This post was written by Full Swing PR’s PR Specialist, Dhalu, about her experience protesting for Black Lives Matter in Seattle in June.
Silence is not an option. Black Lives Matter, not just today, or tomorrow but always.
The murder of George Floyd by four officers in Minnesota was not the first and certainly not the last unless we uproot the systemic racism that is alive in our law enforcement agencies, prisons, political systems, educational institutions, corporate environments, and across all other sectors. We have to fight for the lives taken too soon and the ones fighting to stay alive. As an Asian-American womxn, I want to use my privilege, which I have gained due to the generational labor of Black people in the U.S. As an ally, I want to show my support. This means getting uncomfortable if I need to and using my voice and body to show my support.
When my friends and I decided to join the protest on Capitol Hill here in Seattle, we understood the risk and consequences that could arise. “Bring water, wear running shoes, a mask, and make sure you don’t wear any contacts, in case we get teargassed,” read a text from my friend. We made sure to follow tips shared by other protestors on Twitter; we agreed on a meeting point in case we got separated, wrote our emergency contact information on each other’s arms, and shared our locations via phone. All of us had watched our friends’ Instagram live videos from the protests before and seen enough accounts on Twitter to understand what to prepare for. For us, it was one day of realized fear for our safety and police violence. For Black people across America, it has been their reality.
As we arrived on 11th Avenue, now known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or Occupied Protest (CHAZ or CHOP), I was heartened to see the Seattle community supporting each other. Immediately, a group of people asked if we had enough water and snacks on us. Their sign read, “Don’t fight the system on an empty stomach!” Driveways and parking zones had been turned into free food, water, and supply stations.
We slowly made our way through the protestors and eventually decided to join another group, a few blocks away, who were getting ready to march. Again, we witnessed the grassroots effort of different communities gathered to help each other. On each side of the massive crowd, there were at least three to four cyclists. They surrounded the protestors, acting as a shield and directed the traffic as we marched. Following behind the protestors were private cars that were decorated with red tape to make the medical cross symbol. The cars were loaded with supplies and volunteers to serve as the medical response team. Protest leaders were spread throughout the crowd to keep the energy and march going.
This was a protest lead by Black womxn in Seattle. We felt guarded and safe by the community as we marched. Black womxn made that possible. Black people have put their lives on the line in the fight against systemic racism for far too long while the rest of us, people of color reaped the benefits. We must do better.
June 5th, 2020 was Breonna Taylor’s Birthday. She would have been 27-years-old.
As the fight continues, be a true ally by putting your voice and body on the line, listening to Black womxn who are leaders in the movement, and showing up for every black person.