There is still a weight on my chest; a pain, a knot of worry and fear. It is a tension that is difficult to express. Even I don’t feel the power of my own words when I try to describe what the night and its aftermath are like.
Our physical surroundings are the same: the same streets, the same rooms, the same people in those rooms, except we now bear the burden of unrest. We are shaken. My hands are unsteady, his are scraped. He rubs his eyes; more tears. We watch him scream, disoriented and furious. It has been 15 hours since the police fired rubber bullets into the mass of protestors and repeatedly doused the crowd with tear gas, but we are not recovered.
The fog lies low over the Bay, but it is more of a haze, a reminder that the air we breathe contaminated with noxious gas, fear, and brutality. The violence, the anger, the chanting, the helicopter’s search light and the echoing bangs of smoke grenades were all invasion of our peace, our streets. When we stepped out this morning, it was tentatively. I was unsure of what the night of unrest had left behind. Save for “fuck the police” tagged on a couple of buildings, it seemed as if the whole world had callously managed to forget what had gone on before; what fury these darkened streets had channeled.
We forget too quickly and not quickly enough. It is easy to lose track of the frustration once the pent up energy has been let out, once the chanting mass has dispersed and the sun has come up. But it isn’t nearly as simple to ease the undercurrent of fear and persecution.
This unease, this sense that we cannot speak without being beaten and gassed, is our reason for protest, and when we see citizens treated not like humans but like cattle being prodded on to slaughter, we are united in combat against the oppression of police brutality.
Black lives matter.