Skip to main content

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. - Martin Luther King, The Trumpet of Conscience 1967
Last week when the call went out for people to attend #NMOS2014 rallies, I looked for one near me. I felt the need to do something, to be with others who felt as I did, that Michael Brown deserved better than to be shot and left in the street, surrounded by yellow crime scene tape. I was angry. I was hurt. And frankly, I felt defeated and despairing because it seems, no matter how many times we see this story played out, it always plays out the same.

There was nothing planned in my small city. So I told myself that at 7:20 p.m. Thursday evening, I would observe that respectful moment of mourning and silence in my living room, by myself. I would, I told myself, be there in spirit. But that's not what happened.

When I went to bed Wednesday night, things were tense in Ferguson, Missouri. I knew that the police were in riot gear, and that two reporters had been "detained" earlier in the day. The situation was obviously one firecracker away from explosion, and that explosion happened while I was sleeping, hundreds of miles away. I woke in the morning to learn that overnight, police had fired on the crowds with tear gas and rubber bullets and, according to some reports, flash-bang grenades.

I went through my Twitter and Facebook timelines, following links and reading news stories and blog posts. I wish I could say I was stunned with disbelief, but it wouldn't be true. It was all too sadly, horrifyingly believable. When I saw the poster from Anonymous, calling on people around the country to join together for a Day of Rage against police brutality, it felt right and just.

I checked the cities listed and saw that, as expected, the nearest demonstrations were too far away for me to attend. I started searching to see if anyone was organizing one in my little city, but found nothing. This time, though, I knew that I couldn't "participate" from my living room. It's one thing to observe a moment of silence in privacy and still feel solidarity. There is no way to effectively express rage and outrage alone in your own living room. For it to have any effect at all, it must be declared publicly and it must be witnessed. And so, I declared myself publicly on Facebook:

I won't bore you with details of the rest of the day. Basically, a couple of friends shared my status, one encouraged me to make it an event, and a bunch of people shared the event with their friends. At 6:45 p.m., I stepped out of a cab and walked across Worcester Common to find a small knot of people gathered at the Oval. Then a few more people joined us. And a few more. By 7:00, there were about 80 people gathered around, including reporters, photographers and a film crew with the local media.
(credit: Frances Salinas)

The rally was powerful, but the aftermath was even more powerful. People made connections. shared resources and offered pieces of solutions. A representative of the local branch of the ACLU asked people to contact him with their stories. A school committee member talked about the school-to-prison pipeline and asked parents to attend the next public school committee meeting for a discussion of the zero-tolerance policy. There was discussion of the role of media in reporting black stories and police violence. These discussions and connections played out across the Facebook event page and reached out into real life.

In the week since that event, a group of people who attended have started planning a larger rally and walk through Worcester to take place next month. A community organization has offered us space to meet and plan next steps. And last night, with about an hour's notice, another group rallied 2 dozen people to join on the Common again for a rally and demonstration for a united community against police violence. And again, at last night's rally, connections were made and the community widened.

This is my first diary. I'm not writing it to brag about what I did. I don't want or need strokes for doing what felt right - I've gotten more of that than makes me comfortable. I'm writing it to encourage other people to take action, whatever action feels right, and to take it publicly. The only way to find others who want to make a difference is to make a public stand and see who comes to stand beside you.

Originally posted to Chameo on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 10:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing, Barriers and Bridges, Black Kos community, and Community Spotlight.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Angie in WA State, teacherken, glitterscale, Gooserock, Pandora, Shockwave, cotterperson, TarheelDem, shermanesq, EricS, ask, boadicea, slouching, splashy, navajo, mrkvica, johanus, cosette, Catte Nappe, MagentaMN, stringer bell, zerelda, ybruti, tenderheart, meagert, ichibon, Chinton, chimene, keschen, Simplify, ladybug53, a foreigner, Joes Steven, bunsk, peacestpete, kathny, forbodyandmind, Nowhere Man, kishik, third Party please, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, HoundDog, Prognosticator, ruleoflaw, AoT, Alexandra Lynch, global citizen, philipmerrill, 4Freedom, Ooooh, lao hong han, NearlyNormal, ER Doc, Turbonerd, BlueMississippi, doingbusinessas, kurt, NancyWH, Nulwee, ERTBen, tgypsy, bnasley, Back In Blue, jnhobbs, fallina7, on the cusp, rmonroe, MKinTN, ChocolateChris, 6412093, Youffraita, elwior, alasmoses, codairem, slathe, Mayfly, HoosierDeb, dmhlt 66, ZhenRen, BvueDem, bleuet, LinSea, WakeUpNeo, shopkeeper, petral, papahaha, Denise Oliver Velez, Keith Pickering, winkk, moviemeister76, Shuruq, kingfishstew, jpmassar, Leftcandid, Words In Action, FogCityJohn, serendipityisabitch, pixxer, Lize in San Francisco, Yasuragi, Patate, petesmom, Oh Mary Oh, theKgirls, Onomastic, ladywithafan, ban nock, slowbutsure, MaryinHammondsport, Seitanist, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, mrsgoo, zukesgirl64, Lorikeet, badscience, Square Knot, Calvino Partigiani, Daulphin, Andrew F Cockburn, joanbrooker, StepLeftStepForward, DRo, SouthernLiberalinMD, MichaelNY, Laurel in CA, DawnN, hulibow, mod2lib, fenway49, yawnimawke, bluezen, sow hat, Jakkalbessie, ahumbleopinion, SilverWillow, Eric Nelson, chicagobleu, aznavy, parakeet, FrY10cK, wasatch, Robynhood too, allensl, bisleybum, mygreekamphora, nomandates, countwebb, YellowDogInGA, remembrance, Thornrose, eyo, blue91, oslyn7, Metric Only, DressageDonkey, nancyjones, richardvjohnson, karma5230, cbabob, hamjudo, ExpatGirl, pierre9045, Penny GC, CJB2012, ypochris, Kathy Scheidel, silverfoxcruiser, Blackwolf53, Schneewolfe, AnacharsisClootz, nailkeg, kickiewickie, bill dog

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site