Black Lives Matter in small-town Appalachia (In These Times)

In July, I visited Marion, Virginia, to cover a Black Lives Matter/LGBTQ+ rally, along with a counterprotest. After a previous Marion BLM rally in June, someone burnt a cross outside the home of 17-year-old organizer Travon Brown. One of his neighbors was subsequently arrested and charged.

Read my story at In These Times.

You can also check out my long livetweet thread from the march & counter-protest on Twitter.

You will likely have unanswered questions after reading my story. I went to the march as an unaffiliated freelance reporter, and the story wound up as a “Dispatch” at ITT, which is fairly brief. As a reporter, I often envision an optimal version of a story that I’d write with better support and more length. Well, Michael Miller at the Washington Post wrote that version of this story, which is pretty humbling. It hits every note I could possibly have hit, and more.

Final note: I wrote my story weeks before John Lewis’ death, which came very, very late in the editorial process. I considered asking to have the reference to him removed, because I knew his “good trouble” quote would be everywhere. We ultimately left it, for numerous reasons, including because it answers a specific phrase used to criticize Brown.