Hey everyone! I am Nate Shipper and I am a part of the #WalkAway team.
I was never one to share my politics at Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, I kept my political persuasion a secret for most of my life. I was a conservative in a world dominated by cancel-culture and a stigma against dissenting beliefs. Naturally, I feared what there was to lose if I let my secret slip. In school, at home, and with friends, I was an obedient dissenter, keeping my mouth shut and my head down. That reality is not surprising to anyone in our #WalkAway family, however.
Beginning work with #WalkAway changed little of that attitude. I was placing myself on the front lines of American politics in 2020. Despite occasional inspiration at our rallies, I would still go home every week and write an essay from a liberal point of view. I was living two lives. Every weekend I flew across the nation, joining in the songs and shouts of our rallies and marches. Every week, I crawled back into the neat little world I had built for myself: free of conflict and free of politics.
That hypocritical rhythm met its tragic end in Dallas, Texas on September 5.
I was on one my weekend highs from joining you patriots for a few electric hours. The team had heard where one of our security guards had been kept for some time following an incident at the rally. Some speakers and the team decided to go check on our guard considering it had been several hours that he had been kept there. We arrived to see news stations, huge cameras, and a press conference set up for those that disagreed with us. That sort of press was foreign to our vibrant rallies, and Brandon decided to ask for an interview.
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What happened next was a series of moments that shattered my peaceful little world I kept at home.
Someone recognized us from the afternoon event. A crowd began to gather.
We were silent.
The crowd began to move closer, shouting. We began to back away, realizing just how much danger we could be in. The crowd followed. A hand grabbed a drink and threw it. Another grabbed a traffic cone and did the same.
We stayed silent.
They shouted, pushed, and threatened us. A voice whispered in my ear, “I can punch you”. Another told me, “Nobody can protect you now”.
I stayed silent.
My heart raced and my palms sweat as my adrenaline raced through my veins. I was not safe. A concoction of astonishment and anger began to swirl in my mind. I was not in fear at that moment. I was not paranoid. I felt exactly how BLM wanted me to feel.
Except…I was with a family. I was with people that knew my fear, that knew my angst, that knew my loneliness. That day, #WalkAway kept me safe, but more importantly, it made me PROUD. My #WalkAway family allowed me to shine brighter and demolish those walls I had erected long ago. Since then, I have nothing to lose because I quelled my streak of silence.
The weekend of October 1 is the manifestation of what #WalkAway did for me. This event was made for all of you keeping secrets. It is made for those of you who are living in two worlds. Our mission is to SHOW you that you are not alone. That is why we are asking for your help in doing so. I encourage all of you to come and feel the energy that these events give. Every attendee, every donation, and every volunteer puts us closer and closer to allowing more people to tear down those silent walls. It’s time to become #UNSLIENT. Please, donate NOW.
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Author: #WalkAway Campaign