Enough is Enough, a local Black activist group, organized a “family reunion” for the Bloomington Black community on Friday as part of a small series of events last week. There was a candlelight vigil two days earlier for people killed by police brutality or acts of racism and a postponed event supporting Black LGBTQ people for Pride Month.
Friday’s event, which ran from 6 to 9 p.m., was a celebratory contrast to recent protests, and featured performances, food, art, a silent auction of a painting of Colin Kaepernick and Bloomington businesses. The local artists and business owners present were predominantly Black.
A fashion, education and charity project called the Love Everyone Brand, also known as the LEO Brand was there as well as shirt company M.A.D.C.O.R.E. and clothing and carpet brand Kito Wares
Artists included painter Brooklynn Samonee, who was also selling T-shirts made by her sister and visual artist and rapper Caleb Poer. Performers included Abdul Wasi, Group Fire, FourEva Punchy, Almighty FO and Hungry Dogs.
Baker Jelitza Palomino and three food trucks including Pili’s Party Taco, Döner Kebab and JD’s Taste of Chicago fed the crowd.
Lorrell Williams, founder of the LEO Brand and an IU media production graduate, said that one of the goals of his business was to help people from poor neighborhoods access the resources they need to think bigger. His brand is still preparing for its official launch July 23, but that he had already been working on getting local kids on college tours and had printed some T-shirts and masks with his logo on them, which he was selling at the event.
“If you’re not eating well and you’re not sleeping well, how can you think the next day?” he said. “How do you know what to reach for when you don’t know what’s out there?”
He said he had written a business plan a year ago but was spurred into action by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has added extra layers of difficulty to life for members of his community.
Paris Miller, a recent IU psychology graduate, said that she helped organize the event because she wanted to do something good for the Bloomington community and to remind people that Black lives matter everyday, not just when protests are happening. She added that she had also helped lead some of the smaller anti-police brutality, pro-Black lives protests on the square in early June.
“This is our way of keeping the momentum going,” she said.
“We want to make sure the momentum continues and doesn’t end with the protests,” said Patrick Ford, another organizer and an IU marketing and public relations alumnus. “While this moment is awesome, we need to make sure it’s not just a moment. We need a movement.”
He said Enough is Enough, which formed after the death of George Floyd in May, hopes to continue putting on events weekly or at least biweekly, and he loves to hear from students who want to get involved. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If you’re not willing to have the tough conversations that we know need to be had, are you really standing for Black lives?” he added. “Silence is violence, and you need to be sure you’re voicing your support not just in front of Black people, but also when we’re not around.”