Friday, August 15, 2014

Ferguson Comes to NYC


It's tragic an unarmed 18-year-old had to be killed before people became enraged about cops unnecessary use of force when it comes to POC--especially black men.

I've always been terrified of cops. When I see them in a train station with guns strapped to the hips or worse, rifles across their chests, I don't feel safe. I'm looking to get as far away from them as possible. I don't know how it is for other races but, we, black people, are taught how to get pulled over without being arrested, assaulted or killed. That's ridiculous. It reminds me of little black girls in the 50s being taught how to get raped without getting killed.

I was sued by a cop for mental anguish. A much older police officer sued a 21-year-old for mental anguish. Yes, the world is that messed up. He was rushing to an emergency with his sirens off. I didn't see him coming. He hit me as I was driving through an intersection. However, the police report said I was at fault for not yielding, which gave him grounds to sue me almost 2 years later. I was 19 at the time of the accident.

The report mentioned a witness saying I'd been speeding. Actually, I'd been driving slower than the speed limit. A week before the trial, I get a call from my lawyer. A different witness was willing to testify that I had ran a red light. My. stomach. dropped. I could understand the speeding. To an outsider, it may have looked like I was driving fast. But, the light had been green, like really green. It didn't turn yellow or red as I crossed the intersection. I'm reluctant to say this was a race issue. Still, my fear of cops shot up because of that incident.

When I first heard about Michael Brown, I had assumed the cop who shot him would get away with it. Cops have been using deadly force when dealing with black men for years. I still don't understand how the cops were acquitted of the Sean Bell shooting. Why would I expect the Brown shooing to be any different? As I followed the story, I realized this wasn't something that would just get swept under the rug. That's tragic. This is not a new issue.

What's remarkable is how social media has been key to this whole thing. I don't watch the news because I know they lie. From what I've read, the news had been painting Brown as this thug who deserved to die, which inspired #IfTheyGunnedMeDown. Even if he was a thug, on that day, he was unarmed. The police knew he was unarmed. They had no reason to shoot him.

I've been keeping up with what's going on in Ferguson through Twitter and the USA Today app.

Looking through Twitter, I learned about Day of Rage. Protesters against police brutality gathered in Union Square, Times Square NYC and across the country.
"Early Thursday morning, members of the online hacktavist group Anonymous posted a video on YouTube calling for anyone angry about the brutal police crackdown in Ferguson, Mo., to take to the streets of their own hometowns in they have dubbed a ‟#DayOfRage”." (The Daily Dot)

I didn't find out about this until 8:30pm. It started at 7pm. If I'd known about it sooner, I would've been there right when it started. I went to Union Square. By then, most people had moved to Times Square. Still, the protest was powerful.   






According to #NMOS14, these protests took place across the country with thousands of people showing up at each location. For NY, some protesters started at Union Square and walked to Times Square. That's from 14th St. to 42nd St. Hardcore. A few protesters in Times Square were arrested. 

I'm amazed at how organized this protest was. We got some productive arguments. People might've disagreed with the speaker, but they were never disrespectful. You could feel the passion from each person. People took turns with the mic and spoke their heart. One women got in front weeping saying, I can't change my skin color. Another person talked about an issue close to my heart --how amazing it is being around artists who look like her and share her passion. I'll experience that one day. People weren't saying all cops were bad. They want cops to stop treating them like criminals just because of their skin color. It was an inspiring night. I'm glad I was a part of it. 
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