by Bill Rice
Today Adele McClure and I headed to DC to exercise our constitutional rights, our natural rights, of free speech and free assembly as both Americans and human beings. We went there to take a stand against systemic injustice and institutional racism, against police brutality and racial disparities in policing, against such disparities throughout our society. We went there to stand for equality, equity, liberty, and justice — for the values which are the foundation of our Federal Constitution.
What we saw there was a completely nonviolent protest, made up of a diverse group of justice seeking people. We saw no violence, no property destruction, and no cause for heavy-handed reactions from law enforcement or the government. No one was armed, no one was menacing, and no one was threatening violence. We saw people exercising the rights guaranteed to them by the First Amendment of our Bill of Rights.
At one point we saw group of young white nationalists on the side of the street trying to egg on and taunting the crowd. Did the crowd respond violently and escalate? No. Most of the people in the crowd told anyone who stopped to confront them to move along and ignore them and carry on with the nonviolent protest.
We later left to join another rally in Arlington, VA where we live. Once we returned home, we turned on the TV to see this peaceful crowd, of which we had been a member of only a few hours earlier, be attacked with tear gas, by batons, and by mounted police.
We turned on our TV to see the President of the United States invoke an 1807 insurrection law to justify his actions to militarize our streets, to drive out peaceful protests, to clamp down on political dissent, to spit in the very face of our constitutional rights.
Trump claimed that he will take these authoritarian actions so that he can “dominate” the streets.
Well from what we saw from those brave protesters in the streets, that’s not going to happen. Unlike some people who may cower in bunkers, most of the American people stand for justice. And they will continue to do so.
So tomorrow we’ll be back. And the next day. And the day after that. No matter what the authoritarian buffoon in the White House has to say, we’ll be back again and again: until our government, our society, begins to make the right steps towards equality, equity, and justice for everyone in this country.