“You know when you’re knocking at doors for a cause, and it just isn’t working?” said Kenneth Monroe, president of the Pocatello, Idaho branch of the NAACP. “Once in a while, you just need to knock the door down, and that’s what I think people are doing.”
Since the death of George Floyd, the Pocatello NAACP helped support and coordinate several peaceful protests and candlelight vigils. No matter the event, community members both Black and white have come together in support of reform and discussion of changes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP first met two years ago, and their relationship has since evolved into a partnership against racism. Recently, President Russell M. Nelson released a joint statement alongside the NAACP calling for an end of discrimination, racism and prejudice in the world.
Part of that statement reads, “We first linked arms as friends and have now locked arms in love and brotherhood. The people of America can do the same.”
The mission of the protests, is to open the line of communication, Monroe said.
“It’s time that dialogue and communication need to take place, and take place now,” Monroe said. “The bottom line is we need to open communication and action be taken. We need to move quickly.”
The NAACP hopes to “move quickly” through organizing town hall meetings to invoke changes in the community, talking with the local police force about specific changes and working with a local TV station to produce monthly virtual town hall meetings with a panel which will discuss questions that people may have.
One of the biggest actions communities can take to promote discussion and change is to talk within the walls of the home, according to Monroe.
“Families need to talk about what’s going on,” Monroe said. “Take an opportunity to look at the biases and prejudice in your family that you may not be aware of.”
Some people may not have the luxury of being at home for these important discussions. Yet, according to Monroe, when it comes to change, one of the leading groups of advocates in changing communities are students.
“Students need to organize themselves and talk about issues too,” Monroe said. “Young people are most affected because they’re the ones dealing with it. Teach them how to handle themselves around police. Discussion needs to happen regarding bias and prejudice in the community. Then, students need to talk about them. We want to make everyone aware of these prejudices and biases and how to address them in your communities.”
Kicking down the door begins with starting a dialogue, and it needs to happen now, Monroe said. With the help of the NAACP, voices calling for change will soon be heard.
“We want to start to open discussions,” Monroe said. “We need to work on systematic changes and the racism in our country. We’re supporting that actions need to be taken and discussion and communication need to be opened.”