It was awkward.
I didn’t know how to explain my distaste at the sign my friend asked me to make, but after hearing that I didn’t have to hold it, I adjusted myself on the semi-soft metro train seat and started writing.
We Want Trump’s Head.
Though that sentiment isn’t mine, my mind flashed back to the kids who were allowed to die in the detention centers in our country, the gross misinformation spread by POTUS leading up to and during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and I thought about everything he said about other countries and the way he’s treated people who have no choice but to leave their own. I never held up that sign, but I felt the anger within it.
I felt the anger from a lot of the protesters too; water bottles were thrown, slurs were hurled at the officers, and few people even hit the riot shields, but that was the few and in between.
I saw people talking to the officers through riot shields. Pleading with them to put down their shields and armor and join us in the fight against injustice. Some of the men and women directly in front of the officers shared their personal experiences of racial inequality to the blank, sad, and at times hostile faces of the officers. As I saw the geared up officers in the back passing wooden sticks to each other, I felt depressed and angry, but the raw and genuine expression of pain that was being spoken to the wall of armor screamed out something to me, so I wrote it down on my sign
We are your countrymen Understand our pain
One of the sad faces that were behind the riot shields felt it. His eyes were red and his face looked like someone in a confession booth. After I went further down the line to make my plea with other parts of the brigade, I saw a crack in the wall. That officer who had heard our words and felt the sadness from it was no longer there. a protester next to me said that he and 1 or 2 other people were switched out. There was remorse.
Sadly, there was none in their advance. Only 30 minutes after the guard left they started pushing forward. meeting our bodies with their shields. Some people were pushed between the shields and a vandalized car. Others fell on the ground. After 3 instances of their advance, we were 10 feet away from where we were before. A car zoomed away from behind the lines of the armored people and they began to recede. They went right back to where they were.
If the car was what you wanted to move, why didn’t you ask us? It was clear that they could communicate; they told us that our protest was illegal and must be disbanded through a megaphone that the whole crowd could hear. Where was the communication? It is possible they had some other intent when they pushed us back, but I guess I’ll never know.
I do know that it was more peaceful without them. There was another protest a week later at the White House, which now had metal barred fences all around it. There were no officers except for one blocking off the street at the end of the newly painted words Black Lives Matter.
Our cries were not silent in the heavy rain. We chanted Black Lives Matter, No Justice No Peace, along with Say Her Name and Say His Name followed by the names of the recent and known people who were wrongfully killed at the hands of our police:
At one point some of the protesters chanted “Trump Has a Small penis”, but this was cut off by the cry of a young black woman who reminded the crowd of a truth.
That’s not what we are here for.
The loudest of the chants were Black Lives Matter. At that place, in that moment, I said those words without the feelings that usually accompany them; Sadness, Anger, Fear, Rage, and Depression weren’t with me as I bellowed. These feelings with these words were so much more.
Joy and Hope
You could see some of the smiles and dancing. You could hear the drum through the pouring rain and feel the unity of thought and mind. It was beautiful and the rain made it picturesque. This wasn’t a protest at the white house met by riot shields and hostility. This was people singing about the inequalities of Black Men and Women on Black Lives Matter Plaza.
Before leaving I wanted to take a picture because I want to show my future family that their family was a part of the change. I hope that my descendants never have to say those words with anger, fear, or hopelessness, but rather to do it from a place of joy, hope, and reverence. And just in case it ever needs to be said again
BLACK LIVES MATTER
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