A Foreword and a Disclaimer
It’s very difficult for me to write about what is going on in the U.S. right now without getting upset. The same goes for a lot of other people, and they are still finding the strength to write about it. I thought I might try, but I don’t have anything new to add to the conversation that well-spoken people have not said already. And I’m afraid I would make a mistake somewhere along the way, and I don’t want to distract from the real problem with my unintentional ignorance. Let’s focus on the real issues.
So in lieu of trying to explain what is going on and how we should be responding to it myself, I’m going to post a list of links at the bottom of this entry for you to peruse. And I hope you do, because even though I’m not going to talk about the events that led to this protest, it is important to know what is going on.
Inform yourself. Don’t believe everything you read or hear on the news (which is hardly a good resource for truth, regardless of what side of the political spectrum it’s on).
And please, when you see people marching in the streets, have some compassion. They are feeling a pain that you cannot possibly understand.
And the worst thing is, you should.
Tokyo Stands with Ferguson
On Saturday, I went to a solidarity march for Ferguson. For Mike Brown. For Eric Garner. For all the black children killed by cops in the United States. It’s a goddamn tragedy.
And much of the international community is not going to stand for it.
One of my friends was an organizer for this march. She and a few friends decided that they needed to show their support for the protestors in the United States, like people all over the world are doing. But since this is Japan, they needed it to be legally sanctioned.
So they went to the police. Because you can actually do that here.
They went to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department to ask for permission, and according to my friend, the Tokyo police were very supportive and accommodating. They were very excited, she said, to support this march, because apparently even other police are appalled by police actions in the United States. They gave the march a permit and a traffic lane, and they accompanied us all the way around Shibuya with a police car leading us.
I was a little nervous when I arrived, because it was my first protest/political action event ever. I didn’t participate in the protests against tuition hikes in college, because people were angry and scary. But I didn’t get that feeling from these people at all. People are angry, of course, but they are rallying together to fight for justice, and that is something I can believe in.
It was a well-organized protest, and everyone was incredibly nice and friendly. It helped that I knew people there, though there were a few people who showed up alone. We were all there to show our support.
As we were walking, there were a lot of different reactions. Some Japanese people minding their own business just looked confused, but others seemed to know what was going on. I met a guy afterward who just joined us in our march in the middle of Shibuya. There were several other people who stopped as we passed and raised their hands in the “Don’t Shoot” position. It was touching.
I’ve been wanting to do something for Ferguson for a really long time, and with the latest news about Eric Garner’s murderer not getting indicted, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to stand up and help somehow.
Even if “helping” is only being a body in a crowd showing support. We just need to show the world that we are not going to stand for these injustices.
Thank you to everyone who showed up, and to the Tokyo Police, and to everyone around the world who is protesting in solidarity.
Saying people of color are obsessed with race
is like saying that someone is obsessed with swimming
when they’re drowning.
Photos and Videos from the March
Youtube doc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIudaUKJL2k
News Coverage: http://www.newsweek.com/ferguson-eric-garner-protests-sprawl-worldwide-289867
Information on the Injustices
The Rarity of a Federal Grand Jury Not Indicting
What Black Parents Tell Their Sons about the Police
12 Things White People Can Do
Eric Garner Case Should Have Gone to Trial
Wikipedia article on Race and the US Justice System
Black Mothers Talk About the Warnings They Have to Give Their Sons
Some people on Tumblr Talking the Real Talk