Rebellion

Graffiti is a great communicator – and organizer. Remember when “I am Oscar Grant” was written, often with illustration, on every surface in Oakland, creating the solidarity that did the impossible, got a cop convicted and jailed who murdered a Black man – convicted of involuntary manslaughter and jailed for only a few months, but it was a start. – Photo: Xion Abiodun

by Xion Abiodun

In all of my 16 years of life, I have never seen a year like this. First a global pandemic, then protests break out globally in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. When I heard about the protest in my city, it instantly caught my eye. One because I am Black, two because I am pro-Black, and three because it was in my city. 

My mom doesn’t like going to protests so I asked my dad to take me. My dad has been in many protests including the Oscar Grant protests and the Ferguson protests. When we first got to the protest downtown, it was super crowded but very peaceful. Within five minutes of us getting there, the police started throwing containers of tear gas at the crowd. 

The crazy part about it was that there were many people in the crowd of all different ages. Some young and some old, all peaceful, but the police did not care. 

As soon as the police were done throwing tear gas, they let out the dogs to terrorize us. That is when the protesters started to become violent. I mean if someone was throwing tear gas and letting vicious dogs chase you, would you stay peaceful? No, you would retaliate. 

The protest never was intended to be violent. Officers made it that way.

As soon as the police were done throwing tear gas at us, me and my dad left. That is when things started to get really wild. During the protest, an FBI agent got killed and another officer got shot. Following those events came the rioting and the looting. 

The protest never was intended to be violent. Officers made it that way.

And, sadly, this is what it has been all over the country. Many protests intended to be peaceful have been forced to become violent because of the police. People are simply sick and tired of this cruel treatment Black people receive. So many people have been speaking out and standing with Black protesters. 

This has been the biggest rebellion in my lifetime and, while I’m glad we are finally rebelling, there have been some consequences. Many counties all over the country now have a curfew. This is a big problem because in some cities, curfews start as early as 1 p.m. 

This is a way for the system to silence us and to make sure we can no longer rebel. The question is how long will we be silenced? Will this curfew and this law stay in effect for months? Years? 

Xion Abiodun is a student at Madison Park Academy and can be reached at Xion.abiodun@gmail.com. She is also a dancer and a member of the Black New World Journalists Society.