just “a regular around the way girl” and if she had it her way she “would probably be in the background continuing to serve others and make sure that they are the face of the movement.”