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The well-known actor and singer sees echoes of the past in the current movement.

“I’m 71 and I know what it means to protest, to rally together to try and make change. I never thought I would see this again in my lifetime,” said Weaver. 

“I remember walking behind Dr. King in Atlanta Georgia,” Weaver said. “It feels very similar. We marched in a peaceful way. As a teenager, I handed out fliers to get people registered to vote. -- This feels very similar, the signs, the chanting. And this is all we know. This is how we have to do it. 

Despite a successful career, working in film and television, as well as Trinity Rep in Providence, Weaver said she hasn’t been shielded from the racial injustice she finds herself protesting once again. 

“I have suffered the pain of it all. The systemic racism. In every aspect of my life. And I’m an artist, and I’ve still felt it even there. Even though, on the other hand, the arts helped me find my voice and to express myself, through the arts instead of getting out and hurting somebody, which there were times when I felt like it, it hurt so deeply. But we have to accomplish this through a peaceful demonstration.”

Weaver says she wants police training reformed, to encourage greater empathy for the communities they serve. Many demonstrators at the Friday protest said they think this moment is different from the past. Weaver agrees, but isn’t sure when the changes she’s hoping for will materialize.

“I feel that we’re on the precipice like we were back in the 60s and 70s,” Weaver said. “So I don’t know. 

“Things do have to change. And in my lifetime to see this twice, at this level, it’s pretty scary. I’m an older woman now, I was doing this when I was 14, 15. A lot of good has come out of that, the civil rights movement, and how easily some people forget.”