The sun is setting as I trek up the hillside, armed with a backpack and my smartphone in case of an accident. It’s a little ironic how I’ve always detested hiking, but it’s a walk of solidarity that is meant to be a statement to drive change that should’ve happened decades ago. There’s heavy strain on my lungs, and the words I can’t breathe echo throughout my mind. I keep going.
Panting, I finally reach the peak after what feels like hours of an uphill battle to claim victory. The sky has settled down for the evening, and even the stars solemnly remain dim tonight.
I amble over to the faded bench for rest underneath two cedar trees that overlooks the valley. And what a sight it is.
It’s Blackout Tuesday. Every building is dark, and light has seemingly vanished from the face of the Earth. The sheer quiet is almost uncomfortable. A grasshopper thrums with life in the distance.
I grab the banner from my backpack, unfurling it with care. It’s at least twenty feet in length and three in width. Proudly written on it is #BlackLivesMatter in pitch black paint, contrasted starkly on a white background. It’s the declaration of what should be the obvious, yet ignorant people remain.
With steady hands, I pitch the first pole and firmly hammer it into the ground. Then, the second. Lastly, I hook the banner on each pole and make sure it’s proudly taut.
I double check to make sure it won’t get blown away in the wind, before gathering my things and heading back down the mountain to re-join the others.