REVERE (CBS) – A Revere father was among those who joined in this afternoon’s demonstration on Boston Common — but only after what he calls “challenging” conversations with his three kids.
They marched and chanted as Linwood Harper stood proudly behind his two sons and daughter, all teenagers.
“Now is the time to speak and make real change,” says 17-year-old Ayah Harper, “because people need to hear it. Even if they don’t want to — people need to hear it. And this is the way it’s going to get done.”
But dad hadn’t let Ayah go to the demonstrations in recent days, because he’d seen the mayhem that followed on TV — both here and elsewhere.
“She was in tears that she couldn’t come,” her father said, “because of my safety concerns.”
But the kids persisted, aided by dad’s own stories of racial injustice and tragedy before their time. That’s when they piled on with the Memorial Day death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer — and the Harper kids asked “If not now — when?”
“This is a story that’s been repeated too many times,” says 19-year-old Adam Harper. “There have been too many George Floyds. And I really want to see a change in that so it doesn’t happen again.”
So Wednesday, they all came to Boston Common to be a part of that change, and the 14-year-old quickly noticed that most of the crowd was not African American.
“It’s good because it’s a sign that people from other races want change too,” said Amir Harper. “It’s not just black people.”
“This can be a better world for all of us,” added Adam, “if everyone could be treated equally. This isn’t just a black issue — it’s an American issue.”
But even beyond that, Ayah convinced her Dad that the kind of protest violence he feared, was the very reason the family had to show up — to help change the storyline.
“And I knew the story wasn’t that people were being violent and looting,” said Ayah. “I knew the story was these people are peacefully protesting. That’s what the majority of people are doing. That’s what you see here.”
And so, the Harpers got active in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism — together. And despite his concerns, Dad likes the result.
“My kids have motivated me and made me see this as something bigger,” said Linwood Harper. “And I’m really proud of this generation for stepping to the forefront and accepting this as their burden.”