Photos: Patrick Melon

Published  August 2016

“Going into Baton Rouge the day after Alton Sterling was killed, I didn’t know what to expect. There was so much emotion in the air throughout those days. The anger was there, that’s for sure. You could sense a bit of bitterness as well, and it wasn’t at all misplaced. I thought of the potential danger I could have faced out there, and witnessed firsthand how even a peaceful assembly of protesters was considered a threat by a small army of police – public servants – dressed as if they were prepped for combat in hostile territory. What I witnessed overall throughout that week was Black people being kind to each other, because for the most part, we’re beginning to realize we have no option but to love our neighbors. The men who killed Alton Sterling were not our neighbors. We witnessed white allies fight for the same ideals that are important to us. We witnessed that police have no qualms about battering and brutalizing us, no matter which divide of the color line we rest on, when it comes to standing up for our rights. The true tyranny on display in Baton Rouge and other racist systems are coming to a close and fear is no longer in the eyes of the oppressed.

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