After protesting in Cincinnati, an anonymous Xavier student tells their story.
At 3 p.m., a Xavier student meets up with their group at a park. They’ve been helping to plan this protest for several days, mostly through Facebook. They’ve been watching the news and they know that the day ahead could be dangerous.
They are about to join a march to protest police violence against the Black community. They say that they will be marching for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless other Black deaths at the hands of the police.
When they get to the park, the protest group goes over rules. These rules tell them how to stay safe in the event that they are arrested, tear-gassed or involved in any altercation with the police.
They wear a mask in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but also to hide their identities when necessary. If a drone flies over head, they cover their face and any tattoos so that they cannot be identified.
For this purpose, the group also asks protestors not to take photos or videos which include any identifying features of other protestors.
They write a name and phone number in permanent marker on their arm. It is the number of a lawyer who will work for them pro bono in the event that they or their friends are arrested.
They plan for the worst. If the situation were to turn violent, many White people within the group have decided to stand at the front of the protest in order to protect people of color behind them. The Xavier student has decided to stand at the front.
They stay alongside other protestors, making sure not to separate from the group. When you separate from your group, they said, “that’s when shit gets crazy.”
They begin their march alongside over a thousand other protestors. The group marches to several city government buildings. There is no looting or violence within these ranks, as far as they can see.
Several people within the group throw water bottles at police officers or spray paint surfaces, but the student doesn’t approve of this. The group at large also disapproves.
“You, as a White person causing destruction, are making the community look bad,” they said of the mindset of the protest group in regards to the few aggressive protestors.
There are no partisan signs, even though the protest was organized by a socialist group. They describe the issue of Black deaths by police as unrelated to political party, saying that being pro-Black shouldn’t be associated with Democrats and being anti-Black shouldn’t be associated with Republicans.
They leave the protest at 7 p.m. Curfew is in place, and hundreds of people have been arrested for staying out.
They have not witnessed any violence by police or protestors. Police arrest 307 people that night for curfew violations.
They haven’t seen any of this, but their arm still bears a phone number written in Sharpie. They know what the worst-case scenarios are, and they are prepared.
They’ll go back out the next day, saying that they do so to demand justice and that they’ll continue to protest until there is efficacious change in the policing of Black communities.