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Why I Protest: Sarah Stinard-Kiel

"Black Lives Matter." Photo: Steve Yasko
"Black Lives Matter." Photo: Steve Yasko

Sarah Stinard-Kiel is one of thousands of people who have protested in Orlando after the death of George Floyd. Last week, she was arrested during a demonstration and held in the Orange County Jail.

90.7 WMFE spoke with Stinard-Kiel about why she protests. 

Read Stinard-Kiel's story.

"I've protested in various movements for the past decade or so, including an Occupy Wall Street in New York, and in various Black Lives Matter protests, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and from Ferguson.

I just moved back to Orlando about a year and a half ago. But I had lived in New Jersey and Philadelphia and participated in protests there.

No one is expecting short term, like a short-term protest to change anything because that's just shown to not have happened, right? With previous murders of black people at the hands of police.

No, we protest for a few days and then things largely get shoved aside. Other things happen news, other news cycles take over, or maybe like a few small concessions are made like body cameras or the ban of chokeholds in some police departments, but we've also seen that those things don't really haven't really made a difference and so I guess my short-term goal is actually about like long-term resistance, and that to keep this conversation going, and whether that means that people keep coming out on the streets, keep putting pressure and keep, like pushing these ideas that had seemed so impossible.

You know, three weeks ago, you know, we wouldn't have had a conversation at the beginning of May about defunding police or rethinking how police precincts how police teams could be run. Like that just wasn't a possibility.

And so I think the short-term goal is to, build momentum to keep it going with the long-term goal being serious structural change when it comes to how we think about police.

I mean, I think defunding the police and funding community care is exactly what I want to see and what a lot of people standing beside me want to see, which means that instead of putting a billion dollars or a billion and a half dollars into the police department, we use that money and we put it into schools. We put it into social work services, we put it into mental health services, we put it into food supports and better public transit.

I think that that is a really tangible thing that we can accomplish.

I think that there needs to be a continued conversation about defunding the police about funding alternatives to police, and that it has to come from the communities and from the black and brown people in those communities. So the people that are most affected, like, we can't just rely on Buddy Dyer, we can't rely on Patty Sheehan. We can't rely on the police commissioner.

And I think that those solutions have to come from the communities.

So what I'd like to see is more community response and more community engagement from those politicians and the change has to be driven from the community and has to be driven by black and brown people in the community.

And I think continuing to support the activists of color in our community is really important. And for me, I, you know, I've spoken out now because of what happened to me and what I've seen, but in general, I think it's important to defer to activists of color because they're the ones that are leading this movement."

Find more stories about how Central Floridians are speaking out - and share your story here.
If you'd like to listen to Stinard-Kiel's story, click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.