• Rhea Warren

City Seen: Washington, D.C.

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Our 360 City Seen is a series dedicated to providing on the ground coverage of events, people and community in cities across the nation.

“No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!” chanted a crowd of protesters near the White House in downtown Washington, D.C.  

No, this was not in response to not being able to get a haircut or work out in a gym, it was an outcry for a far deeper matter - the continued murders of unarmed African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers.

In this past month, Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was killed by white racists for jogging, Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot eight times in her home by police, and George Floyd, 46, essentially experienced a modern-day public lynching by Officer Derek Chauvin.

Though lootings, riot, and arson have taken place throughout the nation, peaceful protests are still a way for Americans to vocalize their unrest.

On Saturday, May 30, protesters filled the streets of our nation’s capital with the determination for their voices to be heard.  

“I’m not sick, I’m capable, and I’m upset,” said Jahnaya Harris, a beauty and wellness entrepreneur and 2017 graduate of Howard University.  

Harris participated in the Saturday protests with a group of friends and she carried a sign that read: “Black people! Black America has every right to burn down a country that it was forced to build for free”.  With her sign making a very bold statement, Harris was nervous about how it would be received by the public.  “Surprisingly, it got a lot of support and people frequently asked to take pictures of it,” said Harris.  

It is no secret that most of America’s land and foundation was cultivated and built by enslaved Africans.  For centuries, African Americans have struggled with mistreatment, discrimination, and systemic oppression.  “Businesses and buildings seem to mean more than the lives of innocent black people,” said Harris.  “I don’t condone [the rioting], but I understand it.”

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