Woke this morning to a crash of thunder. It does rain in Seattle, but the thunderstorms are rare and worthy of getting up to watch with a cup of coffee. We even stood outside under the umbrella to get the full effect, but the cold and the wet are not major draws and we decided to go back inside. Looked like after that excitement it was going to be another boring day in quarantine. Sat with the two youngest and reviewed social media and the violence that occurred last night. Cried at the videos of police brutality and the injustice of it all.
Then my eldest daughter and her best friend called to say they were going to the protests. My younger daughter was in, and my son was upset he had to work. My kids make me proud so often. As a mom I was terrified, proud, and fighting my own mind: I just wanted to numb myself with Netflix to escape the Covid-stupidity, but terrified of not being there for my girls in a situation that could get dangerous. Besides, it was cold and rainy out. So, we suited up and got ready to go.
My daughter’s best friend is a college grad, studying to get into med-school, and a nationally renowned track and field athlete training for the 2020 Olympics next year. When she goes running in the neighborhood to work out she makes sure to take her ID because she is also Black. The things she has to manage for because of her skin color stun me and make me weep.
In the car downtown she gets on the phone and asks her friend if she’s going to the protests and says, bring your white allies with you if you can. It makes me cry behind my mask. Soon after we get to Westlake there are large booms that send the crowd running. The tension and adrenaline are so high because we are scared of the police. This is the whole reason we are here. We are scared of the police.
We were part of the peaceful protest, that’s what they called one of the three protests happening in Seattle today. But all three were downtown and you could hear the flash bangs going off a couple streets over. Most people were there for the right reason and you could hear it when the Black Pastors started praying. But, there were those that were there to stir shit, like the two white guys that were watching people and saying it was the Blacks killing the Blacks. Yeah, I saw you. I heard you and watched you re-cover your faces and walk away. Like the skinny white guy who spray painted “fuck the virus” on the granite before my husband chased you away.
But the helpers were out too. I saw you. The couple handing out waters, the brave chick who yelled at the guy with a hammer in his backpack and made him throw it in the trash. I saw you. When you dug it out of the trash and dumped it down the drain. I saw that too. Even the Black guy who walked by us and said “Look at you, so white and scared AF.” That made us laugh. I saw you see us.
My youngest who deals with anxiety was such a trooper. With flash-bangs going off and people running, she didn’t want to leave, even with tears running down her face. The police kept us from marching peacefully so we stayed listening to the speakers and took comfort in being there. Letting our people know, we hear you.
As an avid fan of the Twitter platform, I watched what was happening far (but still too close) from us and saw both virtually and in the air around us when things started to get tense. We left as soon as the scanners told the undercover cops to get out of the crowd. We were in the car when the alert about the Seattle curfew jarred all of our electronics. You’ll see the riots on the news, you won't see the peaceful marches and the spoken word and the singing. And people will compare this to the 1999 WTO protests and I hope they say that today had the same effect in having the world see that things just aren’t right.