Blackout Rideout from Conshohocken to the Philadelphia Museum of Art
by Brian Coll
Event Wrap up and Opinion
Let’s start with the facts of the event that took place yesterday. It was a peaceful ride from Conshohocken to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This event was organized by, in no particular order: Christopher Jackson Jr, Courtland Jackson, Anthony Scott, Jamel Major. A couple of friends helped out including Charles Franzone and Terry Badger. This group all went to Plymouth Whitemarsh High School.
I asked Courtland Jackson about a few things. He really wanted to acknowledge a few people:
What started as something small, turned into something colossal in the matter of days. The @conshybikecrew and I would like to thank the 200+ riders and donors for joining us in our peaceful protest to stop and bring awareness to racism and police brutality etc. Everyone who rode with us and joined us on our travels believes that there is a need change; and that change starts from within!
The @conshybikecrew and I would like to give a huge shout out to everyone that supported and donated to our cause. We would also like to recognize a few special individuals and business for their support:
Q102’s @rach_ontheair for promoting our event on the radio.
Franzone’s Pizzeria in Plymouth Meeting, Pa for donations 30+ pizzas.
Scoop’s Ice cream In Conshohocken for donating water ice.
Erica __ for making our ‘Black Lives Matters’ shirts.
Fox 29 news for covering us in the morning!
@jamesjohnsonjunior for the photography and videography.
@Djkaygee_ for DJ’ing our event.
Carol’s place (@carols_place_conshy) for donating waters.
Set up crew: @lexiegambale @nikequeen12 @ballyballs @courtkn3e @ayokeef @Jaid Ellinger
I would like to give the last shout out to PayPal and Terry Badger for matching our donations to charity. We raised a total of $11,600 in just a few days! All of this will go to the Bail Out Project that pays the bail for individuals who were wrongfully arrested while peacefully protesting. Thanks to 161 Washington Street for allowing us to stage the bike ride from your property.
About the event…. I (Brian Coll in case you don’t know who’s opinion you are about to read) saw something on Facebook this past week about it and thought it was a great idea, and if the right people were behind it, it could bring unity and be a great event. When I found out who was behind the event I knew it was going to be a success for all the right reasons. I’m in my mid 40’s and my first love besides my family has always been Conshohocken. As a white guy in my mid 40’s…. who doesn’t get out of Conshohocken much… I might not be world savy and up to date on current events. However, the current events recently have been hard to ignore. Getting back to the reason I knew it was going to be a great event when I saw the names of the people organizing it…. 1. They put their names on it. This wasn’t some random group of people who may have had ulterior motives. These were good young men from the borough of Conshohocken. 2. I have watched this group of young men and some friends grow up here, being very respectful of our community. 3. These men live and work here. They are teachers, they are borough employees they are athletes and more importantly, they are our friends. 4. They put their heart and soul into it. 5. They invited the community, and the community came out to support them.
When I arrived under the Matsonford Bridge on Sunday morning, I had a couple of cases of water for the riders. I wasn’t sure where to put it and the organizers were happy to help bring the water to the snack table. They had fruits and snacks for the riders and they had a group of volunteers who were going to meet the riders back there in a few hours after the ride. The group of a couple hundred riders consisted of men and women in our community, black and white, young and old. Everyone was happy to see one another and collectively wanted to use their voice to see a positive change in the way our society sees color and race.
You know, there would have been a lot more hugging if it weren’t for the coronavirus quarantine. It was such a great group of people. Before the ride, Christopher Jackson Jr. spoke and the entire group was led in prayer by his Aunt Crystal. You can watch that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHvbyB0Y91k
I’m super proud of the young men that organized this event. I say young men, but these are grown men themselves, just a few years younger than me. I watched them grow up on the same streets I did, watched them have birthday parties at the Fellowship House, watched them play in the same parks and this past Sunday, I watched them put together an amazing event and step forward as future leaders of our borough.
Now, for a little opinion… America…. we as a nation have waited too long to listen and try to bring real change to our country. You can read a million articles and opinions about the deaths, the unfair treatment of our African American brothers. I won’t regurgitate so many of the recent events that brought our nation to this boiling point. Honestly, I get mad thinking about them. As our nation and our community was hurting from the coronavirus quarantine and it just seemed like a bad year, the protests started… and honestly, I thought to myself, we don’t need this on top of everything else going on right now…. people out of work, businesses closing…. and then I realized. None of those things compares to people being killed because of the color of their skin. Period. This could be the perfect time. People are listening. This isn’t about someone 3,000 miles away that you see on TV a couple times and then goes away with the next news cycle. This is about our country, right now. It’s time to change.
If this group of bike riders from Conshohocken can bring a little attention to a national problem.…. it isn’t political, it is a human rights issue. This isn’t about passing laws. This is about being a decent human being. It starts at home.
I’m proud of the men and women who organized this event. I hope it shines a little light on the problem of racial inequality.
For those of you who know me personally, I am here. I would like to consider myself a friend to all. If anyone in our community needs to talk, or someone to listen to them. I am here. I am your friend. I love Conshohocken and if I can help in anyway within our community, please reach out.
As a general rule of thumb…. any racists remarks made on our Facebook page will be taken down and the person who feels it necessary to make those remarks will be banned from our Facebook page. In the past we haven’t allowed racial remarks, we feel the need to follow that up with banning those who make said remarks.
Brian Coll (so you don’t have to look for a mystery author)