FORT WAYNE Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - Minny Jackson has been on the front lines of the movement since the beginning. She’s a Fort Wayne native, a black woman, a mother, an LGBTQ activist and a face of change.
“For 401 years we have dealt with segregation, slavery,” Jackson said. “We’ve been oppressed for so long that we fight amongst each other for a slice of the pie.”
Jackson grew up in Fort Wayne, and she says racism here is very real.
“Every day when I wake up, I walk out my house and I look around,” Jackson says she lives in fear because of her identity. “I walk everyday just in fear of whether or not I’m going to have hatred from people who don’t like black people or people who don’t like gay people.”
That fear is the reason she’s fighting for change, she says, and for the future of her five-year-old daughter.
“One night when I was putting her to bed, she said to me, I don’t want to be a police officer anymore,” Jackson explained. “What you want to do? I want to be like you mommy.”
Jackson protested nearly every day downtown Fort Wayne, and she says, once she felt comfortable with peace on the streets her daughter was protesting by her side.
"We say who are you, and she’ll tell us,” Jackson says to her daughter La’Bella. “I am intelligent, l am important, and I am black.”
Jackson and her daughter repeat this almost every day to each other, she said.
“I love the fact that my daughter loves the skin that she’s in, I love that about her, she loves everything black,” Jackson said. “We have to stop being portrayed as the enemy, and that’s the world I’m striving for her to be in.”
She says, her daughter is one of the main reasons she protesting. She wants her to live in a better world.
“The energy in there, to where you could feel love and anger all at the same time,” Jackson reflects on what it was like among the protests. “It was terrifying, but in a sense for me personally, for one split second there was no arguing amongst people and we were all helping each other through a tough situation.”
Jackson says it felt like for one moment surrounded by the chanting, the marching and the power of the people, she felt free.
“The roots of America are embedded in hatred, and until we dig up those roots and start planting new ones and planting new seeds, we’re going to stay the same," Jackson said.
Jackson says she’s not going to stop fighting and they are planning on adapting to new forms of protesting in the future.
“The power is in the fist, right here, we got the power, it’s just how we use it,” She holds her fist high and says, “So right now, as of today, I'm proud to be a gay black woman.”
Over the course of the protests, Jackson says she’s learned what it takes for a community to come together. She says, she will continue teaching her daughter what it takes to fight for change.