Porsha Williams is reflecting on the first time she faced racism when she was just a child.
The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star joined Andy Cohen and fellow guest W. Kamau Bell on Monday’s “Watch What Happens Live”, and she opened up about facing off against violent bigots in Georgia while protesting alongside her grandfather.
“I was about 6 years old when I went to my first march,” Williams said, explaining that she attended the event with her grandfather, famed civil rights leader and dedicated activist Hosea Williams. “I was excited to go. You know, as a little kid, you finally get to go to work with your granddad… and we get out there and I’m excited.”
However, she said it wasn’t long into the march before she was “smacked in the face with racism” in a very real way.
“We came across Ku Klux Klan who decided they were going to protest our protest. They threw rocks at us, and I actually got hit with one. They chased us all the way back to our buses,” Williams recalled. “They called us the N-word and any other word you could imagine the KKK would be calling us.”
While the event could have been a scarring one, Williams said she can now look back at “what I was a part of” and it makes her “feel empowered.”
“I didn’t understand it [at the time]. So of course after that there was a conversation with my dad when I got home, to let me know that, ‘Some people do hate you, even though you may be trying to do a good thing,'” she said. “But what I got out of that is to keep going regardless. I never saw my grandfather stop. I never saw my dad stop, and the movement is still continuing on.”
Williams explained how there is a passion for activism burning in her as well, and she will not stop fighting for change.
“I know that people are protesting now, and I know that a lot of time when the media stops covering it, it kind of dies down and ends, but it’s not going to stop this time,” Williams added, referring to the massive Black Lives Matterprotests that have been going on for nearly two weeks in hundreds of cities across the nation and in other countries across the globe.
The latest marches, protests and demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism were sparked, in part, by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. Williams has been active at several of these protests, and has documented the marches — many of which have been marred by high-profile instances of police brutality.
The reality star shared dramatic video from an Atlanta protest on June 1, where she and her partner, Dennis McKinley, were peacefully demonstrating when the crowd was dispersed with tear gas. However, the pain of the moment was not enough to deter her from the cause.
Speaking with ET’s Nischelle Turner the next day, Williams said, “Yes, I took some gas and to my eyes and I had to have milk and water poured in my face. Listen, I’m alright, I’m all right… everyone else who’s out there fighting the good fight, they will also be alright, but it has to be known, it has to be demanded, that we are able to peacefully protest. It is the voice of the people — this is how they are being heard.”
“The message that we have is not going to die, it’s not. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Breonna Taylor will not have died in vain, and the other people who have been victims of police brutality will not have died in vain,” Williams said.
“I am fighting for humanity, my human brothers and sisters, and when you are out there in the field you actually see that our allies of every different races, backgrounds, cultures, they feel the same way I do and they all are out there with the exact same passion and say George Floyd was our brother,” she recounted. “If you don’t see yourself in what is happening in America, then you are a part of the problem.”
See the video below to hear more from Williams about her first-hand experience protesting against racism and fighting for civil rights amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations.