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Jared Sampson: "Silence is Not an Option"

Jared Sampson opens up about that conversation on the boat and why he wanted to speak out.

By Jared Sampson
Barry Smith Regrets Ever Using This Word You shared a big part of your life in tonight’s episode—what was going through your mind right before you shared your truth?
Jared Sampson: A better question would be what was going on in my heart before I shared my perspective on being a black man first and foremost. As I mentioned in the clip, it was my heart that ultimately moved me to speak. But to answer the question about what was going through my mind, I would have to say countless personal experiences as well as thoughts and images of injustice and inequality that still to this day happen to people based on race and sexual orientation, among other things.

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As I listened to my friends talk about the weight of two words that could be used to persecute me based on my race and sexual orientation, I realized that I had an opportunity but most of all a responsibility to say something. While I do not give credence to such words, I realized that those words carry a lot of weight. A weight that I was carrying all of my life and a weight that too many others also carry. In that moment I realized that I was in a position to speak for those who may feel that they do not have a voice. What made the timing on the boat right to share this moment?
It was not about the timing on the boat that made it the right moment to share, it was the timing of what is going on in the world as a whole. There are still too many injustices in the world and I realized that if I am not a part of the solution, I am a part of the problem. That conversation on the boat that day was a culmination of time and space colliding. I believe that everything happens for a reason and although I was not a part of the circumstances that lead to the boat trip, I was in the right place at the right time to bring insightful content to a conversation that needed my voice. Were you surprised by the support you’ve received from your family and friends?
No, I was not surprised by the support I received from my family and friends. I was more surprised by the support I received from myself. I freed myself that day and got a lot off my chest. I knew that JUST ABOUT EVERYONE on that boat would be understanding and supportive, so I took that opportunity to share what I did because I needed strong and worthy people around me as I acknowledged my own worth and strength. What is a key takeaway you hope viewers walk away with after tonight’s episode?
The key takeaway that I hope viewers will walk away with after tonight's episode is that silence is not an option. We must have the tough conversations in order to progress as a human race.

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