Sterling Williams speaks about racial injustice on the steps of the Town House.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
At Sunday’s Black Lives Matter rally just outside of Town House, Dover-Sherborn rising junior Sterling Williams declared: “No matter how much money you have, or where you were educated, you are still treated like a black person.”
This thought has been echoed by everything from former SNL cast member Jay Pharoah recently releasing footage of himself having his neck kneeled on by the LAPD in a case of “mistaken identity," to Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates being arrested by the Cambridge Police Department after trying to “break into" his own home.
While it would be easy to dismiss a town as affluent as Dover having a rally like this, the bottom line is that racism is everywhere. And if you want to stop it, you need to acknowledge it, call it out, and do something about it - everywhere.
The day began with the gathered mass marching around the Town House, as people trickled in from either the library parking lot or various businesses around Dover center. High school students/event organizers Sanyah Earl (rising sophomore), Coco Hauck (rising sophomore), Adelaide Schwarz (rising sophomore), and Lucie Schwarz (rising senior) used a megaphone to chanted things like “When I say black lives, you say matter”; “No justice, no peace”; ”Show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like”; and “hey, hey, ho, ho, these racist cops have got to go.” Their line of what appeared to be around 400 people became so long the marchers in front almost bumped into the marchers in back.
Lest you think the “racist cops” chant implied the event was especially anti-police, there was an officer helping protesters cross the street from the library parking lot, and one of the organizers noted that Police Chief McGowan was “fantastic” and "extremely supportive" when they reached out to him about holding the event.
After the marching, various people stood on the steps of the Town House and gave speeches. Sterling Williams quoted MLK’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” saying “the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America,” before declaring “freedom is something we as Americans - no, we as human beings - should always fight for.”
He also cited actions, such as Louisville’s abolishing of no-knock warrants like the one that killed Breonna Taylor, Virginia removing “monuments that symbolize a racist system," and Charlie Baker banning police from using choke holds, ultimately declaring: “don’t tell me these protests are not working.”
With a flyer for everyone to read along with her, Sanyah Earl read her poem “Life of a METCO Student.” The poem outlines a typical METCO student's average day, from having to wake up earlier due to the distant commute to the uncomfortable nature of being the only person of color when a class is about racism and slavery, to getting questioned whether you have enough money for lunch.
The poem ends, “the bell rings, my day has ended, going to the METCO office, where I am free to be me, without explanation, my mask is off, my speech is on, I am loud and proud, thank you for seeing me.”
The same flyer that housed Earl’s poem had a four step “call to action” plan for people to become anti-racist, which included reading certain books, watching certain movies and documentaries, donating to certain causes and shopping at select black-owned businesses.
At 3:45, the bells of the Most-Precious Blood Church rang and the crowd had a mass “lie in” for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memory of those people of color who have been murdered, especially George Floyd. An organizer noted they did not have a “die in,” because there were so many families with small children around, and that might have been too intense for them.
Still, with Sterling Williams noting tangible changes that have come from these nationwide protests, it will be interesting to see what changes happen in Dover.