It was a warm, July afternoon. The sun beat down upon my face as I walked past throngs of Black Lives Matter signs. Dressed in a shirt with “AΦA” on the front, and a black hoodie, I walked side by side with men, women, and children of countless races outside of the Cincinnati Police Department to protest the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. By the time I had arrived the crowd was in the thousands; The Cincinnati chapter of Black lives Matter had a stage set up and after several speakers and poets come to the stage, Sam DuBose’s mother and daughter spoke of the murder of their son and father. Less than 200 feet from two victims of one of the most infamous cases of police murder in the Midwest.
For those who don’t know the tragic case of Sam DuBose, he was a Cincinnati resident that was shot in the head by a police officer in 2015. The officer claimed to have been dragged by DuBose’s car (which only was moving because his lifeless body was in the driver’s seat), but body cam footage showed that his claim was false. To see two living representations of pain for one person was almost overwhelming. We all chanted in unison, “Black power! Black Power!” as roars of applause followed afterward. As the march began, I could notice police observing us from a street overlooking the police department; in vans nearby, there were officers in riot gear and with assault rifles. They all were on high alert as the march began. We entered the street and shortly walked into downtown. Onlookers cheered and watched with timid curiosity as we shouted and marched in the streets of Cincinnati.We ended the march in nearby Washington Park. We spoke the names, of those taken by police brutality, out loud and even sang happy birthday to Philando Castille.
We ended the protest after about two hours, which gave me time to reflect. It made me reflect on why we needed to have a protest like this, why must the complete disregard for black lives exist? I recall, on the drive home, about the possibility of whether or not I could be next in the long line of murders committed by law enforcement. It’s a burdening thought; I thought of my family and the consequences it would bring to them if I were to die. It was later that night that, with fellow students from Xavier University, that I helped hold a check in for those emotionally affected by the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Sterling. We spoke of our emotions on the matter, some of sadness, some of anger, others of pain. As for myself, I felt intense feelings of both; I felt intense anger for police, yet a deeply overwhelming sense of sadness and pain for my people. During this discussion I had an epiphany; the movement can be a mix of both negative and positive emotion. A movement fueled by anger and guided by love.