The killing of George Floyd in May sparked protests around the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. As millions of people mobilized in their city’s streets to express outrage and sadness, Amanda Morgan, Omari Salisbury and Marcus Henderson felt called to join the movement in Seattle.
As Pacific Northwest Ballet’s only Black female dancer, Morgan felt she needed to present herself a certain way to the world. “Most Black individuals have to do that on a daily basis, just walking on the street to not seem threatening.”
Through Salisbury’s livestreams as a citizen journalist for Converge Media, he made the protests accessible to online viewers, while, at times, putting himself in harm’s way. “This is something I’ve been doing my whole life as a storyteller,” he says. “My role here is being able to have enough empathy to understand everybody’s perspective to the best of my ability and then relay that to the world.”
After Seattle police withdrew from the East Precinct in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, Henderson helped to establish a garden in Cal Anderson Park, the heart of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). “If you’re growing food, you’re trying to do something long-lasting. You’re trying to create change.”
Protesters in the CHOP had three demands: defunding Seattle police by 50%, reinvesting that money in community programs and services and dropping charges against all protesters. Looking to the future, Henderson offers a reminder that the movement needs to live on beyond what happened on Capitol Hill. “I hope that we continue to organize, we continue to come together as a group, and that it doesn’t end here at CHOP.”
Watch how the movement evolved in our film “The Uprising.”
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