Reaching Your Enemy: Interview with Hawk Newsome (Black Lives Matter)

By Kate Roff

When a Black Lives Matter group from New York protested at the "Mother of All Rallies" the unexpected reaction made headlines.

Hawk Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, and his team were invited on stage to speak. By the end of Mr Newsome's speech the crowd was cheering, breaking into applause when he said "If we really want to make America great - we do it together", and protesters and participants mixed afterwards.

"When I walked off that stage I was like 'Wow - what just happened?’," said Mr Newsome.

"Realistically, a lot of those folks, they were shocked - just like me, I was shocked as hell - a lot of these guys were, you know, pretty hard core Trump supporters, didn't really care about what was happening to black people, what we were fighting for, and here they are opening up, opening their hearts," he said.

"Some people were even opening up their homes, they aware like 'Hey, if you ever want to come and visit, you know you can stay with me'.”

“That's a stretch - that's a stretch - right now I am just happy with starting a dialogue that we can build on."

Hawk's tips for reaching others?

1. "Communicate with love and respect.”

2. "Find common ground. And throughout the communication, just revert back to that common ground. If it's a moral place, if it's biblical, if it's constitutional - let's just remind people of the common ground."

3. “Stay out of the Weeds. When we say stay out of the weeds it's that little stuff that we can argue about - let's not even argue about that, let's not argue racism case-by-case, let's just admit that we know racism exists, and try and find ways to fix it."

"What we need is a dialogue, we need people speaking to one another, we need people understanding one another," Mr Newsome said.

"We need - we need to understand one another, before we destroy one another," he said.

Cover Photo: Vas Sagar