On July 4th, a group of white Black Lives Matter protestors stormed through the streets of Washington D.C. in response to what they say is police brutality against people of color and their refusal to stand down despite the backlash from fellow protesters who are claiming that this action was divisive. The protest started with a rally at Malcolm X Park where organizer Johnetta Elzie said that “if America doesn’t protect our children and us, then we have no choice but to turn around and protect ourselves.” A video posted on Facebook by one of the organizers showed an angry crowd shouting “We’re ready,” as he spoke about how black lives matter more than any other race’s lives do.
The protest was in response to the recent acquittal of six police officers involved in the death of Alton Sterling, an African-American man killed by Baton Rouge Police Officer Howie Lake II two years ago. The protestors are angry at what they say is continued violence against black youth and minorities from law enforcement officials. The group’s tactic of targeting white people in the D.C. area and asking them to raise their fists was a controversial move that has angered many protesters who say this disrupts solidarity with BLM and others who feel it is racist against whites. MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough criticized the Black Lives Matter movement members who perceived “a mob mentality” that made people feel uncomfortable. He argued that “there’s a difference in protesting the way you want to protest, and stalking people who are minding their own business.”
Although the CDC had recommended everyone stay at least 3 feet from one another, a group of protestors came over to a few white Christians while sitting at their table. The people instinctively leaned away, but the two committed white activists accompanying them sought them out and crowded in close to intimidate them into joining their cause. They failed as they refused to even talk with them or do anything they said. “I don’t want to be a part of this,” one said. “We are all equal, and we have the same rights.” However, this did not deter the protesters. They continued yelling at them about how their race should make it so that they support black lives more than anyone else’s does. The two activists eventually stopped bothering them.
1) In a scene that played out several times Monday, a Black Lives Matter protest that began in Columbia Heights confronted White diners outside D.C. restaurants, chanting “White silence is violence!” and demanding White diners show their solidarity. #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/fJbPM76vb0
— Fredrick Kunkle WaPo (@KunkleFredrick) August 25, 2020
The protestors were not the only ones in D.C on July 4th, and while they may have been a little too outraged for some people’s taste, it is important to remember that freedom of speech comes with responsibility. We can all take something away from this experience. How we react will determine what kind of country America becomes. This is an interesting case of a group of white people and also happen to be part of the Black Lives Matter movement. When you think about it, this group has some very valid reasons for being frustrated with how things have been going in our nation’s capital. Let’s hope that we can all work together to make America great again!