Community: Meet a Protestor for BLM in Bothell, WA
Interviewer: Vy Nguyen; June 11, 2020
Interviewee's name has been removed for privacy.
Protestors gather in Seattle, WA in support of the Black Lives Matter movement (Interviewee).
Hi, could you tell us about who you are?
I am a current junior at Jackson High school.
How was your experience at a Black Lives Matter protest?
I think that the experience was really good, it was very well organized. The protest was in Seattle, in a big park and when we got there we saw a wall with “No Justice, No peace.” written on it. There were also signs everywhere that discussed racism. There was music playing, it was really nice. There was also a tree people could right on to show support for black lives matter. There were stations for many useful things. There was a station there where you could sign up to vote. There was a station where you could make posters if you did not have one already. There was also a station where you could get snacks, water, and masks if you did not have those things already.
When it first started off, there were introductions and readings. There were readings of poems relating to the black lives matter movement and about how everyone was feeling. Time and space was created to let people of color speak and there were raps and readings done by them. There was also a white person who spoke and addressed the other white people and told them that white people are guests and should listen and be an ally. When the march actually started, we started to march out onto the street. There was a stereo where music would play in the background and the black leaders would always start the chants. There were a lot of people and we walked really far. Along the way there were wagons and they would stop and give people water, burgers, and burritos. There were also times where the march would stop and the people in the back of the march catch up. We went to the skyscrapers in Seattle and we also walked onto the highway. There were cars that passed by that would honk and show support. There were bikers that would block the intersections so that people could walk which was nice. Once we got to a certain intersection in Seattle we all sat down to listen to more poc speakers. There was speaking and singing. Then we all took a moment of silence, the 8 minutes and 46 seconds for George Floyd. Then something scary happened. A car started honking because they were coming down and they were about to run into all of the protesters so we all had to scatter which was kind of traumatic. When we got back they discussed about how things like that car trying to run us over wasn’t going to stop us and that we need to keep fighting.
"When we got back they discussed about how things like that car trying to run us over wasn’t going to stop us and that we need to keep fighting."
What were the most important things you took away from attending a protest?
Nothing can stop us! This is a movement and you cannot just attend a protest and think everything is okay. You have to keep fighting through all the obstacles. We need to keep fighting for the movement. And we needed to be educated and that is really important.
How did you see the community come together, did you feel supported and did you support others?
Yes, I definitely felt supported. There were so many people who came out and there were people who came out to watch and cheer us on. The community really came together to support one thing and one movement. People were helping each other out a lot
A protestor holds a hand-made sign in defiance of systemic racism (Interviewee).
What changes do you think we need in this country?
I think that we need to defund the police and put that money toward the community. I think we need to put more money into schools and other things that would help us. I think that there should be more money put into programs that would let us call the police less because those programs already help us within our communities.
Why do you think that it is important that the youth of this country come together at this time?
Since everything has been happening and people are fighting, voices have been heard and they are starting to make a lot of changes. I feel like if we start to lose momentum now, it won’t regain for a long time so we need to keep fighting. People are all starting to educate themselves because of George Floyd and we need to come together now. We need to leave an impact now.
How do you think law enforcement should be held accountable, what changes do you think need to be made within this system?
There should be a lot of bans put in place. There should be a ban on rubber bullets and tear gas when used against peaceful protestors. There should be accountability if an officer uses unnecessary and excessive force. There should be a ban on chokeholds and kneeholds. Police officers should be fired or get into trouble for covering up their body cameras or if they ask people to stop recording what the police officer may be doing.
It is a difficult fight but many have kept going strong, what has kept your strength in this movement?
What has kept my strength is the hope of change. We need to do better for our children and we need to do better for us, as a country. People should not be getting lynched in 2020; things need to change and we need to fight for it.
"People should not be getting lynched in 2020..."
How have you been taking care of your mental health during these times?
Sometimes I take a break from social media. I am trying not to stress so much all the time. I try to stay calm and just do my best to fight for the movement.
Have you had difficult conversations within friend groups and family? Do you think there is more conversation that needs to be held?
Yes I have. I have had conversations with most of my family. I try to explain and talk about the movement a lot because this movement needs to be kept strong.
How will you keep fighting for the movement moving forward?
I want to attend more protests and spread more awareness on my social media. And whenever someone says something racist or is confused about the movement, I want to speak out. I want to be anti-racist.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone, what would it be?
To educate yourself. Look at both sides of the story and don’t be so closed minded.