People working to build allyship in Black communities face resistance: Part 7

A Black family in a majority white and Republican Pennsylvania town has spent years helping neighbors understand allyship. In Chicago, Black and Asian American community leaders support each other.
8:13 | 06/19/21

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Transcript for People working to build allyship in Black communities face resistance: Part 7
This year we saw folks of all races from big cities to small towns marching in these streets. But one community in Pennsylvania proves real allyship is more than an Instagram post or a clever sign. Here's ABC news anchor linsey Davis. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is rooted in American history. It was rumored to be a stop on the underground railroad and burned down in 1864 by the confederacy. It is smalltown America, overwhelmingly Republican and mostly white, a place where Linda and Marvin worthy and their 11-year-old daughter tayla call home. How is it raising your daughter here? She's usually the only black student in her class. We're the only black family at events. Was there ever a time that you felt unwelcome in chambersburg because of your race? I received a phone call once asking me if I was Marvin worthy, and that I understand my wife decided to enroll in your service but I found out that you were a And we want to withaw. I said, excuse me? He said, which part of Don't you understand? The worthys turned their personal struggle into action, forming a group called racial reconciliation. Marvin and I decided we would start to have some conversations about how we can reconcile around the issue of race in our own community. For the next few years, they hosted uncomfortable conversations mostly with their white neighbors, about what it really means to be an ally. It's not enough to be anti-racist. You have to do more than that. You have to combat it, confront it, interrupt it. And what do you do in a room full of white people, for example, and a language is happening that's offensive to people of color? You stand in the gap for people who are absent. That's the real work. Hands up! And then George Floyd was killed. Big cities erupted into protests, and to the surprise of some, so did chambersburg. The hands holding the signs of protest here were overwhelmingly white, chanting a phrase that was once unthinkable. Black lives matter! Black lives matter! Those uncomfortable conversations paid off when hundreds showed up for a demonstration organized by the worthys last juneteenth. We're standing strong, steadfast. We've never seen that before in our community. There was a group of black women in a car that stopped who had tears rolling down their face and said, you can't even imagine what this means to me. From his office window, Matt Fogal, Franklin county's Republican district attorney, watched and listened to the protests for weeks. Give me a sense of your own personal reaction to the death of George Floyd. Heartbreak. I became very frustrated, angry at times, and just could not be quiet. The veteran felt it was his patriotic duty to do something. Last June, he released a public statement that sent shock waves throughout the conservative community that had elected him. Black lives matter. Period. Full stop. I was wrong and part of the problem. It is not enough to avoid being a racist. It is about actual, meaningful change. Was there any part of you that was anxious? No. No one is going to make me say what they want me to say. No one's going to make me sell my soul. Allyship has taken many forms this year. Instagram users blacking out their profiles on social media to businesses declaring support for black lives, but for the worthys, real allyship means putting in the work. The other group doesn't get to define themselves as an ally. That is my role to inform them that they're an ally. Because it's going to be based on your actions. So how necessary is that white allyship? There are some people who will never hear me, but a white ally who sends the same message can be heard. In Matt Fogal, they say they found an ally. To white viewers who are listening today who still say all lives matter, how would you explain to them black lives matter? So, you know, when someone automatically retorts, all lives matter, it's just a way to avoid the conversation. So I guess my answer is, no, you don't get to avoid that. Allyship has a long history in this country, from the abolitionists to the civil rights movement. We say all power to the people. In 1969, Fred Hampton, the Chicago black panther party leader, built the rainbow coalition. We don't have any people whose lives we believe that should be thrown away. His dream, uniting different races and ethnicities, is still alive in the city today. We can send a signal to the rest of the nation that where ethnic minorities unite, the flourishing of all humanity in America is but moments away. Last year, pastor Charlie dates was approached by his longtime friend pastor Raymond Chang, who felt called to bring their communities together. Black people in this country are racially targeted, harassed, reported, discriminated against, and even killed. Chang put together a March, thousands strong. No justice! No peace. From a historically Chinese church to a historically black It felt like we were declaring that we were putting an end to a stronghold that had kept our communities at odds with each other. It represented the fact that with god, anything really is possible. With the rise in attacks against asian-americans, the two men have joined forces to draw attention to their communities' shared struggles. When we divide, the racists win. We're not going to do that. They say true collaboration must be rooted in love and humility. Humility will make you get up and lay your privilege aside for the benefit of someone else. People have to count the cost and see if the work that they're doing requires anything of them beyond throwing something up into the twitter-sphere or onto Instagram. Courage can come with a cost. District attorney Fogal was censured by the local Republican party, so he left and became an independent. I didn't anticipate the resistance. I underestimated that. Do you have any regrets? Absolutely not. Over the last year Fogal has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the worthys, making them members of an advisory board on race and equity that meets regularly. Racial reconciliation has given me the space to be able to talk about my story. For me, that is an example of the possibilities that exist in this community. Those possibilities have prompted Marvin to run for mayor. Both he and his wife are trying to reimagine chambersburg, ramping up their work, their fight for their daughter. You said your grace? This is tayla's home, and so I get up every day, putting one foot forward. I don't want her growing up experiencing the kind of racism, exclusion that I felt as a child. And that's why you do the work and you're asking others to do the work. To do the work. Let's create a different narrative. We can make America be the way that we -- it needs to be for all of us, all of us. A better America, something we all want.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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