Sunday, November 30, 2014

More Than 100 Boiseans Rally in Support of Ferguson Demonstrations

Posted By on Sun, Nov 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge A speaker addresses demonstrators during Saturday evening's Ferguson solidarity rally. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • A speaker addresses demonstrators during Saturday evening's Ferguson solidarity rally.
It was 6 p.m. the evening of Saturday, Nov. 29, and the last sunlight was illuminating the clouds above the Anne Frank Memorial on the Greenbelt. A few demonstrators had gathered in groups and a few of them held signs with slogans scrawled on them like, "Black Lives Matter."

By the beginning of the demonstration, which would take them from the memorial to the Capitol steps, there were more than 100 people who'd come to show solidarity with mass demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an unarmed man, Michael Brown, nearly four months ago. Nov. 24, a grand jury declined to indict Wilson, adding vigor to protests that have been ongoing since Brown's Aug. 4 shooting.

Following singing "We Shall Overcome," the demonstrators took leave of the Anne Frank Memorial and wound their way up Capitol Boulevard toward the Idaho State Capitol under police escort. Once there, a megaphone was passed around to anyone who wanted to speak. That included Louis Sheppard, who told the assembled crowd that events in Ferguson—which have included peaceful demonstrations, high-profile instances of police brutality and riots that have damaged local businesses and burned down buildings—are symptoms of the larger problem of racism in the United States.

"If you think this is about Michael Brown, you need to look a little harder," he told the crowd. 

click to enlarge Lesley Haddock - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Lesley Haddock
Lesley Haddock also took up the megaphone. Haddock recently returned from Ferguson, where they saw safe houses tear gassed by police and peaceful demonstrations confronted by heavily armed law enforcement in riot gear.

"The climate is very militant," they said.

Haddock said that though many of the demonstrations are peaceful, riots still take place, and that violence in the St. Louis, Mo., suburb is part of how people in that community are trying to win back agency from the ongoing police presence.

"I think the anger is a way to enact change," they said.

But Boise is far from Ferguson, as a few were keen to point out on Boise Weekly's Facebook page during its coverage of demonstrations in August.

"Figures that television propaganda is the basis behind any action. How about looking around your community in your neighborhoods and putting that action into play there. The weekly shouldn't even be writing about this. Bullshit news," wrote Facebook user Mellie Rad Clapper. 

"I'm so done with this story. Stop shitting where you eat and bringing that anger here," wrote user Jade Green.

Demonstrators disagreed vehemently with those sentiments, saying that Ferguson has shed light on issues of class and white privilege across the country.

"It should matter everywhere, no matter what," said Tim Scheve.

"It's not going to stop until everybody's made aware of it," said Kaylea Gardner, citing "extreme racism and corruption" as the underlying causes of unrest in the wake of events in Ferguson.

"All lives matter everywhere," said Kristina West. "When it comes down to it, we lost a life."

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