Following up on the vigil and rally we held on the 18th (during which we stopped traffic multiple times on a main downtown thoroughfare) to mourn the loss of the nine lives forcefully and despicably taken Wednesday night during a church service in Charleston, SC, on Sunday June 21st, we gathered for a series of organized and unorganized actions to #StandWithCharleston and to decry the white supremacy under which we live that has made this country an unsafe place for black bodies to walk, to swim, to play, to breathe, to pray, and to survive.
In the early afternoon during the brunch rush, we plugged into Beezy’s and transformed the meals of many by playing contemporary and historical slam poetry and speeches delivered by black authors who spoke and spit about the connected violences of police brutality, government repression, racism, and genocide. These speeches played on full volume to encourage folks to step out of their Sunday routine and to listen to the pain caused by white supremacy and to reflect on their role in complicity or their role in resistance.
Around 2 o’clock we walked over to the Water Street commons and memorialized the nine lives taken in Charleston by inscribing them in cement and planting flowers, a monument which is both permanent, in coincidence with the loss of life and to emphasize the imperative to remember, and growing, to play the role of revolution by one day spreading wide enough to overgrow the lifeless concrete and rubble of violence.
Later in the day we saw that the names of the dead had been further memorialized in paint in various locations around Depot Town.
We carry out these actions in solidarity with Charleston, in outrage and anguish, and in an effort to inscribe the violent events of recent history indelibly in Ypsilanti so that we do not forget, so that we do not look away, so that we do not become complacent in the face of the systemic murder and oppression of people of color all over the country. We carry out these actions to listen to and to tell the plight of our friends, neighbors, lovers, teachers, coworkers, community members and selves whose lives are at stake and to reach out to anyone who mis-believes that it is possible to carry on as though nothing is happening. If you are a white person who has ever loved a black person, now, more than ever, it is your absolute responsibility to turn that love into actions which make this country a safer place for black bodies to walk, to swim, to play, to breathe, to pray, to live.