‘Up From Slavery’ summit in Bremerton aims to get — and keep — people talking – Kitsap Sun – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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BREMERTON — When a Minneapolis police officer murdered George Floyd in May 2020, Darryl Riley was reading “Up from Slavery,” Booker T. Washington’s autobiography. He was especially moved by the pace of his ancestors, within fewer than 50 years of emancipation, to find prosperity and found places like “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

But Riley also saw ways in which slavery never ended — be it through laws and amendments like the persisting Electoral College, founded in part as a way to count slaves, or through brutality, like what befell the Greenwood District of Tulsa 100 years ago, when it was burned to the ground in a race massacre. 

With help from other activists, “Up from Slavery” would become the name of Riley’s own movement here in Bremerton: a way to empower communities of color, while also confronting systemic racism. The title, in and of itself, has the “shock value” to get people talking — one of his paramount goals — no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter may be. 

“People are going to have a reaction, good or bad,” said Riley, 56. “Either way, it’s going to start a conversation.”

Those conversations are the goal of the Up From Slavery Initiative’s Race and Equity Summit this weekend, expected to draw hundreds to the Marvin Williams Center and Bremerton Performing Arts Center for speakers, including former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. 

During protests for racial justice following

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