Being a young African American man in America; I’ve never been a witness or participant in a political protest or march.
When UpnUpNews gave me the opportunity to both film and photograph the “March to End Police Brutality” event I was reluctant considering the circumstances. I just didn’t know what to expect.
Growing up I remember watching Martin Luther King Jr. moving seas of African American and other minorities to freedom. Getting things done! However, what I also saw was the violence they had to endure from the police during their several marches as well.
The March to End Police Violence was huge over five hundred people marching and chanting together the words “No Justice, No peace!”
People from all walks of life gathered together to support the same cause in a peaceful manner. I even found myself in the mixture of protesters chanting alongside of them. It was such a surge of passion and pride throughout the parade route which made me feel committed to capture great shots.
Most importantly I wanted to capture how the march really opened my eyes and heart to the real problems minorities are faced with here in America.
The Police Department are responsible for the grief the people share. Losing a family member to murder is a difficult thing to conquer but adding the psychological effect of it being by the hands of Police Officers who have sworn to protect and serve the citizens of this nation is devastating to the families of the victims involved.
Speakers, those motivating and sharing their stories of love ones killed by police was educational and even informative but when Odell Edwards, Jordan Edwards father, got choked up as he spoke to the crowd, saying he missed his son and holds onto hope that he can keep his remaining family close, I was instantly baptized into the movement.
These families who were there and the families to come really need reform in the criminal justice system to hold the officers directly accountable for these wrongful deaths. In the words of the 2017 NBA Champions the Golden State Warriors, “there is strength in numbers”, and I know that now, and anyone who doesn’t should be active participants in these marches.
Justice has to come to all of these families who are victims.
People often ask why do Black and Brown people march for justice if it doesn’t change anything and I will simply respond now with the words “have you been to a march lately?”
No longer they, but We need Justice!
Jermaine Johnson | Photographer
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