In response to the recent decision to not indict police officer Darren Wilson has caused Detroit to start a wave of protest. I was fortunate enough to attend the mid day protest in Downtown Detroit at Hart Plaza. It started off quietly, a few individuals stood out in front of Hart Plaza on the main street of Jefferson and held up several signs, many of them displaying the same message. It wasn’t until members of BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) arrived and provided everyone with a sign of their own, shortly after chants started "Racist cops get out of town. By any means necessary shut them down”. Later members who stated they were from Occupy Wall-street arrived, they provided a voice for many angry Detroiter's with their portable speaker and microphone… Many people spoke out, it was a very diverse group, and their words were powerful. Out of the group a few stood out to me, you could really sense their anger by the expression on their face… and maybe I’m writing this poorly, perhaps it wasn’t anger, but maybe they were hurt, or feared for their own children. In one particular case, this was true. Leon Johnson stepped in front of Jefferson and recited a compelling speech, now I’m no true photojournalist so I won't be able to quote anything here, but he did touch on his family, being a father, and how he was worried about his daughters safety in a world where those who are suppose to protect us are the ones harming us.
After a few speeches the protesters decided it was best to march, first location, the 4th precinct. There the same chants began; Several officers were inside and they wanted to make sure their voices were heard… But were they? By this time even the news had left them alone, no one was out there, and the people weren’t standing for that.
One individual came out and spoke up and said that their voices needed to be echoed, and spoke on how distribution was the only way that would happen, several suggestions were provided, one stated that not shopping on Black Friday was the answer, others mentioned burning buildings, but the final choice was marching on to the I-75 freeway to shutdown traffic… which is what they did. They took their voices to the street, in the matter of minutes they were able to attract several polices officers, the news, and even an overhead helicopter. It was a dangerous, yet courages effort.
The police on the other hand weren’t to fond of the idea, and they were eventually blocked off and forced to exit the freeway on Mack. The march didn’t stop there though, they continued to stomp and chant onto the Wayne State campus, where they marched through the library and asked the students, teachers and whoever else to join their efforts.
Ben Dickson, who didn’t attend Wayne State did so, he jumped in and began to share the words of many others, "Justice for Michael brown. We will shut this city down”. I asked him why he decided to take par in the rally, he simply stated that he just wanted to support the cause and thought it was the right thing to do, he also mentioned that he wanted to just kill time…
After a brief talk wit him I decided I would ask a few others what they thought of the protest, and if they felt what happened that day was going to help in any kind of way.
Mikera, a resident of Detroit stated that any little bit can be effective, she also went on to say that we as Detroiter's need to collectively come together on these type of events, and that having several events made it less impactful. She said the freeway was good press, and she'd be willing to stay out there for as long as it took.
Liana Mullholland, member of BAMN went on to say that she honestly didn't know what to expect from the rally, she said as a city, and country, we needed this, that a badge is not a license to end someone's life, and that she wanted this protest to not only defend the indictment of Michael Brown, but to prevent it from happened in the future.
I for one don't have an opinion on the event, at least one that I want to share publicly but all in all it was a great experience. I felt a rush that I have never felt before, time flew by so fast, I didn't think about food, or my problems or anything… I just wanted to take pictures and help share their passion and voice for years to come. Below is a gallery of the event, I took over 1200 pictures and uploaded the ones that I thought really told a story. I hope you all enjoy them. Keep fighting, keep marching!