These were three speeches given before or after at Sunday’s Black Lives Matter march through Darien. You can find quotes from them and other speeches in this related article, but these full texts may add to further understanding the event:
Editor’s note: These statements were recorded, although occasionally [as noted within brackets] some of the words couldn’t be heard.
One speaker, identified only as “PJ,”:
I moved here 22 years ago with my family. I’m very proud of my children, very proud of their voice, and I want to add something to their voice. I want to add something to this town that I love, this town that I grew up in, this town I live in, this town that I work in, this town where my friends are, and everything.
We have an awesome police force here. We do. They protect and serve. I have lots of friends on the force. I have lots of friends that I’ve trained. I have lots of friends that I have a dialogue with.
I had a dialogue with Officer Lou and Officer Dan the other day, and just saying ‘Hey, PJ, how can we help, how can we help bridge the peace. How can we get out here. How can we spread the word that, yes, reform is needed, yes there are some bad actors out there, just like there’s some bad cops, and there’s some bad people out there in the world, but that doesn’t mean we put ’em all in the same basket.
The color of my skin I cannot change. I will not hide, but I also will not say, ‘Oh, this is how I view myself.’ If this is the person that you choose to look through and that’s all you see, a black man, you don’t know who I am.
My friends in the crowd, the people that I know — you know who I am. You know the man that I am. I’m not a black man, I’m not a brown man, I’m not an Indian, I’m not a German, I’m a man.
And each and every day, each and every day through all of this, I start with one premise. I start with ‘God created us all equal.’ Equal shades, equal colors, equal rights, and it’s taken our country a long time to figure out that the darker hue people and the blacks and other minorities have just as much right and just as much say, but that doesn’t mean we throw everybody in the same basket. That doesn’t mean that we throw everybody in the same kind of conversation.
We need change. I need my children to grow up in a world where change is possible. And change will take place, but I also need a world that not only accepts us, but also turns their heart to God, turns their heart to peace and to kindness. You don’t have to believe in God. You don’t even have to believe that He exists — but he does.
I don’t have to tell you that the Devil exists. You don’t have to believe in the Devil. He exists, too, and there is a battle of good and evil and racism. This system, whatever you want to label it — but outside of the labels, we have got to get to human kindness. We have got to get to loving one another. God created us all equal in His image. Thank you very much.
I have lots of friends on the [police] force. I have lots of friends that I’ve trained. I have lots of friends that I have a dialogue with.
Police Chief Donald Anderson’s Speech
Thank you, everybody. I’m going to take my mask off, as well. Although I have a face for radio, I want everybody to see me. I’m easy to find. I don’t shirk. I don’t hide. I’m perfectly willing to have conversations with anybody and everybody when it comes to professional policing. I’ve been the chief of police here for nine months, but I’ve been here [working for the Police Department], for almost 37 years.
Some of the folks in the crowd here, you know me and you know what I stand for.I stand for professional public safety. I demand excellence from our officers here, and nothing less. I demand nothing less, and the public deserves nothing less, as well. No matter what your faith, your creed, your color, I claim Mark 12:31: You should love your neighbors as yourselves.
I have no aversion to coming and saying that in front of this crowd. [applause/some unintelligible words from Anderson] dialogue on police work or anything that touches public safety. You know the address. You know that I’m here. You can find my email address. You can find my phone number. I do not hide behind any type of blue wall.
I will have a conversation, reasonably, professionally and effectively any day that ends with “y” at just about any hour of the clock.
So I want you to see my face. I want you to know what I stand for. I want you to know what the town of Darien Police Department stands for, despite any past history. I can only speak to the time that I was here, and my dad was here as well, from 1963 to 1993, and as I can tell you, as sure as I’m standing here, I believe in the U.S. Constitution. I believe in equal justice for all. I believe in fair, impartial and aggressive, professional law enforcement.
So come talk to me. Come talk to me any day you want to come talk to me. I’m here to have that conversation. First and foremost — lastly — I thank you for keeping this peaceable. That is what we are looking for when you come to Darien.
Guaranteed by the U.S. and the state of Connecticut Constitutions, the right to peaceful protest and right to peaceable assembly. And thank you, my officers thank you. My officers thank you for a peaceable day. I wish you well. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.
Allie introduced herself as a 30 year-old now living in Brooklyn, New York.
I grew up in Darien. I’m 30 now. […] I can say from growing up in this town that there’s a lot of racism that exists, whether it be quieter or louder, and there’s a lot of racism that I’ve had to unlearn from growing up in this environment, and I think right now the conversation that’s happening needs to be happening. It’s a great conversation to be having.
And I think we need to [unclear word — “teach”?] everybody on how to be anti-racist, not just not racist. That means, as a white person — this is mostly a white town — looking at yourself and thinking, ‘How have I benefited from my privilege that we have,?’ Because this racism is rooted in our society, deeply, deeply rooted, and it’s going to take a bit of work and a lot of talk for that to change.
We’re moving in the right direction, but come to these things [protests], posting a black square [on Instagram]. It’s not enough. You’ve got to look a whole lot deeper than that, and I know there’s money in this town.
Looking at all of you directly, saying that you should be donating as much as you can for the people who don’t have that money, and [applause] yeah, there’s a lot of work, and it’s just starting now. And it’s a good conversation that’s happening, that needs to continue.
Hold every single person in your own personally life accountable, even though it’s uncomfortable, and it’s not something that you want to maybe do all the time. It’s tiring, but it is a job, as white people, to do that. It is the bare minimum that we can be doing now.
Continue to do better on a daily basis. Continue to do better. Continue to educate yourself. Normalize changing your opinion when you learn something.