When you meet your sense of responsibility coming down the street

I had the privilege as a pre-teen of being taken by my father to a class on non-violent activism that was taught by an original student of Saul Alinsky at a church in Kansas City, Kansas. The class focused specifically on what one should do and how one should behave during the course of a street protest if s/he was directly confronted by a police officer. We were taught how to fall, how to protect our heads and faces without fighting back and, generally, how to safely passively resist. The class emphasized safety. By that time – I was twelve – I had already carried many a picket sign in many a civil rights demonstration against racial discrimination. I had passed out leaflets on the sidewalk during protests and boycotting campaigns against businesses that openly discriminated against African American job applicants. I was an expert on how far to stay away from the store entrance in order to be within the legal limits of a protest demonstration permit – though permits did not necessarily prevent the store owners or anyone else from pushing a twelve year-old girl off the curb into downtown traffic. But as you see, I’m still here. And yesterday, remembering all I had been taught, I felt called to witness a police stop and search of a very young, very polite and compliant, but nevertheless foreign-appearing young man in the Mission District of San Francisco CA. I stood twenty feet away, not even within earshot, and I was even ten feet behind the two community activists who held a vigilant but peaceful observance of the stop and search. I made this video immediately after arriving back home.

Source: When you meet your sense of responsibility coming down the street

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