“No justice, no peace, no racist police!” That’s what local protestors shouted this past Saturday as they participated in a “Solidarity March” along Seneca Street in downtown Ithaca, holding signs reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and, as one woman brazenly displayed, “CALL OUT WHITE + HETERO SUPREMACY”.
The group, organized partially by Cornell’s Black Students United, started in the Commons by interrupting the performance of a jazz group playing for local shoppers. After staging at this location for ten minutes, the marchers commenced, moving west on Seneca, guided by people wearing orange safety vests that read “Race Official”.
Three or four Ithaca Police units intervened at West Seneca and North Albany, as the group of over 200 blocked the busy intersection, making their turn on the way to Beverly J. Martin Elementary, where the three-hour “teach-in” was held.
During this teach-in, Ithaca College assistant professor Sean Eversely Bradwell gave a talk, which according the the event’s Facebook page, was designed to “expose ‘All Lives Matter’ for what it is: an attempt to silence the outcry against anti-black violence.” An article Bradwell wrote on this argument can be found here.
Other interesting commentary was provided by professor Russell J. Rickford, history, who posted on the event Facebook page:
“It is absurd to equate ‘white power’ …with ‘black power’…ALL genuine anti-racists, including white anti-racists, both condemn “white power” (the ideological foundation of the Western world) and embrace efforts by black people to overcome their subordination and marginalization and achieve autonomy and power. WE MUST REJECT FALSE EQUIVALENCIES THAT CONFLATE RACIST OPPRESSION WITH EFFORTS TO RESIST OPPRESSION. Such false equivalencies are intellectually dishonest. They remove racism from its historical and social context. Any MEANINGFUL program of multiracial unity would place the empowerment of black people – and the condemnation of white supremacy – at the center of its agenda.”
The goals of the day’s event, titled “Black Lives Matter: A Community Conversation on Surviving and Thriving” were, again according to Facebook, to “generate a sense of solidarity and militancy that can lead to future activism for social change.” Both Bradwell and Rickford definitely attempted to generate a sense of militancy. However, only time will tell if this breeds “future activism” in the Ithaca area or on local campuses.
Photos were taken by David Navadeh ’19. You may view his work here: www.davidnavadehphotography.com