Black Lives Matters Activist Marissa Janae Johnson, cofounder of the Seattle Chapter Black Lives Matter, over took the stage from Senator Bernie Sanders I-VT, a Presidential hopeful at a rally in Seattle on Saturday August 8th. This direct action by Seattle Black Lives Matter was strategically timed as other Black Lives Matter protests across the country, in response to police brutality that has taken a toll on the American people. Best noted; Ferguson, Missouri.
The rally was to specifically address the growing needs of the Baby Boomer generation. The topics covered Medicare and Social Security to a largely white elderly contingent present to hear Senator Bernie Sanders speak about what he would do if he were president.
The Seattle chapter Black Lives Matter is responsible for bringing to the national Presidential debate the need for social change. In a daring strong arm styled take over, the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter—with their coercive threat of a larger demonstration—over took nonviolently. They took the mic (and words) from Senator Bernie Sanders, giving America a larger introduction to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black Lives Matter, at risk to their personal liberty, stormed the stage demanding that the message be made a part of the national conversation. They welcomed Senator Bernie Sanders to Seattle and the Pacific North West. They informed Senator Bernie Sanders of the social inequality and Racism that historically has plagued Seattle.
Black Lives Matter vocalized important issues not only of the Black people of Seattle but also the Social Injustices that have been dealt to the Duwamish—a Native people indigenous to the Pacific Northwest. A people not recognized by the Federal Government. A people whose land is now named after a Great Duwamish Chief, Chief Si’ahl.
The fact that the City of Seattle built a new jail that is going to house the children of the Black community.
The fact that the City of Seattle had segregation laws prior to desegregation, inequitable laws that laid the ground work for institutional Racism.
The fact that Black issues are the issues relevant to the impoverished in this country, as poor people are under represented by the elected government. This understanding of history is not usually given media attention by the major news networks.
The reality of social inequality belongs to the disenfranchised Black and Poor American people, not to the conservative White oligarchy responsible to govern or the media moguls who own mass public persuasion. A reality of those living at or below the poverty line is often dark-skinned, not Caucasian in appearance. A poverty usually overlooked by speeding presidential campaign buses that never stop in places with names and problems like Ferguson Missouri.
Marissa Janae Johnson’s message attacks the mind of White America. Saturating White America with words of frustration and anger, her voice a cry for compassion and change—“Black Lives Matter”. In frustration she cements the majority White crowd with a shotgun blast remark proclaiming the boo-ers and nay-sayers as racist, intentionally offending many. Marissa Janae Johnson’s strength is her struggle. She was visibly overcome with emotion. She asks for, “four minutes thirty seconds of silences” to mark the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. A representation of the time in hours and minutes spent by Michael Brown dead on Canfield Street, Ferguson, Missouri after he was lynched dead by former Police Officer Darren Wilson.
Michael Brown was shot six times while his hands were up in a position gesturing surrender. With disregard for human life the Police and other Emergency Responders failed to preform first aid on Michael Brown, attempt to resuscitate Michael Brown, or take Michael Brown to the hospital within the golden period, where saving Michael Brown’s life might have been possible. This moment in America History where Michael Brown was left to lie dead in the hot Missouri sun, burned into the memory of Ferguson residents.
A Grand jury later failed to indict Darren Wilson on any criminal wrong doing. This bigotry incited riots November 2014 to January 2015.
The Federal government failed also to bring charges against Darren Wilson further dividing America.
The after effect of Marissa Janae Johnson and Black Lives Matter Seattle chapter commandeering of the stage is that Senator Bernie Sanders within six hours had his new Press Secretary Symone D. Sanders, “of no relation to the Senator” introduce him at the University of Washington Alaska Airlines Arena. Symone D. Sanders who suspiciously just happened to be on the West Coast and available six hours after the interruption.
Symone D. Sanders—a Black Activist—is a volunteer at the DC based Coalition for Juvenile Justice and has roots in a Ralph Nader organization. While she is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, some may see this as damage control—a large band aid. Others may see this as a more strategic part of the bigger picture as Senator Bernie Sanders is running for President of all The United States of America, not just some of it.
At the University Of Washington Symone D. Sanders addressed Social inequality and Black concerns adding names to the roll call of people killed by police brutality over the years.
Stating that “Senator Bernie Sanders was the candidate most likely to address those issues,” Symone D. Sanders proclaimed “Senator Bernie Sanders to be the one who is most capable of bringing racial justice, social justice and economic justice to The United States of America.”
This is an important change in style and rhetoric as Senator Bernie Sanders heads into larger cities and further into the South where more people of color hold majority status. Senator Bernie Sanders has to appeal to the Hispanic barrios and the Black neighborhoods in order to gain their support.
Senator Bernie Sanders addressed the crowd at the University of Washington with promises of cheaper education yet said nothing about Black Lives himself.
The message of Black Lives Matter is completely against the cut of the main stream media’s grain of the issues that need to be addressed by Presidential candidates thereby forcing main stream America to address the problems that face The United States of America a country where Bigotry, Racism, and Social Inequality still exist. Not just tuning the TV into Black problems when disenfranchised people living in a system of repression feel it necessary to protest and riot.
The United States is a loosely allied country of fifty recognized states where the local municipalities act autonomous like independent city states. Cities able to quale those in dissent of unequitable policies and laws; municipalities that are able to deploy militarized police or, on a governor’s authority, a state’s Army National Guard against unarmed civilians.
A federal government that allows totalitarian municipalities to act in disregard to the first law of the land—The United States Constitution—to maintain dictatorial control over a free people.
A federal government that allows municipalities to use the Judicial system to collect revenue; in the name of “Fines” this Sheriff of Nottingham approach of taxation by the discriminatory practice or over criminalizing and harassment of a people with law enforcement.
Tyrannizing a segment of the populace until the populace is traumatized into action against the overbearing municipality.
In Ferguson, the same weekend as the Senator Bernie Sanders interruption, the police shot more young Black people and have arrested hundreds more for acts of civil disobedience against a racist Ferguson establishment. Police from Ferguson and surrounding cities converged in riot gear, met and clashed with protesters creating a national disturbance. While America watched on social media and the national news, they saw the people’s civil liberties infringed upon and murder by police committed in the street. The governor of Missouri deployed, surrounding Ferguson in a state of emergency with the Missouri National Guard.
Private militias most notable the New Black Panthers and The Oath Keepers decided it was a good idea to protect the populations First Amendment rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. With the open carry of military-style weapons the exercise of the Second Amendment right. This is a direct result of police brutalizing protesters for exercising their constitutional rights to the First Amendment under the Bill of Rights.
The Black Lives Matter’s message is at open conflict with the current government. Daily, the Black Lives Matter movement fights to keep the violence and injustice against Black People in a socially biased America on people’s minds. Substantial footing in the main stream psyche of America brings the issues of poverty and Racial Inequality further into the average Americans mind making it the number one issue this presidential election season.
Addressing Police Brutality is not high on the list of things to speak about for many of the Presidential hopefuls though people are in the street demanding it be addressed. If Senator Bernie Sanders was to take a leading roll it would set a great precedence as the current President of the United States is lacking in words and actions to address the long standing crises of institutional racism.
The City of Ferguson has voted against the Department of Justice’s proposed reforms showing its ability to disregard Federal intervention and authority. Why should Black America believe that any new President will bring change to the tyranny that is their America?
With Ferguson, Missouri being militarily occupied—freedom to address the government is suspended. More civil unrest are more than likely to happen unless all the people’s grievances are addressed by the current President of the United States, President Obama. It seems a long ways away to have one of the twenty or so presidential hopefuls will be sworn-in January 2017 address such a pressing social concern bringing so many into the streets
The issues of racial justice, social justice and economic justice need to be addressed today, not eighteen months from now.
John Chacon likes to call himself “a bum in Olympia who writes from a bum’s perspective.”