Yesterday, even as I was contemplating taking a break from Facebook, I noticed that there was an event calling for people to come downtown for a protest re: Ferguson. The goal was to get Governor Nixon to de-escalate the police presence in Ferguson, remove the National Guard, arrest the officer who killed Michael Brown, etc. I decided to go and asked several friends to come, including Hedy Epstein. Since she no longer drives, I picked her up and away we went to Kiener Plaza.
Upon getting there, one of the organizers asked Hedy if she was “arrestable.” She said, “Sure.” For the next hour or so, there was chanting, listening to speakers and then Obama’s live address of the events, and then marching to the Wainwright State Building where the 200 of us demanded a meeting with the governor. Before we were told he wasn’t in, the microphone was passed around and people spoke from the heart, sometimes a very outraged heart, like those who had been beaten and tear-gassed the night before in Ferguson by the police forces. Like those who came from faraway (NYC, DC) because they, too, had loved ones gunned down by the police. Like those locally who live with racial profiling and harassment every day.
Finally, we were told the governor wasn’t in, and there was some deliberating as to our options. The nine arrestables decided to press the issue, and nine of them refused to disperse from the front door when ordered, so they were arrested. Below is a photo of Hedy. (On Saturday night about 80 of us gathered at a friend’s condo in Clayton to celebrate Hedy’s 90th birthday.) I went to the Jefferson Street station to pick her up as they were released with an order to appear in court in October.
Local organizers in the Palestine Solidarity Committee encouraged Hedy to do press work on her arrest. This was about 6:30 pm. By three hours later, she’d been interviewed by phone by the BBC, Washington Post, and many others. She said she was willing to do whatever if it would help the cause against police brutality.
People were saying that this is much bigger than Michael Brown, that a movement is spreading across the country because this police-instigated violence is systematic and relentless. Any talk about this in Phoenix?
Perhaps we can discuss all that is gonig on here (and there) when you come back in a few weeks, although I suspect many people will be wanting face to face time with you.
Oh, a belated birthday present is in the mail, probably to arrive a couple days after you read this.
Palms together, grateful for you, Yogini,