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 DL Haydon
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Peace for Justice

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The Peace for Justice Rally, an Aug. 15 Houston response to the situation in Ferguson, was more of a circle of thoughts and ideas and feelings than a slacktivist slam where everyone jumps on Twitter and calls it a day. I could tell you about the dozen or so police officers who arrived early at Discovery Green, chatted for a bit and left after they realized there wasn’t going to be a mob. I could tell you about the couple of reporters who showed up and looked around for their soundbites and snapshots, only to find about two-dozen young people who had no plans to protest in some sensational fashion. I could tell you how there was a heated situation in Fifth Ward which probably siphoned a lot of the attention away.

Or I could tell you about the dialogue they had for the better part of two hours. There was a sign-up list with everyone’s name and contact info, but for the interests of anonymity (not to mention several attendees highlighted that they didn’t want the situation to be about them), here is a chronological summary of the discussion, names omitted:

“It’s not about how many people show up. It’s about what you do with the people you have.”

“This is going to keep happening. Because we allow it to happen.”

“There’s going to be more Chris Browns. There’s going to be more Trayvon Martins.”

“We’re expected to get angry.”

“How do you go from ‘it’s legal for you to film me’ to ‘OK I’m going to arrest you for filming me’?”

“One day we can get to the point where it can’t happen again.”

“Is the whole idea just to get the police to stop?”

“One of the things people can do is get involved in the political process. If we have officials WE voted into office and they don’t do what we agree with, what do we do? Nothing.”

“There’s nothing right about this man being killed. But we don’t even know about our rights. How many people here can honestly say, you do not know what your rights are?”

“I kind of disagree with that. I’m from Houston but I’ve lived in Austin. We didn’t have political leaders backing us.”

“My way out, will have to be violence. Money or war. We can either go on strike, hit them in their pockets-“

“I don’t want my brothers in the streets, fighting police. We’re not going to win. How many people do we want to fall in the streets?”

“My thing is this: if you’ve never said anything positive, or never said a positive word to anybody, why should I hear what you have to say?”

“It’s a bandwagon. We can keep talking about what we could do, or what we should do, going on about the Civil Rights movement, we can’t talk about what the world did in the 1960’s. The world has changed. You work within the realms of the law. We should be here to talk about going forward. They’ve got more than a fire hose for you when you go out into the streets thinking you know something. At the end of the day “Rah Rah” don’t get you shit. I’ll say a prayer for you on my way to the peace rally.”

“This is really a rally because we’re all talking and saying about how we feel. When do you think we need to meet again?”

“I got on Twitter this morning. I want to cry sometimes because we’re looking bad. We’re not like that.”

“The thing is I want the people in the movement to speak for themselves. You don’t have to have an Al Sharpton or a Sheila Jackson Lee.”

“Our generation and the younger generation are lost. They’ve got short attention spans.”

“A few people want to get buses and send them up there.”

“They’ll turn them around. They’re turning them all around.”

“Just because we’re not getting publicity we’re going to do nothing?”

“It’s not about how we feel, it’s about what’s right. What’s wrong.”

“I’ve been in a rage for the last two weeks. This has been a huge calm-down for me. Whoever organized this, I can do nothing but thank you.”

The next day I received a message from one of the organizers in regards to a police camera petition they wanted to support.


They also promised additional meetings and rallies. More to come.


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