Thursday, April 30, 2015

In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore

Yesterday afternoon I joined with approximately 1500 other people in a rally and march in memory of Freddie Gray and in solidarity with the people of Baltimore. The rally was held at Minneapolis' Gold Medal Park and was organized by Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Freddie Gray died of spinal injuries a week after his arrest in Baltimore on April 12. He was accused of making eye contact with a police lieutenant, then running away. When caught, he was arrested for possession of a switchblade. While being transported, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center with injuries to his spinal cord and larynx. The circumstances of the injuries remain unclear. Gray's family, however, have said his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck. Six Baltimore police officers have been suspended, as it emerged they had delayed providing Gray with medical attention despite his requests. The police department, however, has denied using force against Gray. (5/1/15 Update: "Six Officers Charged in Death of Freddie Gray" – Pamela Wood and Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun)

An ongoing series of protests and uprisings erupted in Baltimore this past Monday, April 27, after Gray's funeral. In response, thousands of forces, including National Guard troops, have been deployed throughout the city. Monday’s unrest led to more than 200 arrests, dozens of cars set on fire, and many buildings badly damaged.

For many, this violence diverts attention from the real issue: that the predominantly African American residents of West Baltimore have long suffered from police brutality and economic neglect.

Also, public reaction to Gray's death mirrors the response to other recent victims of police brutality nationwide, a disproportionate number of whom are African American males.

Related Off-sites Links:
Minneapolis Rally and March Show Support for Baltimore – Nicole Norfleet (Star Tribune, April 29, 2015).
After Baltimore Unrest, Thousands Protest in Cities Across the U.S. – Matt Pearce (Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2015).
Protests Against Police Violence Spread in U.S. – Scott Malone, Ian Simpson and Warren Strobel (Reuters via Yahoo! News, April 29, 2015).
Cutting Through the Police Propaganda in Baltimore – Sonali Kolhatkar (TruthDig, April 29, 2015).
From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation – Richard Rothstein (Working Economics, April 29, 2015).
Eyewitnesses: The Baltimore Riots Didn't Start the Way You Think – Sam Brodey and Jenna McLaughli (Mother Jones, April 28, 2015).
11 Stunning Images Highlight the Double Standard of Reactions to Riots Like Baltimore – Derrick Clifton (Identities.Mic, April 27, 2015).
Baltimore Burning: The Morning After And The Day Ahead – Charles P. Pierce (Esquire, April 28, 2015).
10 Images of the Baltimore Riots You Won't See on TV – Natasha Noman (News.Mic, April 28, 2015).
"Why So Much Anger?": If You Don’t Know, Washington Post Won’t Tell You – Jim Naureckas (FAIR, April 28, 2015).
"You Can Replace Property, You Can’t Replace a Life": Voices of the Unheard in the Baltimore StreetsDemocracy Now! (April 29, 2015).
Baltimore’s Disgrace is Its History of Police Violence – Belén Fernández (Aljazeera America, April 28, 2015).
Media Deliberately Covers Up 10,000-Strong Peaceful Protests on the Streets of Baltimore – Shante Wooten and M. David (Counter Current News, April 29, 2015).
How Western Media Would Cover Baltimore If It Happened Elsewhere – Karen Attiah (The Washington Post, April 30, 2015).

UPDATES: Freddie Gray's Death Ruled a Homicide; Six Baltimore Officers Charged – Michael Walsh (Yahoo! News, May 1, 2015).
Baltimore Celebrates After Charges in Gray's Death – Scott Malone and Ian Simpson (Reuters via Yahoo! News, May 1, 2015).
We’ve Been Here Before: Charges Don’t Guarantee Conviction – The Editors (The Root, May 2, 2015).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality
At the Mall of America, a Necessary Disruption to "Business as Usual"

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

No comments: