This was the command heard a century or more ago from the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and it continues to have resonance today among the tens of thousands taking to the streets.
“Felt redemption as a Back man. First time I’ve ever felt that the world was on our side.” That was a text I received hours after the Millions March in NYC this protest past Saturday.
Thousands gathered at Washington Square Park. Activist groups, families, friends, students and individuals all came together to voice their outrage at a system that is just not working.
Ferguson, Staten Island and countless other jurisdictions where police have killed people of color and have not had to stand trial for their crimes continue to be the sparks behind these marches and the focus of the daily outrage we see across the country.
We have seen a turn in the tide. These marches, these actions are not single moments. They are sustained activities to show that we are dedicated to change. When was the last time we had protests day after day, night after night? When was the last time we had to think about where the protest would be in planning our days and nights? These actions are making us think. These actions are making us remember. At times they are inconvenient, but they are supposed to be inconvenient. How do we measure a momentary inconvenience against the loss of a precious life? It is something we hope each driver stuck on FDR Drive, the West Side Highway, Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue will ponder and agree with the purpose. And that purpose is to agitate, educate and make change.
Our message to those peaceful marchers and demonstrators is to continue to protest, continue to agitate and continue to fight for our lives. Continue to work to make change. Make it difficult for the world to ignore us. We will not be silent again.