The city of Sumner is 87 percent white, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.
But to Immaculate Ferreria-Allah, lives of minorities don’t matter any less there than in the cities where the Black Lives Matter movement took hold.
So she brought the movement to the East Pierce County suburb of about 10,000 people with a Black Lives Matter “peace gathering” event Sunday at Loyalty Park, where people spoke about race relations and their experiences in their community.
“I’ve been labeled as a troublemaker in this community for saying there’s problems in this community that people say don’t exist, like racism,” said Ferreria-Allah, a lifelong Sumner resident.
Among the approximately two dozen attendees was Sumner Police Chief Brad Moericke, who Ferreria-Allah invited after meeting with him recently.
Moericke said the principles of Black Lives Matter apply to every community.
“I like Immaculate’s idea. Big or small, you start at home and grow from there,” Moericke said. “I think it’s important to have these conversations, especially when it’s not in response to an event.”
Ferreria-Allah’s husband, Natural Allah, was among the speakers at the event. He grew up in New York and moved to Sumner when the two married in 2003.
Allah said Loyalty Park once hosted Ku Klux Klan meetings, which is was why it was picked for the first Black Lives Matter event in Sumner.
“The idea was to sterilize this area with a rejuvenation and a positive meeting,” Allah said.
Allah said comparing Black Lives Matter to the KKK is unfair because the associated violence is coming from bad individuals loosely affiliated to the group. He said it would be akin to blaming Christianity for the actions of Jeffrey Dahmer, the born-again Christian who cannibalized his murder victims.