Martese Johnson Speaks About Racism at Charlottesville TEDx Talk

Posted: Updated: Nov 27, 2015 05:50 PM
Martese Johnson speaking at TEDx Charlottesville Martese Johnson speaking at TEDx Charlottesville
Martese Johnson, featured TEDx speaker Martese Johnson, featured TEDx speaker

Some of Charlottesville's movers and shakers came out Friday to inspire the community at the annual TEDx talks at the Paramount Theater. For 2015, speakers focused their talks around the theme "What If..."

One of the featured speakers was University of Virginia student Martese Johnson, who talked about the racism he experienced in 2014. Friday, Johnson asked what if everyone in the audience stood with him against racism.

Johnson discussed how he was thrown to the ground and bloodied by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (Virginia ABC) agents in March 2014. He says it was because of his skin color.

The TEDx goal this year is to inspire the community to see how the world would look different if we stopped judging others. For Johnson, that means not judging based on race.

“While we're all sitting comfortably in this auditorium today, some African-American male is either being abused, mistreated, or killed by a cop somewhere around the country. We have to wake up and realize this is a prevalent issue,” Johnson stated.

Johnson says while he knows many people realize racism is an issue, they don't know how to go about stopping it. His goal is to help inspire millennials to cause that change.

He plans to continue trying to rally others around this cause. He'll be traveling to different colleges and universities, talking with students about how they can step up to the challenge.

In the meantime, Johnson’s civil lawsuit against the Virginia ABC and its officers involved in the case is still pending.

  • Sign Up for Email Alerts

    Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.