Peaceful Protests Go Unrecognized

by Tori Newby ’22

On Saturday, May 31, I attended a protest in the nation’s capital. Organized by Black Lives Matter DC, the event was targeted to protest racism, police brutality, and the death of George Floyd. The protest was strictly drive-by due to coronavirus safety concerns, so my mom and I put our homemade poster in the car and headed for a Safeway parking lot in southeast DC, where the moving protest would begin at four o’clock. We were almost there, when we reached heavy traffic on the overpass. The route had not been released, so if we missed the departure, then we would be out of luck, but one by one, other drivers and passengers in the traffic began opening their doors and hanging up posters on their cars. 

I climbed in the backseat to prop up our poster on the back windshield. It was exciting to see that the heavy traffic consisted of passionate protesters, like us. When we finally reached the end of the overpass, there were protesters sticking out of their sunroofs, honking horns, and homemade signs attached to almost everybody’s cars. It was slow moving due to the large number of people, but we followed the traffic and honking around the city. I checked the Black Lives Matter DC Facebook page for updates, and at one point, 500 cars were reported to be on 8th street. There seemed to be endless protesters from our perspective, and we were on 7th. Residents of the houses along the route stepped outside, yelling and banging pots and pans. The protest lasted hours and we successfully blocked off many roads, all from the safety of our cars, violence-free. 

Over the past few days, I have been looking online and in the newspapers to find out exactly how many people attended the protest. However, the only search results are riots and looting, buildings aflame, protesters pepper sprayed, tear gassed, or arrested. The media has been underrepresenting the Americans who have been peacefully fighting for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. There have been many nonviolent protests across the country, but only the violent ones seem to be attracting the media’s attention. Some people, including President Trump, use the riots as leverage against our cause, when in reality, many protests are executed without causing any harm or damage.