After being arrested on Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on June 1 during a Black Lives Matter protest, Denton-based software engineer Jeziel Jones noticed a trend in his conversations with fellow protestors: food.
That’s when Jones decided to create the Potluck Protest—a gathering of Black-owned restaurants and people eating together and engaging in conversations about society moving forward, regardless of their race. The Potluck Protest is scheduled for June 13 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Reverchon Park in Dallas after a protest hosted by the Next Generations Action Network.
“The idea itself came out of a few conversations I had, three separate occasions about food or potlucks or restaurants, all things related to food and their impact on Black communities,” Jones told Dallas Innovates.
The Potluck Protest made sense to him as it is deeply rooted in Black history, with people coming together to feed others.
Jones hopes that The Potluck Protest, which is described as “Feeding the social justice revolution” on Instagram, will become a way for people to voice what they want to say about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality.
While promoting the event, Jones received many messages from people saying they did not want to attend a protest because they didn’t want to be physically harmed. He explained that the nature of social movements oftentimes has plenty of passion and plenty of different groups being very vocal about what they care about, but it’s sometimes through that passion the specific message everyone’s trying to get across is lost.
The Potluck Protest might be adopted in other cities as well, according to Jones, but he believes it is important to start this movement in Dallas.
“I think that for the Dallas community, this could really be a way to join together several different viewpoints directed toward the same goal of ending racial discrimination,” Jones says.
The adoption of The Potluck Protest in other cities nationwide would be simple, according to Jones. He noted that people have a natural focus around food, and with the importance of food centered on building the community, different cities can get people involved in the movement that weren’t involved beforehand.
“We’re really trying to create this tone of, let’s dig in. Let’s figure this out. Let’s share the hard stories we’re talking about and let’s not be passive,” Jones says. “Let’s do it around something that we all understand, eating.”
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