Man, it makes me so sad to write this.
I went to the protest yesterday. While I was riding my bike down to Niagara Square, so many things went through my head. How bad would it get? How many people would actually be there? There were talks of the KKK coming, what would that look like?
What I saw was amazing, a diverse group of citizens who are concerned about the state of our nation and the people it belongs to.
Chants of “No Justice, No Peace!” “People Over Property!” “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!”
People spoke their piece on the steps of City Hall, then we all started marching down Delaware.
Now, at this point, I started writing this article in my head and it was to the tune of “Buffalo did it again! The nicest city on the planet came through, showed its soul – people walked peacefully down their streets and the message was given and received.”
I was actually astonished…
Im not a native, and it’s kind of a running joke in my family of how nice the people are. “Buffalonians will scream “F*ck the Pats!” at someone in a Patriots jersey then hand that person a beer.
I was so proud.
Then when we got back to Niagara Square and things started to heat up…
People started to gather at the Federal Building and began testing the officers. I was thinking… “OMG… here it comes!”
Someone standing on the wall of the building (in front of the officers) shouts Heyyy eyyy eeeh yehhh! (from the Bills Shout Song), and the entire crowd responded back!
F*cking Buffalo! Again! The people! The best!
But man, these are not normal times. And I guess, with all of the injustice and division fueled by a pandemic, amplified by quarantine, even Buffalo couldn’t keep her fists down.
At some point, around 8pm, someone drove a car into the crowd and sh*t just started going sideways.
Firecrackers put people into a run, officers started firing tear gas and rubber bullets, the batons came out… and Buffalo shut her eyes for once.
The anger started to show. The frustration of why? Why does this keep happening!? What on earth do we have to do to show that we will not stand for this injustice anymore?
Everything mattered. All sides were vulnerable and confused. Young officers stood strong and scared, you could see it in their eyes – you could feel their wives and children waiting for a text message.
A young black man from the forgotten East Side yelled in an officer’s face “My wife is afraid to have a son!” You could see that register on the officer’s face. Can you imagine? Afraid to have a little boy because the color of his skin literally puts him at risk of being killed!? What is this world? Where have we gone?
I don’t know, it was all very real and sad and clear that changes need to be made. We must straighten this all out, now.
My dear sweet Buffalo, your people need you right now… all of them.
Update: Mayor Brown has instituted a citywide curfew beginning at 9:00 pm and lasting through 7:00 am.