Amid the senseless murder of Georfe Floyd, whose name you have certaintly hearx throughout the past week, the world has erupted. The United States is currently split betweent those who are actively anti-racist, and those who allow their privledge to sheild them from seeing the truth that lies within the foundation of the United States, that being the fact that Black Lives do not matter within our judicial system.
As an activist and a change-maker, I have made it my duty to be out on the front lines of every protest happening in the District of Columbia. For the majority of protestors, this is the time in which we can practice our first ammendment rights to petition the government and peacefully assemble, while for others, it is simplyt just a photo-op. The upside to this is even with those who are protesting in ignorace, they are adding to the incredibly large numbers of participants on the streets everyday.
Tha largest protest in the District was recorded at over 5,000 people on the night of Wednesday, June 3. Protesters have taken over the city as they assemble in Lafeyette Sq., in front of the White House, at The Capitol building, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, Georgetown, Friendship Heights, and many other areas.
Throughout the week there have been many shifts in protesting demonstratinos as peaceful protesters have been sprayed with tear gas, mace, and shot with rubber bullets in attempts by the police, the United States Military, the National Guard, and the DEA to silence and remove protestors from certain areas.
I have been out on the front lines for 5 days, now, and I plan to continue my active duties this coming weekend and into next week, as the movement demands justice and mos timportantly, consistency.
I have witnessed many tear gassings, flash bangs, rubber bullets, and macings, and I must explain to you all, that these tactics are inhumane. Donald Trump has called in th emilitary to control peaceful protestsr and scare us with assualt rifles and large military tanks as they have been planbted throughout the city. These tanks cover entire streets and block off entrances to lafeyette square, and other streets that would allow protesters to assemble properly.
The biggest concern for me is the fact that us protesters are unarmed. It would be ridiculous to think that we would march with weapons as we demand our police department to be stripped of their own weapons and dangerous policing tactics.
The media and news outlets have done a great job of showing the non-peaceful parts of these protests and making our demands for justice seem extreme and dangerous.
Allow me to explain the difference between the peaceful protests and the riots.
Riots are riots, and peaceful protests are peaceful protests. is it that simple
Any party who has destroyed property, stolen, and hurt local business is NOT apart of the demand for justice. Those individuals are using this time to act on their own selfish agendas.
If you or a loved on is thinking of protesting, please understand that these protest are non violent. I have witnessed innocent protesters be tear gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, and rushed to the hospital due to one instigating participant provoke an officer. You must be aware of your surrondings at all times.
One of the most touching things I’ve seen are members of the National Lawyers Guild handing out flyers with a number on it to call if you are arrested and need to be aided or represented by an attorney. Attorneys are working pro-bono to help protesters get out of jail.
These protests are some of the most organized I have ever seen. The community has truly SHOWED OUT! The past few evenings I have seen medical tents set up, TONS of participants handing out free water, sunscreen, snacks, masks, gloves, goggles, and plates/containers of food. THE PEOPLE ARE UNITED! This is all that any Black American could ask for during this time where we need our allies and community members to join us in our fight to end police brutality on Black citizens.
I have been protected by white allies who put thier bodies in front of my own when confronted with police and military officers pointing assualt rifles and tear gas shooters at me. My heart filled with hope as they formed lines between themselves and their Black brothers and sisters to keep us from being shot at. The Nation is divided, and I am grateful to be on the right side of history.
If you or a loved on is thinking of going out to protest, please be aware fo your surroundings, pack water and snacks (even though there is more than enough being passed out on the streets). Please make sure you have eachothers location in case you become separated. And don’t forget to tag #BlackLivesMatter to your posts or updates on the movement.