Bryan County NAACP chapter president discusses fight for racial equality

ByBriana Collier|June 2, 2020 at 6:51 PM EDT - Updated June 2 at 7:04 PM

BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - As you scroll through social media, many people nationwide are participating in #BlackoutTuesday as another way to take a stand against racial disparity and injustice.

Bryan County NAACP President Johnnie Quiller fights for equality every day for her community and her family. She's raising two black sons and experiences indescribable daily fear.

"It's really emotional for me because I do have two sons and actually it started with Ahmaud, actually it started way back to Trayvon Martin and I think about my son who loves Skittles and loves to go to the store with a hoodie on,” Quiller said.

But her fear doesn't stop there.

"Then with Ahmaud Arbery, I went down to Brunswick and I was a part of that protest and it just lit another fire under me and then we get George Floyd's death and so it really hurts. When I watch the video, it just hurts, because I can't imagine my child, my son or even my husband being treated that way."

For Quiller, she said conversations about how to live as young black men started early for her and her sons.

"My son, a 20-year-old, he's a student at Georgia Southern so he drives back and forth from Richmond Hill to Statesboro. I'm telling him don't drive at night, drive in the daytime, try your best to always have someone with you. My youngest son, he's 16 years old."

Conversations she says don't even touch the surface of the reality they could face as young black men.

"It's unfortunate that I have to tell them and have those conversations about the fact that there are just some people who are still mean and hateful and there are just some people who just don't appreciate the color of our skin."

For Quiller, she says as a black mother, that fear won't ever go away but now is the time for change.

"Now is the time I think it's a day of reckoning and it's now time to understand that we've got to do more than talk."

Quiller says they received a $1,000 grant from Georgia ACT, to help initiate voter engagement to get the black community to the polls and vote. They’re also encouraging the black community to give blood.

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