Janea Jamison says growing up black in Napoleonville, Louisiana, a part of what’s called the state’s “Plantation Country” was challenging and a part of what led her to rally in New Orleans on Friday with thousands gathered around Jackson Square in the city’s historic French Quarter.
Jamison, 30, attended a predominately-white private school and says she felt stifled with a fear of not being accepted.
She said it wasn’t until she attended a historically black college that she found her voice – one she says she’s using not just for George Floyd but the many black men and women who have been killed because of their race.
“It’s 401 years of oppression that has led me here,” she said.
“It’s 246 years of slavery that has led me here. It’s 89 years of segregation that have led me here. And from 1954 until this day, and 66 years past post-segregation and a black man still has less rights than actual animal.”
Recent cases of black men and women being killed – some recorded on video – have given new fuel to a movement that began decades ago, Jamison explained.
“It was the frustration, the anger, the turmoil, the confusion of what we’ve been seeing that has ignited the fire within us to protest.”
Jamison said it was frustrating that it’s taking demonstrations like the one in New Orleans to see justice for George Floyd and others.
“It shouldn’t take all of us rallying for days and everyone throughout the country, all 50 states and people even internationally to protest for us to get some police behind bars,” she said. “It’s about holding people accountable for their actions because our citizens deserve it. We deserve it. Justice needs to be served.”