Activist Monday: My Kind of Protest!
Posted October 6, 2014on:
Good Monday, Widdershins! Wow, that was an active sports weekend here at TW. I hope you all had fun with football and baseball! (My husband says October is the best month of the year because of the World Series and the end of Chat’s Dark Times, and it sounds like most of you agree.)
Something else happened over the weekend which combined both of my passions: feet-on-the-street activism and classical music, so I thought I’d post about it today.
Just after intermission, about 50 people interrupted the St. Louis Symphony’s performance of Brahms Requiem on Saturday night, singing “Justice for Mike Brown.”
As symphony conductor Markus Stenz raised his baton to begin the second act of German Requiem, one middle-aged African-American man stood up in the middle of the theater and sang, “What side are you on friend, what side are you on?”
In an operatic voice, another woman located a few rows away stood up and joined him singing, “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all.” Several more audience members sprinkled throughout the theater and in the balcony rose up and joined in the singing.
Those in the balcony lowered white banners about 15 feet long with black spray-painted letters that said, “ Requiem for Mike Brown 1996-2014” and “Racism lives here,” with an arrow pointed to a picture of the St. Louis Arch. Another banner said, “Rise up and join the movement.”
I am very comfortable saying, at this point, that I believe Michael Brown was shot and killed for WWB (Walking While Black). This is completely unacceptable. It’s the equivalent of Saudi Arabian Wahhabis killing women because their burqas slipped and exposed a wrist or an ankle. Really, Ferguson police? Is this the example you want to follow? I’ll bet if you asked those men who shot Michael Brown what they thought of radical Islam, they would respond with a sense of moral superiority. From where I’m standing, I see not superiority, but similarity.
Of course, the organizer of the protest was a woman. A white one, in fact. (Take that, Third Wavers.)
The St. Louis American tracked down and interviewed the organizer of the event – Sarah Griesbach, 42, a white woman who lives in the Central West End. She said that the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, has opened her eyes to the inequalities that exist in St. Louis. She has been protesting since Brown was shot on Aug. 9.
“It is my duty and desire to try to reach out and raise that awareness peacefully but also to disrupt the blind state of white St. Louis, particularly among the people who are secure in their blindness,” said Griesbach.
The group of demonstrators was…a mix of African Americans, Latino and white residents – from college kids to college professors, she said. There were “representatives” from Clayton, Webster Groves, South St. Louis, Central West End and Ferguson. Although she lives in the Central West End, her children attend school in Clayton. As a mother, she has been deeply affected by Brown’s death.
“This cannot be just a Ferguson issue,” she said.
Here is the video of the protest. I hope that someday soon, the murderers of that young man will be jailed for life.
This is an open thread.
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