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Local NAACP Leader Says Bridge Needed To Young Protesters

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader

Many of the faces for the Black Lives Matter movement are from a younger generation. Most of the protesters are also not one particular color.

Putnam County NAACP President Thomas Savage said diversity through this movement is its strongest ally.

“This group of people are front and center,” Savage said. “Their diversity is their strength. Their diversity where they have each other’s backs-white kids, black kids, latino, oriental folk-they’re all together and they’re all as one. They are really bringing about real change, and out of this organization we are seeing the new leaders of the world today.”

Savage said for so long, civil rights activists relied on the legends of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1960’s. He said it’s time for the younger generation to take up the torch.

“You pass it on, but still, someone has to rise and be a leader,” Savage said. “Especially on this social and economic justice trail that we’re on. This has been a long time coming, racism is abounding, and it’s strong.”

Baby boomer members have begun to age out, Savage said. He said the current Black Lives Matter group can use the platform that’s been built to push civil rights even further. At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Savage urged members to consider ways they could build bridges to these young people. He said at times, these young leaders seem radical in their approach. But, Savage said, they are the ones who will move change forward.

The NAACP focuses on creating changes in the criminal justice system, voting, incarceration, and health care for the equal rights for people of color. Savage said one of the most important things this generation can do is vote.

“Black lives matter, but I will say this, black lives need to vote,” Savage said. “We have a primary coming up, and then we have an election coming up in November. Don’t let the work that you do be in vain.”

Also Tuesday night, Savage said the group needed to follow up on its meeting with Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris and Cookeville Police Chief Randy Evans to ensure proper protocols are being used here.


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