I can't breathe

Last Saturday was one of the most amazing experiences of my life on earth to date. I decided I wanted to be a part of history and march along fellow supporters to end this domestic terroristic sub-culture that tosses out cases of black men getting killed with no penalty or punishment of the police officer. Even now there are details behind the shooting and killing of Mike Brown that the prosecutor suppressed that directly conflicts with the narrative that suggests Darren Wilson’s life was in danger at the time of the shooting.

Man in chains

The march began at Washington Square Park, I got there around 3pm because I got off at the wrong stop and missed my scheduled train into Penn Station from LI. I remembered being nervous I was going to miss the crowd, but when I finally got into the city and arrived at West 4rth street I felt relieved. I could see large pockets of people gathering and soon saw the protests signs and heard the megaphones and the chants against racism and support for Eric Garner and Mike Brown.

Once I was inside the park I saw different organizations and that were there for this day. Among the most vocals were members from LRP-COFL.org, Answer Coalition.org, National Liberty Alliance, 100 Blacks for Law Enforcement. I also bought a newspaper called Revolution,  which covered protests from NY to Mexico and all around the globe. I was only in the park for about ten minutes gathering newspapers and fliers when the crowd was moving toward the streets. It was there that I saw the awesome power of our civil liberties at work.

Protest

What was silence, turned into chants organically into the crowd that crescendo into overwhelming applause and cheers. “Hey hey, Ho ho, these racist cops have got to go!” “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” “Show me what democracy looks like, This is what democracy looks like!” “No justice, No peace!” “Eric Garner, Michael Brown,shut it down, shut it down!” I could see the faces of the onlookers and police by the barricades. Some were there just to see what the fuss was about, others showed support on their way to work or wherever they needed to be. Often they chanted with us and gave more power to the message that #Alllivesmatter even if the court system doesn’t see it that way.

The feeling was incommunicable in words. There was an inseparableness that I felt that I only experienced online until this point. I’ve seen past rally’s and protests and knew people of all economic and racial backgrounds were there. I even knew about the global support for Ferguson and Eric Garner, with the different hashtags #crimingwhilewhite, #blacklivesmatter, #Icantbreathe, but to witness first hand and be a part of the warm fellowship left me in state of awe.

I was surprised by this generation’s resilient and remonstrance spirit. All I have been told and thought is since first hearing about Michael Brown, is that this was gonna wash over America and end in a another church hymn with the packaging of we shall overcome during a pastor’s congregation meeting. This generation, to me now shows the spark of the young Malcom X’s, Martin Luther King’s, Cesar Chavez, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Stonewall Inn protests for Gay Rights. I was also humbled by the compassion of the buildings and businesses on the streets we marched on. Many of them held signs and banners that gave this movement life, “#BlackLivesMatter” and the diversity among the crowd couldn’t have been a better representation of what this country should stand for more often.

I remember feeling like since we’re all here for once cause, then I surely can stand up for another cause, even if it was not my own. I don’t have to be gay to stand alongside someone who is and fight for them. I don’t have to be an immigrant to know that they also deserve to be treated better in this country. During the marching and chanting, it become a jovial occasion, realizing the power of force and the message we are sending around the world and to Washington and every political office in this country, that change is coming, so either help us do it or get thrown out of office for someone who will.

I saw mother pushing baby strollers and fathers holding their children on their heads so they could see the signs and helicopters passing over us. I saw old, young, any color of race and nationality and sexual orientation. I saw some Latino sisters and brothers chanting along with us in Spanish and with a sign written in Spanish, which I couldn’t make out entirely, but I did see one part I recognized #Alllivesmater!

There were moments of silence, but the energy never wavered, even after hours of walking and I really didn’t even know where we were going, but I wasn’t going to stop. A gentleman finally told we were heading for the first precinct. “What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now”, “I Can’t Breathe” were also very powerful outcries in the crowd. One man who introduced himself as David asked to interview me during the march. He asked a couple of questions about me and why I was there to support and if I have any personal stories that fit the profile of being discriminated against. I told him the story of being pulled over at 2am for a broke license plate light, that ended in a 35 dollar ticket. I didn’t know about a license plate light to know I needed one at the time. I know it wasn’t a story that ended in a violent beating with night sticks or even getting shot over it, but I felt they pulled me over because I was driving while black through a prominently rich white neighborhood on my way home from work.

By the end of the day I was tired, hungry, cold and had been holding myself from going to the bathroom for almost four hours, but I didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t until I reminded myself that I had to work later that night, that I finally trotted back to the subway to make it for my shift. I don’t know if anyone took pics of me, since I didn’t have a camera phone, but I recorded audio of the event on my phone. I plan to go to at least two more protests this year. My agenda this year now to support the fight against climate change and a wage increase.

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