BOSTON (CBS) – Ayah Harper is young, but wise enough to tell you life is not always a walk in the park when you are Black.
It is during a walk through Boston Common that Ayah reflected about George Floyd’s death and how it put things into focus for the 18-year-old from Revere.READ MORE: First Afghan Refugees Arrive In Massachusetts
“It definitely sparked an epiphany for me,” Harper said.
Most epiphanies aren’t broadcast on live television. But one year ago, in the days after Floyd’s death, Harper met WBZ-TV’s David Wade on Boston Common.
It was her very first protest.
On live television she said with a newfound passion: “We should all be here fighting for this. I can never escape this reality.”
One busy year later she told Wade “It was really just a feeling of helplessness and kind of seeing something was so shocking and terrifying and that it could happen to any of my family members.”READ MORE: Car Crashes Into Allston Auto Body Shop, Damaging Building
It was her first protest but not her last. Harper led a rally in Revere last summer.
“It inspired me to use my voice I’d say,” she said.
Harper is a senior at Dexter Southfield in Brookline. She is a star basketball player and student who will be headed to Tufts University next year. In a few days, she will give a speech at her graduation. The topic is inclusion and diversity – something she talked about during a speech at school earlier this year.
“I just want people to understand what it means to be part of a community. We need to be seen and heard. It can’t just be sports and music. It has to be consistently standing with us all the time,” Harper said.
After that first rally on the Common, Ayah started designing clothing with different political messages. She has sold thousands of shirts and sweatshirts. She donates some of the proceeds to groups important to her.MORE NEWS: Gov. Baker Calls For Action Towards Ending Nurses' Strike At St. Vincent Hospital
One demonstration led to a transformation for this young woman who hopes to help change the world one speech – or sweatshirt – at a time.