"Inspired by #SURJ (Stand Up for Racial Justice), I am planning actions in Franklin to stop my own silence and to stand, peacefully, in solidarity with people of color, to change the future to prevent needless hate, bias, and violence against those whom have been harmed throughout the history of our country," said Betsy Vernon, a Franklin mother and entrepreneur, on social media. "These will be peaceful gatherings and an opportunity to find other allies, who are searching for a way to help stand up for racial justice."
Vernon said the organization of these events is meant to acknowledge her own silence and give herself and others the opportunity to help break the silence.
"This action is simply about showing up and holding a sign and finding other like-minded people," she said. "For some I’ve heard from, that is not enough. For some, it’s too much. My only ask is for others to join me if they are interested."
On Thursday night, locals are invited to peacefully gather at the Public Square in downtown Franklin at 5 p.m. with a sign that reads either "end white silence" or "black lives matter."
Vernon asks that attendees wear masks and observe social distancing protocols.
On Saturday at 10 a.m., the community is invited out again in their cars decorated with signs bearing the same messages to meet in the parking lot of Our Thrift Store on Columbia Avenue and West Fowlkes Street in Franklin. Cars will proceed in a line from that spot to the corner of East Main Street and First Avenue and back.
"I urge anyone who feels lost in this time of realization to not stay silent, to come share your belief and drive for change and to hold up the mirror for yourself and your privilege," Vernon said. "If you have interest in attending, or helping get the word out for these events, please let me know. If you know of, or are planning for, your own action, please also reach out so we can be powerful together."
For more information, visit Vernon's blog page on Facebook, Finding the Thread, where she has posted details for both events.