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ABTV BLM ON THE GROUND SERIES: 8 DAYS OF PROTEST — DAY 1, FIERY INTRODUCTIONS
As a black man in this world, my experience is like no other. As a black man protesting in Los Angeles for racial equality during the Black Lives Matter movement 2020, my perspective is invaluable.
So, I thought of creating an eight part series, where I break down my experience protesting in Los Angeles for eight days straight. I am not kidding, I protested for eight days in a row. During this series I hope to chronicle my fears, the many tears, the destruction and the rebirth of something truly amazing — the quest for equality.
First, introductions. My name is James Maple. I am black. Ok, introductions are over. Let’s dive right in.
Day 1: The first day of protesting we met at Pan Pacific park here in Los Angeles. I really had no idea of the scale of this protest. I look back on it now with amazement with numbers like 20k to 30k having been thrown around. For the sake of our cause, I hope these estimates are true. As we stood there listening to our host and sponsor, Kendrick Sampson and BLDPWR, there was a buzz in the air. I mean that literally and metaphorically.
There was buzz, more an annoyance, from police drones surveying the area, hovering just above us. Yet, there was another buzz. An anger, rooted in exhaustion of the same old scenario. Black lives dying at the hands of corrupt police officers who face no justice. We have had enough, so we marched.
Sweeping the streets of 3rd st. I was proud to look around and see the pain and suffering in the eyes of my brothers and sisters, of all races. Perhaps because this was the first of these protests, but this one stood out to me as the protest that carried the most emotional baggage. As if we, as an entire community, were being introduced to our own sin, racism, for the first time. A sour introduction for sure, but one that needed to happen if we are to ever achieve true equality.
As mentioned, we carry baggage. Baggage from the countless lives that have been lost at the hands of an unjust and unfair legal system. We carry baggage from systematic racism that still remains pervasive to this day. We carry baggage from generational oppression ingrained in our DNA by living on the very land our ancestors were enslaved on. Despite this baggage, and in spite of this baggage, we marched.
Our protest eventually led us to the intersection of Fairfax and Beverly Blvd. I think it is fair to say, this is where things got a little tense between those protesting and the LAPD. During the exchange, I myself was injured. I was shot in the ankle with a rubber bullet by LAPD. I am fine, but will likely have a scar. A scar I will bear proudly as a reminder of our uprising. A reminder of the good we did that day in fighting for racial equality across this nation.
Wow Paul. Thanks so much. I have a small scare from the rubber bullet but it was for a good cause. Life is strange now, but I must continue to fight. My people need me, so I answered. I’m proud to march everyday for racial equality. #BlackLivesMatterpic.twitter.com/gUcSc3IAds
I know what you’re thinking. Was that a police car on fire? My answer is, “Yes! That was a police car on fire. Ok?” Frankly, if we had to, we’d set another police car on fire. I fully understand the radical nature of non violent (no one was hurt) actions like these. Let us not forget, very old and strategically placed police cruisers can be replaced, our lives cannot. Black lives cannot.
So, if this is what it takes to get attention, to get our voices heard, to get justice, then so be it. We have kneeled, it’s not enough. We have written letters, it’s not enough. We have voted, it’s not enough. We have exhausted every method of protest, yet we still face a two tier justice system. It also must be noted that while we try to think of new ‘acceptable forms of protest,’ we are experiencing more death and carnage to the black community at the hands of those we swore to protect us, the police. So please, pardon us for attempting to swiftly exhaust every avenue of protest, black lives are at stake here.
All other methods of protests seem to have gone both widely criticized, though peaceful in nature, and unnoticed. My fellow co hosts AJ Talks and Tehran discuss this very point in a follow up Black Hollywood Live segment, moments after the end of this protest.
The outcry from the community also stood out to me. I saw so many young people with so much passion and drive for the Black Lives Matter movement. It was a sight beautiful enough to bring tears to your eyes. I saw so much support from other races. I saw support from those benefiting from the current oppressive system in place. They marched for our cause. They marched for me.
The next morning I felt it important to get a bit of the aftermath of the first day of protesting. Things were happening so fast, so many emotions ran wild, I felt that it was important to capture the ends, to those means. So, the following day I went back to the scene of the protest to see if remnants of the message, or vestiges of the movement were left behind. There were certainly many reminders in our midsts. For instance, this restaurant on Melrose that still had its dining tables up as a blockade.
This aspect of the protest moved me because it’s the angle you don’t see on the news, the clean up. The clean up angle is important because of its subtle representation. This was a community coming together, also, individuals’ taking a deep look within themselves. I looked at it as if it were the community washing away the bad habits of its past. If the community is strong enough to come together to clean up its own mess, imagine the power of the community when displaying its absolute best in the fight for racial equality. Take a look at my full aftermath walkthrough below.
If nothing else, the most important aspect of the first day of protesting was the introduction. An introduction to a new way of thinking. We have a voice, a powerful one at that. Put us together, we become an unstoppable force. We made our message clear that day. We want justice, we want equality and we want it now.
NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE. This first day of protesting, will always stand as the introduction day. The introduction day to change.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend. Did you attend the protest in Pan Pacific Park? What has moved you most about protesting thus far? Are you interested in getting more involved? Need some idea of unique ways to protest? Let’s get the conversation going! Let me know @JamesMapleActor. Continue to stay tuned to AfterbuzzTV for the most in-depth and honest coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement.
James Maple is a LA based TV Host with a passion for music, interviews and outer space. A comedian at heart, James believes laughter, communication and a good 90s jam is a remedy for anything. You can follow him @terrelljamesmaple.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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