The city government & law enforcement of Saratoga Springs, NY, are retaliating against civil rights activists with @saratogablm through unjust arrests and legal proceedings in response to activists exercising their first amendment rights.
Last night I attended the city council meeting to support @saratogablm and to make sure a friend of mine made it home safely, because Saratoga Springs is evidently not safe for Black people.
I did not plan on speaking, but I felt moved to bring up why many people protest in the streets.
Some see rage when they see street protests. I see a community responding to collective trauma. I see people who feel pain and a sense of powerlessness. I see people who are hurting, who see their community hurting, and who are trying to heal their communities.
I asked the Saratoga Springs city council members if they know what it feels like to advocate for justice through official avenues only to end up being ignored, or arrested and held in jail for hours without medical care, water, or a mask during a pandemic.
I’m not an expert on the politics of protesting, but I see street protests as a tool to publicly name pain/hurt/trauma, to raise awareness, to build community, and to reclaim power for the people. @saratogablm is trying to do all of these things. Instead of responding with empathy, Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, and Assistant Chief of Police John Catone have responded by villainizing Black activists and perpetuating further violence and harm in the Saratoga Springs community.