You are the best thing in this place.

At our last action, a young man stood with a poster, hiding behind us, tears streaming down his face. I assumed he was overwhelmed with the crowds and just needed to take a break. Maybe he was dehydrated. I really had no idea. I asked why he was crying.

“I don’t understand why wanting to take this down makes these people want to hurt me. Actually hurt me. I’m scared.” I was stunned, panicked, ill-equipped to respond. I put my hand on his shoulder and he shook it off. “If this guy owned people like my great-great grandparents, why does he get to be right here, up high, in the middle?”

“Well, he might be there…for now, but you are the best thing in this place,” I said quietly. I got a smile, a big sniffle. I handed him a soda from my backpack. I told him that this was coming down one way or another. Even if we had to use our own ropes and chains. He asked if he could help. “Yes. We need you to help.”

He was quiet for a long time.

“We’re like the flowers. The statue has got to come down and the flowers will still be here. They’ll grow and cover where it used to be.”

He picked up his poster, pushed through the other protesters, and held it up as high as it would go.