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It was just after September of 2001

That Leonardo and I took a bus to Washington, D.C. to protest the war about to be waged in Afghanistan. I was so hopeful to see humanity of such diversity there to declare peace. And, honestly and unfortunately, there were some rotten apples in the barrel (white ones) who managed to lead us down an unauthorized street.


Leonardo and I were following the march and screaming for peace when we saw the police in riot gear approach us. They marched in on us from all sides, perhaps five minutes between their encroachments. We had no idea as what was going on, but we knew they were attempting to trap us into a square.

Panicking, I sat in the middle of the street and stared at the pavement. I listened to their boots step forward as they continued to enclose us. I was 28 years old, wanting to make a difference. I wanted peace. I wanted no more violence.

I did not know that protests could be coopted by a fringe group with an entirely different agenda. When the line of police arrived at me sitting in the street, an officer said, “Run away,” and we did. I am certain being a young, white man allowed me such a pass.

So let’s be cautious of generalizations. A mass is a movement, yet it is made of very unique ripples.

Love.

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 © Chad A. Gurley, 2020