Under a black velvet night, easily concealed by the fighting light emanating from the city’s thousand skyscrapers and the revolving red and blue of police car sirens, we marched. As usual, the city was alive, but unlike most, on this night, the city was alive in solidarity with Ferguson.
“New York is Ferguson and Ferguson is New York.”
The March began at 7, trekking from Union Square down Broadway, and then all the way down East Houston to the East River. I joined for the return march, arriving breathless and without a sign yet fueled by anticipation: I had been able to see the police lights and hear their sirens from 10 blocks down. But there was no need for a sign or any other paraphernalia, just spirit.
“Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Together we raised our hands and our voices, chanting, yelling, releasing our wills and our wants onto the streets of New York. As we marched, we blocked traffic; the police held back vehicles. We snaked our way around cars and trucks, reveling in the honks that only served to reinforce our mission. People joined us, hopping off of buses and balconies, becoming part of the surge. We marched to the sound of drums and a stray saxophonist. We marched for something bigger even than Michael Brown or our discontent at the grand jury’s decision. We marched for the overarching aim of unanimous justice, a goal so many had fought for before us countless times on these streets.
“No justice, no peace, no racist police.”
But as invigorating as the march was, I did not feel fully comfortable with the use of provocative language. Some of the words being used focused more on fighting the police rather than fighting for the true purpose of our march: justice. In any group, it is impossible to come to a complete consensus in ideology that caters to every individual’s moral preferences. However, I still felt tied to those with whom I marched as our slight differences fell away, revealing our cohesiveness as protesters in pursuit of equality.
“What do we want?” “Justice!” “When do we want it?” “Now!”
The fight toward achieving this justice we crave parallels our trek though New York’s twilight streets: slow, but headed toward a common destination. I don’t know how long it will take, but I am glad to say that I had the chance to be part of one of the many marches that is taking us in that direction.