Chasing the Crowd

On Thursday December 4, I was doing homework like any other normal night. I had a 5.6-mile run for practice so I was pretty tired, but after working for awhile I got my homework done. I heard sirens roar by on Broadway heading downtown. This reminded me of the protests that had taken me by surprise 2 nights ago. I decide to go online to see if there are protests. Then I learned about the approximate 10,000 people who had gathered at Foley Square chanting. I felt something in my chest, a feeling that you feel a few times in your lifetime. A feeling that what was happening was the changing of a long existing American mindset and police policy. I couldn't just sit by and hope that someone else will report and protest from a first-hand point of view, so at around 7:20 I grabbed my dad's camera and jumped on to the subway.

I arrive at Foley Square and see cops at every corner and street, but no protesters. I hear that the protesters have blocked the FDR, Westside Highway, Holland Tunnel and the Brooklyn Bridge. I head over to the Brooklyn Bridge considering it was the closest. I walk along the walkway on the bridge, shocked at the serenity of the whole situation. The bridge is dead silent. Nothing, no cars, people or cops. I see some flashing lights far off in the distance. Then I hear a police radio crackle. "Anyone have a location on the protest? I have a lot of cars trying to push onto the bridge." "Protesters are off the bridge and are now in Brooklyn heading down Fulton Street. "10-4 will work on getting the bridge back up." It then hit me that I needed to run to catch up to the protest.

As I'm running across the Brooklyn Bridge at 8:30 at night with an expensive 3-pound camera, I worry if my parents would not be too happy about this. I ignore this thought and continuing watching Brooklyn get closer and closer. As I run by, I hear people cheering me on saying, "Yeah boy! Run! There's a protest going on!" I asked where it was and was told, "Straight ahead, go!" I weave my way through Brooklyn to find Fulton Street. Cars are backed up for at least a mile. I decide to ghost another cop since Twitter and other apps were not being useful. I hear the radio say that they need to move up because they aren't doing anything staying where they were, meaning the protest had moved far ahead of where I was. I try relocating the protest, but considering it was 9 at night on a Thursday and I ran 2 more miles than I had planned that day on top of the 5.6.

I jump on the 3 train, and think about why this is important. Yes, a man is dead of course that is horrible. He died at the hands of a police officer, well that's even worse. He died by a chokehold that many call unnecessary. He died saying "I can't breathe" 11 times. The sound bite of Eric Garner saying "I can't breathe" has, and I think will be stuck in my head as well as countless others until this issue has been solved. But what is the solution? Police cameras could definitely help, but in the end it's the mentality of the people that is the solution.

We live in a world where people see someone else and assume something because of their clothes, location of living, skin color and a myriad of other immediate details that can be noticed just by looking at someone. This mindset of paranoia and judging creates situations where people like Michael Brown, Eric Garner become an immediate threat despite any true evidence. America is looking at a big change in how people treat each other and it will either make or break us at this point, because the amount and magnitude of the protests in NYC and around the country and world aren't going away.