"Does it matter if I show up?"
Leading up to the Violence in Boston vigil in Jamaica Plain, I was torn on whether to attend. Surely, they don't need me; enough people will be there. There's the risk of COVID-19 and police aggression. One person's attendance isn't going to change the outcome of this vigil.
A voice in the back of my head remembered a conversation I had with a very wise friend. On Sunday, she had said, "If you believe the life of a person is more important than economic loss or anything else, it's your duty to protect those who don't have the same level of freedoms as you." And, it's true - as a white woman, I'm less likely to be arrested or shot by police during a protest. I'm less likely to be discriminated against than a person of color. By not attending and staying silent, I was accepting the status quo, despite it being unjust.
No one should feel afraid of the very people that should be protecting all of society, regardless of their race, religion, or overall identity. Each person in society does need to do more to understand what causes racism, oppression, and discrimination, and take meaningful steps to fight those causes.
Honestly, I'm not sure if my participation altered the goings on at all, but the goings on had a great effect on me. Sure, if I hadn't gone, I could have still supported people of color through my purchases or services remotely. But, to me, I needed to be in that crowd to find my own commitment to this cause; to voice my anger and show that I would stand to protect my fellow human beings.
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