by Mark Oppenheim
There’s been a lot said by this administration’s leaders about Antifa and about looters and rioters driving the protest marches that came after the video taped killing of George Floyd by police. So I marched in that leftie hotbed San Francisco last Sunday, June 7, 2020 and am reporting back.
There was no rioting or looting in last Sunday’s march. The crowd was pretty much a cross-section of the city, meaning the majority were white and there were a lot of people of different ethnicities. Marching were liberals and conservatives, business people and students, moms and kids, young and old. Lots of people watched from the sidelines and many clapped. Cops were friendly and were often, but not always, thanked by protestors. There was the normal smattering of radicals, and the crowd gave them no energy. Signs were homemade.
I talked with some people, who tended to make a few points.
“Black Lives Matter” does not mean that black lives matter more. It means that black lives do not matter less. Consensus was that George Floyd’s life clearly mattered less to the officer who slowly strangled him to death and the officers who stood by for close to 9 minutes and watched it happen.
“Antifa” is an adjective, not an organization. It describes someone who is vehemently anti-fascist. America has been fighting against different forms of fascism since its founding and way before “fascism” was a word in the dictionary. Personally, I figure Americans being against fascism is okay. Some people who are against fascism, and some cops who are sworn to serve and protect, are violent criminals. We need to identify and prosecute those people, not all anti-fascists, all cops, or all anyone else for that matter.
“We ALL have a problem with race, it’s not just police.” The COVID contagion has made it clear that we can’t build a wall high enough to protect ourselves from certain problems experienced by other Americans. It is in our selfish interest to fix racism and its impact. It is also right.
Police must look more like communities served; policing must be complimented by other services; police training and practices have to adjust to reduce harm and implicit bias.
So that’s my report from a march that took place on Sunday, June 7, 2020, close to where I live.
Personally, I feel we all have a responsibility to speak out, listen to one another, and improve. George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others and their families deserve no less from us, and calling each other names doesn’t help.
Mark Oppenheim is a nonprofit wonk who runs nonprofit search and media organizations.
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