On Sunday, December 28, I attended the “IWantToLive” March & Rally in Philadelphia. The event was organized by Raheem Harvey, who organized over a thousand persons the week before. This time over a hundred persons gathered at the Liberty Bell at 7:00 P.M. The protest was in response to the Philadelphia police shooting of a 26-year old black man, Brandon Tate Brown.
The Rally began with a speech from Brown’s mother, who called for dramatic reforms in current policies to reduce racist policing and unjust murders. “I want new laws, I want new legislation…I want new protocols.” she stated. She demanded these policies be initiated immediately, along with the opening of police department files for the public to review. These civilian review boards would help form an open communication between the police and community, instead of having the community live in fear of a police state. All of the demonstrators were completely peaceful and requested cooperation with the police department.
From the Liberty Bell we marched in the streets for nearly a mile. Dozens of police officers on bikes surrounded us on both sides. We chanted the slogans: “No Justice No Peace, No Racist Police” “Whose streets, Our streets” “Justice for Brandon Brown” “Black Lives Matter” and “No More Silence.” The march concluded in front of a police building, where more speeches were made.
Young activists called for cooperation between police and poor city dwellers. They blamed politicians and law makers for sending police into black ghettos to find something to harass them over. For this reason one black speaker said we should become more focused on voting for those we want in office, and not just for black politicians, using Obama as an example of someone who lied about bringing change, which received loud applause from the mostly black crowd. Despite the crowd consisting mostly of black persons, the demonstration was all-inclusive. Brown’s mother thanked all blacks, Hispanics and whites for coming out and supporting the cause, which also received loud applause.