By Mike Van Wood
Yesterday I felt fierce, I felt like a warrior. Today- I’m an emotional ball of grief and exhaustion.
Protesting is not for the faint of heart but rather for those who have heart- especially in the middle of a global pandemic. With a backpack and camera in tow, I joined the sea of PPE masked avengers as we marched from the Department of Justice, past the White House and onto the cross streets of 17th and Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
“No justice, no peace, no racist ass police,” the large crowd chants as we tore through barriers and came face to face with secret service clad in riot gear and shields. We are angry. There us an automatic tension in the air that is backed by hundreds of years of slavery and police brutality.
“Are you going to hit me with that baton? We have water bottles and you have guns,” a protester screams at one of the officers.
Another young man demands that the officer look at him in the eye while he speaks to them, rather than turn a blind eye when an unarmed Black person is murdered by the police.
“Allies to the front,” we scream as White protesters and photographers joined arm in arm at the frontlines.
Police watch protesters from the rooftops and coordinate tactical movement and blockades.
If you’re being aware you can predict when the police are about to be the aggressors. They’re bullies if you bypass their barricades, naturally.
At night the rioting starts. People get tired and rage builds. The police use mace and bash someone with a shield. A protester throws a rock. It’s a recipe for a long violent night.
There are seemingly large crowds of black LGBTQ that are at the forefront of some of these protests. Asian, Latino/ Hispanic. Gay, White, Straight and Trans at a time when distance has become our new norm, here we are united against the virus that is racism. If these protests have taught us anything it’s that modern humanity wants to be on the right side of history, even if they have to physically fight for it one injustice at a time.