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Boston Black Lives Matter Protest: ‘We Honor the Path Set Before Us by Harriet Tubman’

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Twenty-nine “BlackLivesMatter” protesters were arrested this morning outside Boston as they blocked a major commuter highway into the city during morning rush hour.

On I-93, they put their hands inside 50-gallon drums filled with cement and then handcuffed themselves together. (Fortunately, this left the protesters with one hand free for their most important task — taking the inevitable selfies.)

The press release below was posted by the group that claims credit for the massive gridlock. The woman whose name and telephone number appear as the press contact did not return phone calls.

The entire release is worth reading, but note that in the second paragraph, they admit that their group includes no black people, although the banner they unfurled on the overpass in East Milton Square south of the city read: “Stop White Supremacy!”

According to the release, the protesters included a “diverse non-Black group of Pan-Asians, Latinos and white people, some of whom are queer and transgender… Korean-American… Afro-Indigenous… non-Black lesbian… (and) non-Black undocumented immigrants in the United States (who) refuse to perpetuate the erroneous idea of earned citizenship.”

No mention was made in the press release of the six people murdered in St. Louis overnight as the non-black protesters were planning their #BlackLivesMatter protest. Police are not suspected in any of the six Missouri slayings.

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#SignalBoost PRESS RELEASE: Activists Shut Down Interstate Highway 93 North and South During Morning Rush Hour Traffic into Boston

PRESS RELEASE: Activists Shut Down Interstate Highway 93 North and South During Morning Rush Hour Traffic into Boston

January 15, 2015

Contact Megan Collins at (617) 942-1867 or email january15action@gmail.com for more information, interviews, and photographs.

Somerville/Milton/Boston Massachusetts — Activists have shut down Interstate 93 Southbound and Northbound during morning rush hour commute into Boston to “disrupt business as usual” and protest police and state violence against Black people.

Two different groups of activists linked their bodies together across the highway in coordinated actions north and south of Boston. This action was in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. This diverse non-Black group of Pan-Asians, Latinos, and white people, some of whom are queer and transgender, took this action to confront white complacency in the systemic oppression of Black people in Boston.

“Today, our nonviolent direct action is meant to expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while Black and Brown communities are targeted by police, exploited, and displaced,” said Korean-American activist Katie Seitz.

In the past 15 years, law enforcement officers in Boston have killed Remis M. Andrews, Darryl Dookhran, Denis Reynoso, Ross Baptista, Burrell “Bo” Ramsey-White, Mark Joseph McMullen, Manuel “Junior” DaVeiga, Marquis Barker, Stanley Seney, Luis Gonzalez, Bert W. Bowen, Eveline Barros-Cepeda, Daniel Furtado, LaVeta Jackson, Nelson Santiago, Willie L. Murray Jr., Rene Romain, Jose Pineda, Ricky Bodden, Carlos M. Garcia, and many more people of color. We mourn and honor all these lives.

“We must remember, Ferguson is not a faraway Southern city. Black men, women, and gender-nonconforming people face disproportionately higher risk of profiling, unjust incarceration, and death. Police violence is everywhere in the United States,” said another protester Nguyen Thi Minh Thu.

The two groups of activists organized these actions to use their collective voices to resist and disrupt the overarching system that oppresses Black people and to expressly accept the responsibility of white and non-Black people of color to organize and act to end racial profiling, unjust incarceration, and murder of Black people in the United States and beyond. Black lives matter, today and always.

***See below for more quotes from organizers and participants in the action.***

Quotes from Participants in the Action

“As an Afro-Indigenous woman I feel the affects of white supremacy on my people. Being involved in this action has shown me where the participant’s hearts are at in the movement. Without collaboration of all people, no one can be free.”  – Camille

“As Pan-Asian people in the United States, we refuse to perpetuate anti-Black racism. We will not allow our communities to serve as a wedge to divide us and jeopardize our struggle to end racism and achieve our collective liberation,”  said Nguyen Thi Minh Thu.

“As non-Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer people in the United States, we refuse to allow increasing acceptance of our sexuality and several marriage equality victories to end our commitment to advancing social justice. We recognize that this movement has been spearheaded by Black queer women and gender-nonconforming people.” said Monica Majewski.

“As white people in the United States, we refuse to align ourselves with a state that carries out violence against Black people. We are taking direct action to challenge white complicity and amplify the demands for an end to the war on Black communities,” said Katie Martin Selcraig.

“As a white person, my only options are to act against white supremacy or to be complicit in it. I’m here today because I refuse to be complicit” said Emily O.

“As a white man, I know I benefit and am protected by a racist society. I am participating today because it is necessary for those who are the least vulnerable to step up and put our bodies on the line if we ever want to build a just world,” said Eli C.

”As a white feminist, I take part in this action because anyone who claims commitment to equality must take action to dismantle intersectional oppression. Idling is a privilege afforded only to those who genuinely do not care,” said Nelli.

“As non-Black undocumented immigrants in the United States, we refuse to perpetuate the erroneous idea of earned citizenship. We honor the path set before us by Harriet Tubman by advancing civil and human rights for everyone regardless of legal status,” said a protester involved in the action.

“As non-Black women, including transgender and gender-nonconforming folks in the United States, we refuse to allow our commitment to gender justice to distract us from racial justice. We understand that gender and racial justice are intertwined,” said one of the organizers of the action.


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