To the Editor:
I am writing in response to quotes mentioned in a recent MV Times article, “Floyd killing sparks Oak Bluffs rally,” posted on May 31.
I am deeply saddened and appalled that Ewell Hopkins, an elected Oak Bluffs official, publicly disparaged the sincere efforts of Kiely Rigali, the concerned citizen and M.V. educator who organized Sunday’s peaceful gathering. For Hopkins to insinuate that black organizers would have done things differently, or in his case, better, makes this an unnecessary racial issue. Per the article, Rigali followed proper procedures, including informing the Oak Bluffs Police Department about the event. Given Hopkins’ remarks, I feel it is important to mention that I had joined with three Island women (two whites and one black) to plan a peaceful protest vigil at Five Corners. When we learned about yesterday’s event, we stopped planning our own.
As a black person, I am overjoyed that a white person responded to the black community’s call to action. George Floyd’s horrible murder was captured via cell phone, making it possible to be witnessed internationally. Rigali used her white privilege to elevate the hurt and pain that the black community has been experiencing for far too long. She humbly created a platform for attendees to learn what they can do to help create the change we desperately need to see in the world, and on M.V. — what’s not to love about that?