Reflections on BLM Protest March 6/14/20

Posted on June 15, 2020

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Yesterday I attended the protest march organized and hosted by Black Lives Matter Protest of Lenawee County.

It was very different from last week’s event. The organizers of this event kept the focus on police brutality and on the victims who have died as a result of it, and the attendees were unified in their demand for justice for victims and an end to police brutality.

This march truly reflected the inclusive stance of the national Black Lives Matter movement, as the protesters were young and old, racially diverse, religious and non-religious, straight, and LGBTQ–like Lenawee County–and focused on a “mission to build local power and to intervene when violence is inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.”

The community stood united in diversity and spoke with one voice to end police brutality and other violence against the Black community. It was powerful. As protesters chanted in front of the courthouse, a majority of drivers passing by made their support known. I felt especially touched by a significant number of lone drivers who felt moved to chant with protesters as they sat alone in their cars at the stoplight.

The march made its way from the courthouse to Siena Heights University through East Side neighborhoods, where many, if not most, residents came out of their homes and showed support by waving hands, raising fists, nodding heads, and taking photos.

As the march approached SHU, where protesters lay in the street for 8 minutes, 46 seconds, in memory of George Floyd, they were greeted by a number of Adrian Dominican Sisters holding signs and joining the chants. When Isaiah Wright thanked them for coming out, I overheard a Sister say, “There are 200 more of us who are in support—inside at the windows.”

After last week’s incident, where protesters were terrorized by a motorist who threatened to run them over, public safety was a major concern, and the BLM Peace Team worked with community members and Adrian Police Department to insure that people could safely express their First Amendment rights to speech and assembly. I was pleased to see APD officers conduct themselves in a highly professional manner, both serving and protecting the community, throughout the duration of the event.

Public health, too, is still a concern, and the BLM group encouraged community members to wear masks and practice physical distancing. Most of the protesters did wear masks and greeted each other in safe ways, with air hugs, elbow bumps, and warm sentiments. People showed each other love in pandemic-appropriate ways.

While the march was at SHU, my car battery died, so I returned home after getting a jump start, to avoid getting stranded downtown. This situation prevented me from attending the vigil at the end of the march, so I can’t tell you what happened there. If the events that preceded it are any indication, the vigil was conducted in a peaceful, dignified manner by a community that believes that BLACK LIVES MATTER and that it’s time to bring an end, forever, to police brutality in the USA.

BLM has scheduled a March tonight, 6/15/20, from 5-9 p.m., at the Adrian courthouse.

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lisa eddy is a writer, researcher, educator, advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com