Coming together in the streets is one way to show our power

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro community stood strong and united on May 31 to remember the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, and all those who have brutality lost their lives to police violence across the United States.

For over two hours, through signs, chants, and music, people expressed their solidarity with the outrage and rebellion across the country.

The action ended with a short rally on the Town Common, beginning with eight minutes of silence to mark the time former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd down by the neck with his knee, resulting in Floyd's death on May 25.

Coming together in the streets is one way to show our power. But we know that racism and white supremacy do not only solely exist through police policy and brutality; white supremacy is everywhere - in our health care, schooling, and housing systems.

We must continue to confront supremacy in all forms and everywhere if we want to build new relationships amongst humans. During the rally, Dr. Janaki Natarajan implored, “It's not enough to have feelings, it's not enough to say nice things, it's not enough to recycle, it's not enough to be satisfied with ourselves, it's not enough to take care of myself.” Rather, in order to build a new world, we must continue to think, learn together, organize, and act.

Finally, we feel that it is necessary to make a statement about the moralistic line rapidly being drawn in mainstream public discourse between peaceful protests and protests where there is violence or destruction of property:

The uprisings across the country represent struggles against a long legacy of supremacy and exploitation. The actions of people in the streets are a dignified response of rage to power structures that exist to dominate people of color and poor people.

While the dominant discourse condemns actions of protesters with every sentence, the police repress protesters and instigate violence with impunity. The laws of the system were written by those in power, and we refuse to use them as a metric to determine whether an action is right.

We stand in solidarity with protests across the nation in their various forms. We know that the real destruction and violence is the legalized plunder of human labor and the Earth, resulting in untold pain and suffering of millions of people across the planet.

In a system where people have a right to private property but not to food or clean water, we will always stand with people over property.

Courage to all who struggle.

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