A veterans group in Washington has awarded a college grant to a Black Lives Matter activist who saved an American flag from burning, Fox News is reporting.
The Spokane, Wash., chapter of the Military Officers Association of America awarded Lysa Cole a grant of more than $2,600. Video recently surfaced that showed Cole stopping other protesters was burning the flag during a June 7 rally.
“These are the type of leaders that we want in the future. One’s that will step forward and look out for everyone,” David Melges, president of Spokane’s MOAA Chapter, told KHQ-TV. “She stood up for everybody that’s ever fought for that flag.”
The video shows several men light an American flag on fire and then throw it in the street. Cole steps in as other stood around watching it burn. She told the station she remembered a chant from earlier in the rally. “Silence is violence.”
After she put out the flames, the men who set it a light walked back into the crowd. Spokane Police sergeant Terry Preuninger told Fox 28 that Cole showed poise and grace.
“[She] basically reduced what could’ve turned into a much bigger problem had other people chosen to intervene,” Preuninger said. “Maybe with the same motivations as her, but not done it in the capacity that she did it.”
Cole was attending the Black Lives Matter protest on June 7 in Spokane, Wash., when the incident took place. She said after the official end of the protest at 5 p.m. things began to change.
“People that hadn’t been there from the very beginning started to come in, and you could see that there was just a change getting ready to happen,” Cole said.
She said she didn’t know the men who set the flag on fire, but she hopes their actions won’t give all protesters a bad name.
“If you can differentiate between not all cops are bad and not all white people are racist, why can’t you differentiate between all protesters are not rioters and looters,” Cole said.
She knows people may have preconceived notions of Black Lives Matter, but she hopes people will see that they’re not in opposition to America.
“Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t saying ‘Oh, I hate America’ and saying ‘Oh, I stand for the flag, I support our troops’ is not saying, ‘Oh, I hate all Black people,'” Cole said. “When you’re saying ‘Black Lives Matter,’ it’s also being patriotic because America was made to be an equal opportunity place for everybody.”
She plans to pursue degrees in psychology and law. She told the TV station that she hopes to one day help people who have been victimized. But until then, she hopes people will listen to the protesters today.
“I don’t want my younger sisters or my future kids to grow up in a world where they have to protest these kinds of things as well as other injustices,” Cole said. “Listen to our generation and give spaces for us to speak.”
[H/T Fox News]