Texas man holds sign inviting his community to ask him anything about racism

(CNN) -- Nifa Kaniga has been standing on a street corner for three days with a sign that simply reads: "Ask Me Anything."

Kaniga, who is black, said the sign serves as an invitation for his community in Dripping Springs, Texas, to talk to him about race and racism candidly.

After the death of George Floyd sparked massive protests across the nation, Kaniga decided that he wanted to do something that would drive a different kind of spark locally. He wanted to start a movement of conversation and helping people understand what the meaning behind the movement.

“Many people have asked me, ‘What’s up with all lives matter versus black lives matter’,” the 20-year-old told CNN affiliate KEYE. “Nobody said only black lives matter or black lives matter more than white lives. We’re saying when black lives are taken unjustly and nothing is being done about it, it sends the sentiment that black lives don’t matter.”

So, for the past few days, the University of Texas, Dallas, student has made himself available from around noon to around sunset to talk to neighbors or passersby about race.

"It's uncomfortable talking about race. It's uncomfortable having to put yourself out here, but I mean that's why I put on this sign make yourself uncomfortable," Kaniga said. "Because it is uncomfortable to talk about racial issues and political issues."

Kaniga said that he is not expecting everyone to agree with him, but said he knows it's important to have the conversation because it's "easy to get mad."

"Everybody has their opinion for a reason, and I think (it's important) having empathy and just hearing their point of view," he said.

If more people are willing to listen to ideas that are different than theirs, and use their voices by voting, Kaniga told KEYE he believes change can happen and lasting policies can be put in place to protect the lives of people of color.

"We have to be uncomfortable if we want change," Kaniga said.

He said he has been surprised by how many people have stopped to ask questions. Several people in his community have joined him on his corner as well.

“It’s 2020, we’re supposed to be more open minded about things,” Dripping Springs resident Tabitha Cantrell told KEYE. “We’re raising a new generation. I want my kids to want to love everybody, I don’t see any reason not to.”

Recommended Videos