I currently live and attend university in Maryland, about 15 miles from the heart of the nation’s capitol where I went today with my partner to join a peaceful demonstration on one of the many streets in DC where the city’s citizens were actively protesting Trump’s inauguration. When we arrived, there were several rows of people blocking the city streets, and a large, growing crowd in the intersection of 10th and E Street where four young women had chained themselves to a platform at 7 AM in an act of civil disobedience. By the time the blockade was dispersed around 2 PM, we had all 4 roads connected to that intersection blocked, and zero arrests, after being one of the final 2 out of 17 major nonviolent protests today and still going strong. I’ve never been prouder to be a part of history than when looking over the growing mass of people chanting, singing, laughing, and linked arm and arm together, stranger and friend alike. The only time it got violent was when the police arrived in riot gear to break up our wall, and what happened there changed my life.
I posted this on my Facebook an hour or so ago, and I wanted to share it on my blog for you all to read – I know it’s not about books, and more sobering than full of pride, but it’s an important message that I want to get across to anyone who follows me and is my friend.
“If you haven’t seen already, today I went to a peaceful, nonviolent protest in Washington, DC to stand up against the most unqualified man to ever be elected President. Today, I stood linked with strangers in a blockade to protect 4 young women who had chained themselves to a platform in the middle of an intersection in an act of civil disobedience. Today, I chanted and marched with people from all walks of life who preached to the growing crowd that this is a nonviolent protest, and that we will not fight back or do anything aggressive beyond telling the people who literally ran into the blockade at full force to go another way. Today, I stood in front of a man who looked down on me with the most entitled form of distaste on his face, and who simply watched as I and the people behind me were pushed down to the pavement by uniformed police officers, officers who let a man through the blockade by sitting on people including myself who had every right to be there, while the man only went through in all of his Trump regalia just to say that he broke the blockade.
Today I sobbed all the way home with bruises on my hips and thighs and shins because the people I trust to protect me and protect my rights as an American citizen shoved me to the ground and sat on me so I couldn’t get back up.
Today I felt more unsafe than I’ve ever felt in my entire life because I don’t trust the people who wear those uniforms to do anything but avert their eyes when I take the last shred of my dignity and scream into their faces with hundreds of thousands of people around me, “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?”
It is very different being here than being in Ohio, because at Kent, I cried at a Black Lives Matter sit-in because I was so awed by the amount of people from every student organization who came to sit silently with their fists raised on the Student Green in support of kids like Tamir Rice and Tyre King who were killed by police in Ohio. I support Black Lives Matter because of those kids, because of my best friend and her siblings and nieces and cousins, because I’m a decent human being who can see when citizens are being marginalized at best in a society that proves time and time again they don’t matter. They matter.
In contrast, today I cried because I’ve never entirely felt unsafe around cops. I am white, and incredibly privileged to feel that I can trust someone in uniform; I have a grandfather whom I love who is an officer, and someone I trust with my life. I’ve never been at the receiving end of police brutality, I’ve never seen people in front of me get pushed to the ground by a man in uniform, I’ve never felt truly unsafe until today. And so I mourned the loss of that shrivel of doubt, of Devil’s advocate, of it’s-okay-they’re-just-doing-their-job. Because today, a grown man twice my size gave me bruises for speaking up against the injustice in this country.
If you are the kind of person who says Blue Lives Matter, think again.
If you are the kind of person who would look away if you saw a group of unarmed protesters shoved to the ground by police, look again.
If you think what I did today was wrong, think again.
If you think anything about this was okay, look again.
If you’re not ashamed of the state of this country, think again.
If you voted for this, look at my bruises and remind yourself that this is your fault.
This is your America.”
I am safe and at home now with two blankets wrapped around me, a bowl of soup, a cup of tea, and the sweetest, softest cat snuggled up to me to keep me company and make me feel better after that emotionally draining and overwhelming experience. Take care of yourselves today, and going on towards the future. My heart is with you.