By now, you’ve probably heard about the thousands of people that occupied the streets of Atlanta on Friday night to protest police brutality and white supremacy. I was one of those folks. When the day started, I wasn’t sure if I would go. I waged an internal battle. My brain came up with excuse after excuse and my heart shot everyone down. I got on the train I take home and made that detour. I was wracked with anxiety from the time I stepped off the train to the car ride home. Still, I felt exhilarated. It’s the morning after and even though I feel like I got ran over by a herd of buffalo, I’m full. Dare I say, I’m happy.
But, I’m not here to gush. I have some thoughts. Let’s get into it.
Down My Niggaz: Unity
In the past, whenever someone said Black people aren’t able to unify, I got extremely irritated. I’ve seen countless examples of Black unity in my lifetime and yesterday, was no different. Actually, it was on another level entirely. I saw Black people all walks of life yesterday. I saw bougie folks, hood niggas, queer folks, trans folks, older people, children, Black greeks and gang members. The latter was responsible for my favorite moment in the action. After the initial march, everyone met on the lawn of the Civil Rights center. I wandered around the grass for a while, complaining about ant bites on my feet, until I saw a mass of people with flags in the air. Normally, that should be cause for alarm but the flags, red and blue, were tied together.
According to one of the crips, they coordinated themselves via social media and decided to come out to the rally as a unit. They PLANNED it. I was so shocked but oh so proud. They took turns speaking and then ran to the streets. I followed them until I got to a fence. The guys hopped it with no problem but myself and few other femmes had some trouble so a few of them stopped and helped us over. I was tired when we got to our destination, the 75/85 ramp. After being out there for a while, I whined to myself about not having water. I didn’t think anyone heard me until a random girl gave me her water and told me to keep it. About an hour or so later, I was talking to a guy and we saw that the situation might escalate and he told me that I could stay behind him for protection if needed. I was dumbfounded by the kindness I received last night. I am eternally thankful to those people. They reminded me why I do what I do. I’m warning y’all now, if you say that Black people don’t care about each other or can’t unify within earshot, you’re probably going to get cuss out. Hell, you might even catch these hands. That brings me to my next point…
Get in FORMATION, Prove to me you got some coordination…
The energy out there was infectious. People were engaged and ready to do something. We were doing something. But, it was disorganized. The initial meeting at Centennial Park was hard to follow because of audio issues and the speakers choosing to stand on one half of the stage. When we were marching, there was confusion about the route and we ended up walking in circles a few times. After being at the ramp for a while, some folks wanted to march again and others wanted to continue to occupy that space. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo y’all. I’ve participated in marched and helped plan actions. My friend Bri, who chilled with me during the latter half of the night, is even more experienced than I am. We noted that it might be a good idea for experienced folks to help out people who have the passion but lack the knowledge. As Bri said, we got hella organizers in Atlanta so why help our family out? Especially you negroes belly aching about how marching doesn’t work and how we need a plan. Y’all willing to sit through a class or nah? Speaking of…
Ain’t gon let up, ain’t gon shut up: You had to be out there
When people started occupying freeways, I swore up and down that it would never be me. I didn’t see the point. I talked so much shit and was smug as I watched my timeline blow up from the comfort of my bed. When people started to walk to the ramp, I could have left to go home. Still, I went. My half-baked opinions had been washed away with the breeze I felt while I was in the streets. I was scared. I was nervous. My hands shook. I wondered if I would make it home as I posted social media updates to comfort my friends and family, especially my perpetually worried mother. There were so many times I wanted to leave. I was tired, hungry and dehydrated but I remained. That space allowed people to grieve, rage and release whatever emotions they had to the universe so they could receive their healing. People were motivated to carry the torch of the ancestors. I saw several people talking to children about why we were out there. People had their reasons and each one of them were valid. To say that march didn’t serve a purpose is an insult.
I have so many thoughts swirling in my head so this might not be my last blog post. I also have other things in the works. Last week, Three Fifs was supposed to be on break but we recorded a show because we couldn’t let this week close without saying anything. Click here to listen to that show.
That’s all for now. See ya when I see ya. Be safe.