I protested, now what? | 8.19.2017

If we’re friends on Facebook or snapchat or twitter or Instagram then I’m sure you know where I stand with everything that is going on in our country right now. I’m sure you know that as a black woman who is soon to be married to a man who is part Jewish, I’m not too fond of the KKK and neo-nazis trying to resurface and “cleanse the country”. I’m also not too fond of the fact that the current President doesn’t seem to know how to stand up for us—black, brown and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, gays, trans and the rest of the LBGTQ community. He just never seems to show a sincere concern for our safety and feelings. 

When I heard what the KKK and neo-nazis did in Charlottesville I was saddened, scared, angry, frustrated and confused. When I heard that those same hateful people planned to come to my city, Boston, MA, I knew I had to get from behind my computer screen and do something. I knew I had to go protest against them….let them see my beautiful face full of glowing melanin and then see me holding hands with my white and Jewish fiancèe. I knew I had to go down there and support my fellow black, brown and people of color. 

Below are my thoughts and my experience ****this is not fake news!****

As soon as I stepped out of our uber and onto a side street in the prominent Beacon Hill neighborhood, I could feel the tension. Allegedly, the Boston police had a KKK member holed up in protective custody behind a gate. I didn’t see who they were protecting, so I can’t confirm what was told to us when we arrived. I looked around and saw people of all shades and colors; black, white, Spanish, Muslim…chanting unifying proclamations: “No trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!”. They also had questions for the police who were allegedly protecting a member of the KKK: “who are you here to serve? Who are you here to protect?”

Soon, myself, my fiancée and thousands of other people descended upon the Boston Common to accompany another large group of protestors. What some couldn’t yell out loud, they wrote on their signs: “Fuck Nazis!” “No Hate in Boston” “Purity is for Water, Silly!” and “white silence is violence”. The chanting continued and the crowds grew. “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looking like!” could be heard echoing off of the surrounding buildings throughout Beacon Hill and Downtown Crossing.

Sometimes we’d see the police escort an individual who came to show their support for Trump out of the park and then a crowd yelling “We don’t want you here!” would pursue. Most of the time the chants and crowds inside of the park were peaceful and comforting to see. I’d stop shouting and chanting every so often just to scan the crowd and see the love and support from so many different people of so many different ages and from so many different walks of life. “The people united, will NEVER be divided”

After meeting up with my fiancèe’s mom and spending a little more time in the park we started to make our way out of the park and unto the streets to head home. I’d say this is when it started to get a little disorganized. There were some people who did take their anger away from the KKK and neo-nazis and turned it onto the only other group that was there, the police.

I personally had to confront a woman who said she was punched in the face by a police officer, and in anger, started calling them pigs and getting in their faces waving her middle finger. I strongly yelled at her and said “If they punched you in the face, get the badge number and go make a complaint. You yelling and being ignorant negates everything that we’re doing here! The news will ignore all of the peace that just happened for more than 4 hours and focus on your actions.” A huge group of protestors and police saw me confront this woman and thanked me. Not only should we say something when hate groups spew their ignorance, but we have to be able to check ourselves as well.

I knew in that instant it was time to go. I wanted to walk away with the 3 hours of peace that I witnessed and not let anything ruin it for me.

I think that in order to make a change we need to keep protesting. We need to keep making our voices heard and our faces seen. We need to let the hate groups know that we aren’t going anywhere because this is our country too! Just as James Baldwin said: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed if it is not faced.”

We need to be able to get our points across civilly and respectfully because if we stoop down to their level with hate speech and let our anger overshadow the good we are trying to do, then nothing will be accomplished. Everyone, not only minority groups, need to speak up more frequently and just as loudly. If you hear your colleague make an insensitive racial joke, correct them. If you see someone post something insensitive about why so many people are angry in our country, leave a comment and help them understand.  We need to have more level-headed conversations between groups of people who aren’t closed minded. This fight can’t be won alone. I refuse to raise my future “mixed with-love-melanin-and-Jewish-genes” children in a world consumed in hate and bigotry.

I want to thank the thousands of people who came out to make it known that there is no place for hate not only in this country, but also in this world. I thanked a lot of you on the scene, but I want to thank the Boston Police Department for keeping it organized and safe.

My goal now, is to do more. Join a chapter of the NAACP here in Boston, attend town hall meetings, meet with the police, get some healthy and progressive dialogues going between those who feel they are not being heard and those who have the authority and power to change it all. At the end of the day, we have the power to make a change and make a difference, but we need to work together to make it happen.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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