In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police officers and the subsequent national riots that followed, Yonkers, New York resident Edward C. Ball, thought about and was struck by how little his experience growing up white in Los Angeles had in common from his close cousin Yves, who grew up Black and in Louisiana.
I met Edward C. Ball on my morning bike ride on the Walkway Over the Hudson. The Walkway was built on the structure of the old Poughkeepsie railroad bridge, once the longest spanning bridge in the United States, and crosses the Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Highland, New York.
It was a gorgeous day to be over the Hudson. I saw Mr. Ball and asked him about the sign that caught my eye.
“The sign I carry — Speak up — is my attempt to create a pattern interrupt in the lives of the people who read it,” Ball says. ”Some ask, ‘About what should I speak up? ‘To which I answer, ‘Something that is important to you. Speak up and respectfully share it with others.’”
Ball continues, “It allows me to listen and then to ask, ‘Are you registered to vote?’”
Ball says, “I came up with the idea, one day while thinking about George Floyd. I was struck with how little my growing up experiences (white Los Angeles) had in common with my cousin Yve’s (Black Louisiana). From this I somehow knew I wanted to carry a sign ‘Speak up.’ Strange, right?”
Not strange at all Mister Ball. But rather supercool and thanks for your valuable contribution to the national dialogue.