A week ago, thanks to the Unlimited Voices donations, I was able to distribute cards to protesters at the Pink Houses, on the one-month anniversary of Akai Gurley’s death, in the lobby of the building where he was murdered by police. Earlier that week I gave cards to Eric Garner’s family and supporters in Staten Island.
The most moving part of my week was singing along with Erica Garner, Eric Garner’s daughter. I posted a very low-quality video on Youtube (the sound is good!). The song is called “I Can’t Breathe,” and it is really beautiful.
But later that week, we got really tragic news: a man shot his girlfriend and killed two N.Y.P.D. officers before killing himself. It’s always horrific to hear about things like this, but it was especially devastating to hear major news outlets report that this man was acting in connection with—or inspired by—Black Lives Matter protests, even though the evidence suggests he acted alone. What we do know is that before aiming a gun at police officers, he shot his girlfriend Shaneka Thompson. When I heard that, I immediately thought of Sex and World Peace, a book that explains how the biggest determinant of violence outside the home is violence against wimyn inside the home (you can read more about it here).
The Black Lives Matter movement is a peaceful movement against violence. We were sad to hear about the murders of two police officers, just as we are sad to hear about any murder. One of the most eloquent Black Lives Matter activists put it this way:
That is exactly how I feel and how all the protesters and family members of murdered civilians that I have met feel. I’m very inspired by the peaceful protests and vigils over the past week in New York City, which demonstrate our commitment to peace and to positive change in society. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Right now Devin and I are visiting his family in Wisconsin for the holidays, but when we get back, I’ll continue distributing MetroCards. We’ve exceeded our goal, so I’ve been able to buy even more cards than expected, and I found a way to save $1 off the cost of each card. Thanks to that I’ve been able to get unlimited ride MetroCards and some roundtrip cards. If you’d like to donate, it’s not too late. I’ll gladly continue to distribute cards as long as activists continue to protest. For now, all signs point to a long-term movement. We’re willing to march until real change happens.
In solidarity and love,