Sunday, December 21, 2014

Voices from the March Against Violence in Solidarity with Ferguson and Mexico

December 1st's March Against Police Violence in Solidarity with Ferguson and Mexico in Providence included a 20 minute march from Burnside Park, past the Providence Place Mall and to the steps of the Rhode Island State House. I recorded my impressions of the event here, but now I want to present the voices of those who participated. It's important to not only note these protests in the media but to also listen to what the protesters are saying.
Those interested in seeing video from the march itself can scroll to the last video. The majority of the videos are from the speakout, where participants could voice their feelings and concerns. Filming in a low light environment can be tough, some of the clips are more audio than video, but many are worth a listen.
"My gender, my skin color, my creed, my status in society shouldn't dictate my life expectancy on the streets... everyone deserves justice!"

"There's another piece of legislation at the State House for ten years now. The comprehensive Racial Profiling Act. Ten years we've been trying to get it passed..."

"He says, 'What, are you telling me how to do my job?' [I said,] ''No officer, I'm just telling you the law.' He didn't like that very much. He pulled me out of the car, searched my vehicle, searched everybody I was with, and found some marijuana. Wrote me a ticket."

"Right here, in Rhode Island, we'd like to send a message to the Mexican President, to do justice..."

"Mexico is living a very similar situation... a terrible targeting of students. We need to build bridges. Pain can unite us..."

"When Officer Wilson said that Mike Brown looked like a demon it was almost to say that my black skin is a sin, and that hurts..."

"When we decided to form a union, the small group of us that did that, everybody who got fired by our bosses was a person of color. I kept my job. They fired the single mothers..."

"What solidarity means is that there are places where you can walk with us, and then there are places that we have to o through that we go alone."

"My son is not Michael Brown. White people's sons will never be Michael Brown..."

"If you work with kids who don't understand, please have a friggin' conversation..."

"Let's do something that they're doing in Mexico right now which is to count to 43, to remember the 43 students that went missing..."

"The role of the white activist who understands racism... is to not come to things like this and force your opinion when there are black voices to be heard..."

"This is an example of hope in this city, that we're coming together for positivity, and I'm so blessed by that..."

"I don't think the conversation stops here... so I want to invite everybody o my place..."

"I do fit the demographic. I'm a young black male, but I don't want to live how my grandmother lived in a time of oppression, where she couldn't go to a bubbler to drink water..."

"I think it's really important to remember that there's intersectionality between minority groups, and that queer people of color are even more targeted particularly trans women of color, who are actually the most murdered group in the country..."

"I'm actually just enjoying this bullet that seems to be sitting in front of my forehead just waiting any day now to basically penetrate my cranium and spray out my gray matter all over the pavement..."

"I grew up mixed race in this country. My dad is black and my mom is white, and growing up I did not see race, I didn't tell a difference between them, and living in this country is what made me see the difference..."

 "In contrast to what was just said, I was raised by a racist father..."

"Try to find some kind of solidarity network to belong to. It doesn't matter what it's called, it doesn't matter what group it is, but find some kind of group to belong to where you're going to have each other's back and you're going to have the backs of people who are less fortunate than you are..."

"Since 2006 I've been very alarmed by the epidemic of violence that has plagued Mexico... We used to go and visit family there and those visits less frequent, less frequent, less frequent..."

"If you don't see that the country we live in has been built to serve people who look like me, who are white, straight, educated and from an economic class that has security, then you're blind!"

"I'm afraid of the indifference I see all around on social media, all around me at the workplace, all around me in the streets where people call me an idiot for marching in protests..."

"When our friend here said that these men and women of the law should be ashamed if they don't do anything, I think many of them squirmed..."

"Even really close friends of mine talking about how, 'Protesting this is horrible. It's stupid. This riot is horrible and stupid.' I look at all these people who are saying that and at some point in their history, they benifited from a protest and a riot."

Closing comments were followed by a peaceful waving goodbye to the assembled police officers and media.

Here's the march, twenty minutes of action, chanting and the best camera work I could muster under the circumstances. Enjoy!

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