Ernest Skelton, an appliance technician, was answering a routine call to Caroline Brock’s home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when they shared a conversation about racial inequality that would resonate across the U.S. and around the world.
During his visit, Brock ventured to ask Skelton how he was doing. At first, he thought she was talking about the coronavirus, but she specified that she was curious about his experience as a Black man in the U.S.
She posted about their interaction on Facebook, hoping it would inspire others to have their own conversations about race. Her post went viral, receiving over 180,000 shares.
Skelton’s story shocked Brock, who said in her post, “I can begin healing our country by talking frankly with African Americans in my world---by LISTENING to their lived experience and speaking up.”
Skelton and Brock have received thousands of messages from all over the world. They told “Nightline” people from Thailand, Singapore, Canada, Greece, Netherlands and New Zealand have reached out.
The comments have been “very supportive and overwhelmed with love, showing love and concern. And it's just ongoing,” Skelton said. “Like Caroline said, we developed a friendship behind the camera; we go to dinner with our spouses.”
Brock said she believes their story has empowered people who have been feeling helpless in the face of the coronavirus.
“I think what it did was highlight what we can individually do in our own neighborhoods, in our own towns, which is just open up and start to have some deeper conversations with people,” she said. “I think that I think we become stronger and more robust and less fragile as a nation when we can start to really broach some uncomfortable topics together.”
Brock said she believes it’s a chance for America to “heal from the heart.”
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