“We need everyone (yes everyone) to converge on 7th and H Streets NW at 7PM.”

chinatown protest
Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

From NO INDICTMENT TURN UP TO SHUT DOWN CHINA TOWN FOR SANDRA BLAND AND TAMIR RICE:

“What: Rally and march for Justice for Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland
When: Thursday, December 31, 7 p.m.
Where: 7th and H Streets NW

This is an urgent and emergency call to action! In solidarity, Black Lives Matter DMV, Stop Police Terror Project DC, BYP 100, ONE DC, Black Movement Law Project, and Law 4 Black Lives call on you to TURN UP AND SHUT DOWN GALLERY PLACE AND CHINA TOWN for Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice.

We are going to protest the unacceptable but not surprising non-indictments in both cases. As always we remain absolutely committed to uplift and demanding justice for victims of police brutality in DC including Alonzo Smith, Jason Goolsby, and Ralphael Briscoe.

We need everyone (yes everyone) to converge on 7th and H Streets NW at 7PM. We WILL NOT go in to a new year without demanding immediate justice in both cases! We can no longer express our rage, disappointment, and fear alone or in silence. On the last day of the year you remain empowered to show your commitment to vigorously fighting for justice in 2016!

The doors of the movement are wide open, please come in! Bring your signs, banners and all of your family, friends, neighbors, faith community members, sorors, fraternity brothers, teachers, EVERYONE!!”

and

“Local Movement for Black Lives groups and their supporters, lead by Black Lives Matter DMV, will shut down Gallery Place for the non-indictments of Sandra Bland and Tamir Rice and to demand justice for Natasha McKenna, Alonzo Smith, Ralphael Briscoe and Jason Goolsby

WHO: Black Lives Matter DMV, BYP 100, Stop Police Terror Project, ONE-DC, Black Movement Law Project and Law 4 Black Lives

WHAT: Protest and March for Justice

WHERE: 7th and H st NW

WHEN: Thursday December 31st, 2015 7pm.

To paraphrase Audre Lorde, we are protesting the reality that we are living in system we were clearly not meant to survive. We protest because we cannot ignore the injustices faced by our community, we cannot stand idly by in a fundamentally oppressive status quo. Sandra Bland was killed for being a Black woman in America. Tamir Rice was killed for being free Black boy in a society that doesn’t think we are human. This is a national crisis of conscious for America that affects ALL of us here at home in DC.

We demand justice for all Black people facing state sanctioned sexual, economic, emotional and physical violence but in particular for the victims of police brutality here in DC: Ralphael Briscoe, Alonzo Smith who were killed by state sanctioned violence and Jason Goolsby who was assaulted and countless others. We demand justice for Natasha McKenna, a Black woman brutalized on tape and killed in Virginia.

We are protesting because like so many other “leaders” in America our mayor, Muriel Bowser, is more interested in penalizing, brutalizing and criminalizing low income Black people than investing in our community. This is the same mayor who pushed a totalitarian policing bill that would have allowed for warrantless searches. This is the same mayor that thought that private bathrooms were too good for the overwhelmingly Black families in DC general. This is the same mayor who used the police to gain support for her plan to “end homelessness.” This is the same mayor whose “Vision Zero” plan to end accidents includes new traffic fines that low income DC residents can’t afford to pay.

We are protesting because our Mayor has #zerovision and it is costing our community dearly. Time and time again she pushes the same regressive policies and out of touch leadership that is crushing the spirit, economy and, far too often, the lives of our community.

The system will neither support or protect us, so we must #takebackourstreetsDC”

138 Comment

  • So you’re going to protest the deaths of black people at the hands of white cops in a city where many, if not a majority, of the cops are black and we haven’t had any similar shootings. Got it. I’ll be there. Or not. How about instead of protesting, you work on getting 70, 80, or 90% of the black population to vote around the country. That will create real change.

    • I don’t think you understand what’s going on. They’re protesting systemic racism and oppression, which is more than readily apparent in DC. Your seeming desire to silence their all-too-legitimate claims is rather questionable.

      • To add: given that you made it plainly obvious that you don’t have a too firm of a grasp on the Black Lives Matter movement, I don’t see why you think they’re not working to bring out voters in conjunction with these protests.

        • Number of voters ever convinced to support a cause as a result of people laying in the middle of the road on NYE? Zero. But they will do a good job of turning people off to their arguments with these absurd tactics.

          • You seem to misunderstand the goal of this particular action. This is a plea for continued media coverage of the systemic injustice against black people.

          • Right because we haven’t seen any of this on the news ever.

          • Yes, because NYE is a night many people sit home watching the local news… Sigh.

          • If you mean to suggest that this particular action isn’t likely to affect much change on its own, you are more than likely right.

          • clevelanddave

            Here is the reality: 980 people were killed by the police last year: 4 percent were unarmed African-Americans (37). https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings. African-American men committed more than half of the murders in America in the last 30 or so years. More than half of the DCMP are African-Americans. The vast majority of their victims are African-Americans. Black lives matter- all lives matter. Police misconduct needs to be investigated, but police misconduct isn’t the cause of most or even many of the lives lost in this country due to violence. African-Americans- all Americans- deserve to live in safe neighborhoods and for the most part law enforcement is not the problem nor the cause- but they are part of the solution.

        • They’re not “working” to do anything.

      • Out of curiosity, do you think creating a massive traffic jam in an already congest intersection on a busy holiday will help the cause by attracting more supporters? I cant imagine that people who go through 7th and H NW tonight will say: “MAN! This is awesome! My plans are ruined tonight cuz I’m gonna be so late! Let’s support this cause now!”

        • I get what you’re saying, but I think the point of the protest being where it is is to draw attention to the fact that, while many people are going out and enjoying New Year’s Eve celebrations, Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland are not, and their families are not, and that they don’t have hope for justice.

          Tactically speaking, I disagree with this plan for tonight as anything more than an effort at attracting more media attention, but I do see why they’re choosing a very busy/congested area. My concern, however, is that there are often a lot of rowdy teenagers who hang out near Gallery Place, it’s New Year’s Eve and a lot of people will be drinking, and any unpleasant actions in the area tonight may be taken as part of / blamed on the protest even if unrelated.

          • And if you get stuck in a traffic jam because of a protest and you think that’s a bigger inconvenience than being black in this country and having to teach your 10 year old son that he isn’t to play or behave like white children his age, and that he is to be deferential and obsequious to those in authority and all white people so that they don’t end his life because he “looks scary” then perhaps that time spent sitting in traffic would be a good time for some deep self reflection.

          • I would think all parents would teach their children that carrying a replica pistol with the orange safety cap removed from its barrel in a public park is a dangerous thing to do especially in today’s climate of fear about active shooters.

          • So, it was all Tamir Rice’s fault because he took the cap off his gun, or perhaps because the cap fell off? He was a CHILD. A CHILD. You know what kids do? Stupid shit. All the time. Because they are too young and too immature to realize that the shit they do is dumb. This is ok, they are KIDS this is what they are supposed to do! What is not supposed to happen is that they get shot and are left to die in front of the people who shot them. Would this have happened to a white boy of the same age? No. It absolutely would not have.

          • If you think that only black people are expected to be obedient to police then you’re wrong. I was taught since I was a kid to avoid police as much as possible and to not count on them for much if you ever need their help.

        • Sorry to hear that you might be mildly inconvenienced. This is a civil rights issue of national importance. Thanks for understanding.

          • And tactics like this do nothing to address the civil rights issue or do anything more than make these protesters feel good about themselves while pissing off thousands of people that will become enemies of their cause. Well played. Wonder how many people in town from VA tonight will see these self-indulgent children blocking traffic and vote for Trump as a result? Well played all around…

          • So you think protesting this way will help draw more sympathizers and supporters of the folks going through 7th and H NW tonight?

          • The number of folks who’ll be mildly inconvenienced by this action is far smaller than the potential media audience in the DC metro area, and perhaps at a national level if it gets picked up. Frankly, these commuters are pretty much irrelevant here.

          • So you think this will all be positive media attention? I think our neighbors up north in Baltimore may think differently.

          • It most certainly won’t be all positive. Racism is deeply ingrained in our media as well.

      • Classism is the word you’re looking for. There are many affluent people of all races in DC. Poor black people does not equate to all black people.

        • Does being well off protect black people from racism? Does it protect them from being stopped and searched on the street, or in their cars for no apparent reason? Does it stop white people from calling the police when they see a a well off black person in a place where they think they don’t belong?

          Classism is another issue, but ask any black person of means how well they think money insulates their children from the potential of a wrong place, wrong time encounter with an armed person who is afraid of them.

          • I was talking about DC specifically in response to Anon’s post.

          • Actually I think it is rare that whites call the cops when they see a black man in a suit and tie, but yes, our culture has reached a point where wearing such clothes is much less common, and white people can walk around wearing whatever they want without being challenged.

            But wearing a suit and tie will probably protect a black from much profiling, just as refraining from wearing the head covering of an Orthodox Jew will help a Jewish person walking around Paris. Both situations suck.

            I hope this protest can lessen racism, but I suspect the people who will find it most inconveniencing will be black motorists.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This is a good point. There are lots of non-white motorists and non-white bus riders who will be delayed in getting home to their children or getting to their 2nd job because of this. I seriously wonder how they feel about this (this protest specifically, not the movement or the issue generally). I do not presume to know – I do genuinely wonder.

          • What point, exactly? BLM movement doesn’t need to convince non-white motorists that racism/injustice is prevalent throughout our society. But yes, they will most certainly be inconvenienced along with the white motorists.

        • I used the exact term that I intended to use. Classism is surely also involved, but that’s not what’s at stake here. I’m curious to hear more about your seeming desire to downplay race in the context of “Black Lives Matter”.

          • It’s not a desire to downplay. If you want to know why people are apathetic in this city, ask anyone of any race who has been the victim of a crime in this city what the race of the perpetrator was. There’s your answer in the context of “Black Lives Matter”.

          • Perpetrators’ race has nothing to do with them causing crimes, as you just clearly implied.

          • You miss my point. Be safe tonight.

          • Kingman Park, the races of perpetrators of crimes against me does not make me apathetic to the cause. What is your logic? That all people of one race are responsible for everyone else of that race??

  • Well, you could do something useful and go to Cleveland and protest and fight for change. Or, you can cause a traffic jam in DC for people that have nothing to do with the Cleveland PD and have no ability to change it. Let’s see, which one is easier?

  • Rather unfortunate for the Chinatown businesses, Metro, etc. that will be affected by this despite their having no involvement with the cases in question.
    .
    I know a march on the National Mall takes longer to organize, requires advance permits, etc., but it seems like that would be a more appropriate way to express frustration.

    • I agree. I am very sympathetic to the cause, but have been deeply concerned that these kind of “shut everything down” protests will only push people away because of the inconvenience they cause (particularly on a holiday).

    • +1. As someone who works in Chinatown, this is really awful for all of us servers and bartenders on NYE. It takes money out of our pockets. While I agree with with the reasons they are protesting, I wish they’d move somewhere more meaningful that didn’t have to negatively impact my ability to pay my bills.

      • Unfortunately, the organizers of this protest don’t particularly care what happens to your paycheck. At best, they are counting on you being upset enough about not getting paid that you will blame the government for not dropping everything to give into the BLM demands.

  • The outrage should be about the 152 homicides in DC this year, a 54% increase from 2014.

    • Agreed – when the Mayor was in Petworth for her crime walk, I wish I could have responded to her question about what makes you fearful in the neighborhood? “Many unsolved killings, gun violence, drive-bys, stray bullets, open air drug markets, random wilding beatings from teenagers.” I’ll take a peaceful protest over this kind of anti-social crap any day!

    • The outrage doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. I don’t approve of this kind of disruptive protesting, but it’s possible to be upset both about police violence in Cleveland and elsewhere AND about crime in D.C.

    • If the protesters were upset about violent crime in DC they’d be blocking a major road in NE or SE. This way they’d get the attention of the local residents who live near those who commit all of these crimes.

  • Let me guess….the organizer lives at 7th and H and it was more convenient to organize this event then something that might actually make a difference.

  • I’m curious as to why they always seem to protest in Chinatown. There are other high density areas throughout the city that would work (dupont circle, georgetown, 14th street…just to name a few). Is there something special about Chinatown that makes it the preferred DC location for these protests?

    • It’s on the Green Line?

    • It’d guess because it’s got the most diverse mix of people on the streets at any given time, including lots of tourists. Dupont Circle is probably a non-starter due to the fact that the Park Police would shut it down very quickly (same goes for pretty much any federal land).

    • Because it rhymes – “Shut down Chinatown” is catchier than “Shut Down Adams Morgan”.

    • I have been wondering the same thing. IMO a place like Georgetown would make the most sense. Could you imagine the coverage of it stretched M street all the way to the key bridge and blocked traffic there? As someone said earlier in Chinatown they run the risk of being shut down earlier due to drunken fights instigated by onlookers. Not to mention as someone else also said it takes money out of the pockets of people who work in Chinatown that most likely already support the cause

  • Ally

    There was a sexual assault in an alley in the heart of chinatown this week (got the police alert). That’s a good thing to also protest if you’re there.

  • Could somebody please explain what the organizers hope to accomplish? I’m sympathetic to social justice causes. But every time I see there random “shut everything down protests” (as opposed to peaceful rallies), I just get annoyed, not inspired.

    Perhaps I’m blinded by my privilege. But, it seems a much more effective strategy would be to place pictures by the metro of those killed in suspicious police situations. Talk about their life story and how they mattered. It would raise awareness and sympathy for the cause, without antagonizing.

    These radical protests remained me of the anti-war demonstrates of the 1960s who thought if they just raised enough havoc they could chance the world. Instead all they did was antagonize moderates and help to elect Richard Nixon.

    • Damn smartphone keyboard. “Change the world”

    • I agree with this. I would definitely learn something or try to with this approach vs. the “shut them down” approach. When the point of your rally is “shut them down”, you’ve succeeded in shutting down my attitude towards your cause. Sorry.

      Also, I don’t think think this is victim-blaming, so I’m curious why no one is saying “STOP BUYING TOY GUNS”. At best, they promote violence. At worst, they get mistaken for real guns and get people shot.

      • Come on — do you really think toy guns are at the heart of the issue in the Tamir Rice case?? Wouldn’t that be like, I don’t know, blaming welders for the Titanic disaster?

        • HaileUnlikely

          FWIW, I, as a white kid, was not allowed to play with toy guns, because my grandparents (I was raised by my grandparents) both believed that they promoted violence and because they feared that it would be mistaken for a real gun and that I would be shot by a citizen with a real gun, which is also a legitimate concern in an open-carry state. Although I thought my grandparents were being silly at the time and I resented it, but I agree with them now. I think it crystallized when I was in out running once while in college and a child [a white child who some might refer to as a “redneck”] no older than about 12 pointed what in that case was *obviously* a toy gun at me, pulled the trigger, and said “Pow! You’re dead, faggot!” with no playfulness in his voice whatsoever – he was very clearly imagining actually killing me.
          .
          I do not blame the poor kid with the toy gun for his own death, but I really truly believe that toy guns that resemble real guns any more than a SuperSoaker should not exist.

        • “Wouldn’t that be like, I don’t know, blaming welders for the Titanic disaster?”

          The Titanic didn’t sink because of improper welding. It sank because some of the 3 million rivets used to hold the hull plates together were made from inferior steel, leading to catastrophic failure and a separation of the hull plates.

          Basically some engineers tried to save a bit of money by using inferior materials sourced from local forges and managed to doom the entire ship.

      • Don’t buy toy guns so KIDS won’t get shot by cops. Because, confronted with a toy gun, the cops have no choice but to shoot right? And then no choice but to not administer any sort of first aid for four minutes while those children lie dying, right?
        What’s next? Don’t let girls wear leggings, short skirts, wear lip gloss, or get their ears pierced because they are sexualizing themselves for men who will obviously have no choice but to rape them?

        • Ally

          In the heat of the moment, police will defend themselves and many toy guns, if the bright cap is removed, look VERY similar to real guns. Not saying they (or real guns) should be outlawed, but I would be very reticent to let my son leave the house with a toy gun. People mistake it for the real thing and horrible things happen.

          • Tamir Rice’s mother didn’t allow him to have toy guns. A friend lent him the one he was playing with. You can’t control every aspect of a child’s life.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I know from your other posts elsewhere over the years that you are actually thoughtful enough to comprehend the world of difference between a replica of a weapon that is virtually indistinguishable from a real gun that might actually discharge real bullets and kill me versus provocative clothing that may stoke the lustful desires of a man but clearly does not pose an imminent threat that requires a the man to split-second decision to defend his life. (I completely agree regarding the failure to render aid, though. That was unconscionable. And it has been established elsewhere that this individual officer had no business being a police officer in the first place.)
          .
          I don’t blame Tamir for having the toy gun. He was a child and should not have been expected to know better, irrespective of whether he actually did or not. But I do blame the toy industry for making toys that resemble real guns so closely that somebody might be fooled by one. Why the f*ck does such a “toy” even exist? So kids can pretend to shoot people? I’m not sure what else one does with a toy gun that isn’t neon green and shoots water.

          • +1.
            .
            Navyard — FWIW, there have been longtime objections to toy guns on the grounds that they promote violence. But that’s definitely been a minority stance, and one that’s hard for parents to stick to. (My parents objected on pacifist grounds, but reluctantly bought water guns for my brother and me after we begged and pleaded.)
            .
            I agree with HaileUnlikely that it seems irresponsible for toy companies to make guns that closely resemble real guns. But I think the main problem in the Tamir Rice case was how the police responded (not parking their cruisers further away, not trying to engage the suspect in dialogue, not administering first aid, etc., etc.).
            .
            I didn’t read all the way through the Justice Department’s report on its investigation of the Cleveland police department (http://www.justice.gov/file/180576/download ), but it’s clear from the summary that Cleveland police had been engaging in a “pattern or practice” of excessive force.

        • The media and the conversation is portraying it as such, but an air gun isn’t really a toy. It might be a challenge to kill somebody with one, but it could probably kill a kid, and it can kill small animals. In any case, it will take out an eye for sure. A super soaker is a toy guy. Something that can hurl metal projectiles is not.

    • I think the goal is to vent and express frustration.
      .
      IMO, the problem with a disruptive protest like this one is that it makes people who _aren’t_ sympathetic to the cause that much more unsympathetic, and is likely to make anyone who was on the fence start leaning toward being unsympathetic. And while it might accomplish the goal of venting and expressing frustration, it’s unlikely to effect any positive change.

    • Ally

      +1. And I’d love to see an organizer actually use his name instead of “Anon.” If I were organizing or supporting a movement I cared about, I’d attach my name to it (small detail, but still).

    • Nixon’s election notwithstanding, the protests continued, as their objective was to bring the war home, and make it un-fightable. This was successful, as antiwar sentiment spread into the military (which was always a target audience, by the way). There were fraggings, search-and-avoid missions, sabotage, racial clashes on ships, pilots refusing to fly bombing missions, and lots more.

      I’m not sure if BLM is comparable. I’ve been to some of their protests, and I agree wholeheartedly with massive police reform, but for a variety of reasons (this thread’s example being just one of them) I have mixed feelings.

  • 7th and H has been the location of several ‘die-in’ protests on the same issue this year, so this isn’t a new location for it. Just a busier night.

  • Blithe

    When voting doesn’t work, when waiting for the system — biased prosecutors and all — doesn’t work, when people who have every privilege and political power are complacent and self-focused, a non-violent, protest is an alternative that provides an opportunity to vent and to call attention to frustration , injustice and powerlessness. One of the things that fascinates me about PoPville is how quickly themes like restricting the rights of cyclists, expanding the opportunities to drink, and anything, anything at all related to pets manages to garner copious amounts of attention. The murder of a kid playing with a toy that the powers that be have chosen not to even send to trial? Not so much. So yeah, this may indeed disrupt traffic, and it will almost certainly be an ineffective means of jiggling the status quo, but it might also be a much, much better way to focus the energy behind centuries of frustrations than many available alternatives.
    .
    .
    .
    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore–
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over–
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?
    Langston Hughes

    • Ally

      So I actually really appreciate this post. I think what happens with some of the DC folks (myself included) is that we’re a little action-driven. We’d like to figure out tangible goals and make sure that, if part of the city is shut down, that it’s for a good reason. If the goal is media coverage, that should be accomplished and no harm, no foul. Do you know if, for the movement, there are any broader goals (police cameras as mandatory — which DC just signed into law, etc)? Truly asking from a curious place. Not trying to be snarky at all.

      • A quick google search will help you identify some lists, see:

        http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34023751

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-lives-matter-policy-demands_55d7392ae4b0a40aa3aa9443

        No doubt that as the conversation continues or becomes tailored to certain communities these lists will evolve / change

      • also really appreciate this, as an effort to look at why people are reacting on here the way they are, and i totally agree. there’s a misalignment between these tactics and what many of us in “Washington culture” (rather than “DC culture”) believe to be effective in bringing change. however, disaffected groups haven’t seen a lot of positive reforms come through official systems, so they try other methods–ones in which, as you note, the outcomes may be less amenable to quantifiable measurement. this is actually exactly how problem-solving should go. when something isn’t working, try something else–just don’t ever start seeing every problem as a nail, just ’cause you have a hammer.

    • Why isn’t Tamir Rice a bigger issue on Popville? Because he was murdered in Cleveland and this is a local DC blog. Therte’s plenty of discussion on the Washington Post and other outlets people go to for things other than local DC news.

    • +1k Well said and well quoted, Blithe.

    • POP is not a national blog. That’s why.

      • Bingo. You probably don’t follow national blogs about this issue, so you may be relatively isolated from what’s going on. This action makes it local. It succeeded in getting a local blog to pick up this story and discuss the reasons for said action. It succeeded in spreading its message to a group that might otherwise be un/misinformed.

        • I do follow blogs on this issue. Thanks though.

          • Nick, that’s good. Good for you.

          • They might be the kinds of blogs that contribute to being un/misinformed though, Nick. You’d probably be better off just asking Anon exactly what to think. Given her abundant sanctimony and self-righteousness, I figure she is sure to know.

        • LOL. Do you think there’s one person that saw this post that wasn’t previously aware of Tamir Rice and/or BLM? Based off the approximately 90% negative reaction from the responses here, you seem to think making people angry at the messenger accomplishes something. I disagree.

          • Inaction isn’t very likely to spur positive change. Do you know how many whites were vehemently angered by blacks’ insistence of being granted basic civil rights throughout the 20th century? It didn’t make their protests any less exigent.

          • Yes, because blocking traffic in DC to protest what happened in Cleveland is the same thing as fighting Jim Crow laws. Every enemy is Hitler, every cause is the Civil Rights movement.

      • I hear you, Nick. Perhaps Tamir Rice isn’t a huge topic on Popville because this is a local daily blog that focuses on local, day-to-day issues. Or maybe, as Blithe implies, it’s because almost everyone on this blog is really racist. I tend to think it’s the former.

        • Blithe implied nothing about PopVille readers being racist. Just self-absorbed. Which…is fair.

          • I’d guess the average Popville reader is just about precisely as self-absorbed as you are, Mamasan. Although probably considerably less smug.

          • A “local” blog that focuses on “local” issues is by definition self-absorbed. I get Blithe’s point about the kind of topics that get Popvillers to start posting. But the point would have more force if this was a local shooting that people on the blog were not talking about. Given the 300 posts that typically follow every post about any shooting that happens in this town, I highly doubt that a Tamir Rice type shooting that occurred here would not have been a topic of conversation on this blog.
            Personally, I have paid a lot of attention to the Tamir Rice case. I’m not offended or surprised that it has not been a big topic of conversation on a local DC blog.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I think we (self included) are more self-absorbed than we care to admit. It isn’t just local vs. Cleveland. On the same day that a post about a guy getting beaten up on the metro at rush hour garnered about 175 replies, a post about a shooting further out in NE in an area not yet teeming with millennials in luxury condos eating small plates got zero replies.

          • I should have been clear that I was including myself as part of the self-absorbed (and surely part of the pet obsessed) readership. But Blithe makes the good point that PoPVille can also be a place where we can discuss broader and important issues. And this is an important issue. PS – HaileUnlikely, +1 to you.

        • Then stop reading the blog, I was trying to get you (and others) to realize that Blithe’s post was meant to re-focus the discussion on the actual issues. And we often get off on tangents here, relating to our personal experiences.

          Happy New Year.

          • Huh? I love this blog! Most of the commenters here are genuine, thought-provoking people – neither racist nor particularly self-absorbed. I’m not going to stop reading it just because one individual comes across as extremely smug. But happy New Year to you too, I guess. May you find humility in 2016.

    • Reading comments on this blog always makes me think of the Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
      .
      “I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

      • Thank you for that quote.

      • How many direct actions in California did MLK lead to protest conditions in Alabama?

        • Indirectly? Countless…

          • What is your point, exactly? That an MLK quote about race relations is irrelevant to this discussion?

          • That misusing an MLK quote to compare DC residents that are largely sympathetic to BLM and outraged by the events in Cleveland to southerners that gleefully tolerated segregation is both offensive and deeply unserious.

          • “who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”
            .
            It seems to perfectly describe much of what’s happening in this thread. I’m sorry that you’re unsettled as a result, but it’s a necessary step in the process.

          • Study the history of what MLK was referring to and what the goals and actions he referred to were. MLK didn’t block traffic in Seattle because Birmingham had a racist bus system. And I’m far from unsettled – it’s just sad seeing people with no appreciation for history undermine their own cause. And yes, comparing those sympathetic to your cause to white southerners that said segregation is wrong but don’t block the line for lunch is offensive and will only hurt your cause. Then again, perhaps the cause is only to annoy people and make the news, not to change anything. In that case, carry on.

          • CRT – I take that quote as directly applicable to me (and many like me). Just because it takes me out of my comfort zone doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

            We can’t just agree with the broad goals, but demand methods that are not obtrusive.

          • The problem is that you can use this quote to justify any action. MLK said that the real problem is white moderates who do nothing, so you need to support me doing _______ to protest. That is why the historical context of what he was referring to is needed.

      • This quote is perfect. Thank you, jcm (and MLK Jr).

    • good stuff. i think folks on here are just a little to close to the situation to be objective. i’d wager, based on the popville audience, that a lot of commenters would support the proportionate use of violence by oppressed peoples, e.g., the palestinians or kurds, and this is way less intense than throwing rocks or firing bullets. there are many ways to communicate, when official processes have continuously and routinely excluded the voices of a large minority, and these means are not illegitimate, just because some disagree with the tactics.

    • Well, I’m fairly steeped in bicycling and drinking, so I have strong opinions about what should and shouldn’t be done.

      I have no idea what to do / say on BLM, other than “holy sh– of course that’s injustice”.

  • I’m going to pass on weighing in on their tactics but I am very curious what they mean by comment that Bowserr thought private bathrooms were too good for the overwhelmingly Black families in DC general. Huh?

    Any ideas here?

    • The plan to replace DC General was to have rooms with shared bathrooms, rather than private apartment-style housing. This led to a debate on whether that was dehumanizing/unsafe or a good plan to maximize space to get more people off the street.
      http://wamu.org/news/15/10/14/debate_on_replacing_dc_shelter_finds_that_bathrooms_are_a_crucial_question

      • If shared bathrooms are dehumanizing I can only imagine the pain and anguish that college dorm residents are enduring on a daily basis.

        • You said that in the context of families who’re forced to live in homeless shelters?

          • Well let’s see. College students pay for the privilege of using shared bathrooms. People who reside in shelters pay nothing for the privilege of living there.

            It takes a special sort of entitlement to complain about services that are being provided to you a no charge.

          • That was a rhetorical question.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This is rapidly diverging way far from the topic of the thread. What is an appropriate level of basic safety net services for homeless families is another topic for another thread. [Do note, though, the aforementioned debate was specifically about homeless families with young children, not single homeless adults.]

          • holy crap, Anon5 – “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”…..Jesus you’re tone deaf!

    • It took me a while to figure this out because of the lack of capitalization, but I think the reference is to the current use of D.C. General as a homeless shelter.

  • Thanks for the advance warning–now I know where to avoid when I go out tonight!

  • I am surprised no one has picked up on the “This is the same mayor whose “Vision Zero” plan to end accidents includes new traffic fines that low income DC residents can’t afford to pay.” So you are protesting higher traffic fines because poor people can’t afford to pay them? How about you don’t break the law so you don’t have the pay any fines, small or large?

    • Amen. Don’t do the crime if you can’t pay the fine.

    • Not to mention…. Poor people now own cars? Why do I ride the bus to work every day?

      • HaileUnlikely

        Lots of relatively less wealthy people in DC live and/or work in places that are not well-served by transit. Don’t think homeless shelter; think family of 4-6 living on $40K year aggregated across multiple earners with multiple low-paying jobs. Probably live far from metro. Probably don’t work downtown. Probably have at least one car.

      • “Poor people now own cars? Why do I ride the bus to work every day?”
        Because you make that choice. You want to buy a car? Someone will finance you, whether it be Eastern Motors or BMW. Some people spend $300 a month on a car and others spend $300 a month on student loans, and still others spend $300 a month in booze. It’s all a matter of choice.

        • True. Except poor people don’t have a choice because they are poor and don’t have any money. Hence the word “poor.”

          • HaileUnlikely

            You’re clearly just arguing for the sake of arguing now. A $1000 ticket for somebody who supports a family of 4 on $30K or $40K a year (not “poor” per se, but waaay below the AMI) is catastrophic. For a single guy making >$100K a year, the same $1000 ticket is a minor nuisance but no biggie. I know you are not so dense as to not comprehend this.

          • My larger point is that of all the issues to raise, this one seems a bit silly. I’ve worked with several families in DC in temporary housing, etc. To my knowledge, none of them had a car. We would usually meet near metro stops if they couldn’t make it to my office.

            While I think $1,000 is absurd for a moving violation not involving recklessness or alcohol, this affects the working class a lot more than the truly destitute. That was my only point.

          • HaileUnlikely

            My point was that you were zeroing in and overinterpreting the heck out of what I suspect was a rather casual use of the word “poor” in the original post.

  • Oh, gawd. ::eye roll::

  • “This is the same mayor whose “Vision Zero” plan to end accidents includes new traffic fines that low income DC residents can’t afford to pay.”

    I guess they could always, you know, obey the law and therefore avoid any fines for criminal infractions.

    I’ve been driving in the District for more than 20 years without a single moving violation. If I can do it, so can others.

    • I’ve never been pulled over either. And I watch both cyclists and drivers perform feats of stupidity worthy of Darwin Awards daily, with nary an intervention from police (including watching someone drive directly past a police car, going the wrong way on a one-way street. The cop shrugged). There is concern and fair concern that more people of color get pulled over for traffic violations and thus, could bear the brunt of the new Vision Zero laws. That concern is directly related to BLM’s cause, so worth discussing.

  • My issue with these types of protest gathering (regardless of issue/cause) is that you tend to see only a small number of people who are truly dedicated to the cause and are interested in raising awareness and affecting meaningful change. A number of people seem to attend these gatherings just to create problems, make noise, stop traffic and cause ruckus. It doesn’t help your cause nor does it make me personally more sympathetic.

  • I had not idea that Muriel Bowser is “more interested in penalizing, brutalizing and criminalizing low income Black people than investing in our community.”
    According to many of the folks in PoPville, she wants to put low income housing on every corner.

    • That’s what I thought too… Her goal is increasing affordable housing, not decreasing crime in the city.

      • I think one of her goals is to decrease crime in the city. Whether she has been successful or not is a separate question. I don’t think increasing affordable housing is incompatible with decreasing crime.

  • Anon: you guys, this is really important.
    Everyone else: We understand that the issue is important, but your chosen method of protest is a terrible idea that will just piss people off.
    Anon: No, really this is important. I don’t care about pissing people off.
    Everyone else: We agree that it’s important, and share your goals. But your tactics are misguided and will backfire.
    Anon: no, you guys, this is really important.
    Rinse, repeat.

    • This isn’t my protest; I’m simply trying to explain the logic behind it to those feigning bewilderment. I don’t personally think this action is going to change a thing, but I’m also not in the position to whine about a very minor inconvenience resulting from a historically disenfranchised group earning for a voice. Happy New Year.

  • Well, at least I know where to avoid tonight. I really hope these clowns will eventually find something else to do and stop with all this whining. Blocking streets and causing traffic jams doesn’t actually do anything about their so-called grievances, but it sure does alienate a bunch of people who may have otherwise supported some elements of their cause. I wish they’d put half as much effort into explaining to people that running from, talking smack to, and resisting the police is the cause of 99% of these issues and that maybe if people stopped doing that they might have better outcomes!

  • justinbc

    Sheesh, these comments. Glad I was busy today…

Comments are closed.