Local organizers of a Michael Brown rally this Saturday evening hope enough people attend to shut down streets in the H Street NE area, as a way to show officials in D.C. and across the country that they’re not afraid to “disrupt business as usual” until police departments across the country implement reforms. Last week, these organizers held a similar rally in Chinatown, with hundreds of attendees marching through the busy area and ultimately shutting down a a portion of 7th Street NW.
The coalition of groups—-including the National Black United Front, the ANSWER Coalition, We Act Radio, and the Party of Socialism and Liberation—-says participants will march through the commercial strip of H Street NE and the surrounding neighborhood carrying signs and chanting. (Last week, more than 300 people participated in a number of chants, including ” “Michael Brown, Emmett Till, how many black youth will you kill?”)
Eugene Puryear, one of the organizers of the rallies and an at-large D.C. Council candidate, says organizers are asking for police agencies across the nation, including the Metropolitan Police Department, to demilitarize its forces and hold police officers accountable for their actions, through officer surveillance programs and more effective police review boards. They are also calling for Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown in Ferguson, to be arrested.
“We are more than willing to do what has been done in the past to stop business as usual until change is made,” Puryear says. “We need movement on these issues right away.”
Those interested in participating in Saturday’s rally should meet in front of Union Station—-Columbus Plaza—-at 7 p.m.
Photo by Perry Stein