Wearing a Hoodie, Carrying Candy, and Being Black Should Not Get You Killed

I am not one to openly speak about my beliefs, unless prompted or in a situation where the Irish Pub Rules do not apply. Tonight I was moved by those who do. During rehearsal for my dance company’s performance this weekend we were interrupted by the noise of protesters coming through the open studio windows. Looking down the five stories to the area surrounding Union Square we saw and heard thousands of people marching. It was part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but more importantly a rally for justice in the Trayvon Martin murder, the 17 year-old who was killed in “self-defense” in Florida last month.

There was something truly moving about looking down at all of these people who care enough about others and the world they live in to spend their time gathering to make their voices heard. Their energy was palpable and their presence in mass numbers was difficult to turn away from. My dancers and I spent a long time simply hanging out of the windows observing the scene below. I choose to make my voice heard through my art. These people choose to make their voices heard through public protests and demonstrations. Both are forms of performance in a way. It was a beautiful mixing as my dancers and I rehearsed while our fellow New Yorkers took to the streets. We were all, in our own ways, trying to make the world a more just, tolerant, and equal place.

It is hard not to care, not to feel outraged, when a young person with his whole life ahead of him is violently killed for no apparent reason. Okay, we all know the apparent reason was his skin color. We want to believe we have come so far, we want to believe that we truly are a society that offers equal treatment to all, but the reality is we still have a long way to go. The fact that so many people, from so many backgrounds and with so many skin colors, care is a light of hope though.


About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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