“A lot of people think what’s going on is a police versus black issue, but that’s a misunderstanding. I’m a big advocate for doing what’s right and fair, for equality. My godfather is a police officer. My real dad wasn’t in my life much until 8th grade, so everything I know about being a man came from my godfather. He’s one of the most respected men that I know. He’s always told me as I was growing up that if I ever get into a situation where I’m about to be arrested, don’t resist because the cop has the right to subdue you to get you to cooperate. I understand that.
“What’s been happening this summer is more about people’s hearts than about police actions. The police actions are just examples, symptoms, of what’s really been going on in the larger society for a while. People are using the incidents as an outlet to voice their opinions and to create a change that’s bigger and more real than in the past.
“The school I attend now is diverse, and we talk about these kinds of hard topics. We do things where we have to address what’s going on and not just push it under the rug. We won’t be able to grow as a school, as a community, or as people living in Memphis unless we have these conversations with each other. We have to work together. I have a friend who texted me when the protest started on the bridge. He said, ‘No matter what, I don’t care if you’re black and I’m white, we’re still brothers. We’re still in this together. No matter what social media is saying, you know I have your back, and I know you have mine.’ Those are the types of relationships I seek out.”