When I lived in Washington DC, I would frequent the National Mall. One afternoon, I saw a group of protestors for the treatment of the Falun Gong in China. They were doing slow motion exercise, in my mind, similar to Tai Chi. They didn’t say anything, just the movements and then they had a sign next to them. That was over 10 years ago and I still remember the Falun Gong. It created an awareness in me.
I lived right across the street from the Pentagon when 9/11 happened. I went to my fair share of candlelight vigils. I saw for a moment what a police state might be as military surrounded the roads in and out of my apartments and sharpshooters watched entrances. It created in me a feeling of being unsettled of having to watch over my shoulder.
I was in the belly of the underground metro stations with mobs of people trying to call loved ones, trying to get out of Washington DC, unsure if more planes were coming, with cell coverage blocked and train after train not running. Masses of people pushing their way up the still escalators and many people panicking and yelling. Complete chaos. It created in me a pure survivalist mode.
I have not been racially profiled, but I have been discriminated against because of my gender and my religion. I have been sneered at, spat at and looked down upon. These actions against me created an isolation in me and sometimes created a me/them attitude.
While I have not ever participated in a violent riot, I do agree in general terms with this statement:
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention.
And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.”–Martin Luther King Jr. (March 14, 1968)
People will be heard. Mob mentality is not something to be trifled with. When emotions build up over time, and many people become involved, expression seeks it’s own no matter the cost or logical reasoning. The hard part about Baltimore for me is while I am sure there is some racial profiling, while I am sure there is a some culture of violence, I am also sure that many of those suffering from the riots are innocent bystanders and small businesses – not all of them white. And while some people are trying to be heard they are hurting their community and others in the process.
Injustices against me? I am a writer and a gatherer. I write about them, sometimes for you, sometimes just for me. I gather people in with similar experiences and we work and talk, heal and learn to inform our emotions in different ways to gain perspectives. I raise awareness like the Falun Gong I once saw.
How do you deal with injustices against you, against your race, gender, family or religion? What are your thoughts on Baltimore?