Former NAACP member reflects on Fayetteville protests, says change requires 'long-term battle'

As nationwide unrest because of the death of George Floyd continues, recent protests in the Fayetteville area have one woman recollecting her time with the NAACP.

For Yolanda Massey, the Sandhills area has been home for a good portion of her life. In recent days, she's been a part of two protests: the first one on Saturday in downtown Fayetteville and the other along Murchison Road on Monday.

The Dunn local, along with others, has noticed a stark difference in these recent protests compared to years past.

"We have a different generation, and this generation is showing their anger," Massey said.

Massey is a former NAACP member. She joined the civil rights organization at 16 in 1991, fighting for better education, voting disparities, and the removal of a Confederate flag in South Carolina.

Massey told ABC11 that she also became a region secretary for the organization.

"I remember marching for the Confederate flag in South Carolina. And we marched down a street that was on both sides covered in Ku Klux Klan members," Massey said.

A clear juxtaposition to the Market House in the heart of downtown Fayetteville, a historical building known to be a place where slaves were sometimes sold.

"They have to see what symbolizes the selling of their ancestors. No one wants that constant reminder, especially in today's climate," Massey added.

After Massey and the NAACP started the initial movement to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House grounds, it took nearly 20 years for her to see that mission come to fruition.

She told ABC11 that the younger generation needs to realize it will be a long-term battle that requires plenty of open dialogue.

"Younger adults that have come behind us, I think they are our road map to getting to where we want to go. It's just about talking to them and channeling the energy in the right direction," Massey said.

Massey said she hopes this will lead to a systematic change that will give her peace of mind, knowing her son is out in the world.

"I don't want another hashtag, and I definitely don't want it to be my child, but I don't want us to have another hashtag," Massey said.
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