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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

‘Fists up! Fight back!’

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Approximately 300 people gathered on Oct. 3 at the bottom of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to protest racial injustice and police violence after the murder of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman killed by police in her bed.

The protest offered attendees the chance to stand in solidarity with Black citizens and protesters in Louisville, Kentucky, after a grand jury’s decision not to indict three of the city’s police officers involved in Taylor’s March 13 murder. 

The protest was part rally, part teach-in, hosted by Black Lives Matter Philly in collaboration with other organizations in Philadelphia advocating for racial justice.

Krystal Strong, an organizer for Black Lives Matter Philly and the Black Philly Radical Collective, stood on the steps of the Art Museum, calling for “freedom fighters” in Philadelphia to continue to fight against the oppressive and systemic racism in the U.S.

“This is a system that is willing to kill us in our sleep,” Strong said to the crowd. “This is not a system that we can appeal to.” 

Krystal Strong (right) leads protesters down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards Logan Square on Oct. 3. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Jasmine Harvey is a member of Protect the Protesters, a group that has been working to provide protesters with food, water and proper Personal Protective Equipment while they take to the streets or participate in acts of protesting. 

In an interview with The Hawk, Harvey said she hoped people walk away from the protest with a sense of hope for the movement at large, despite the emotional and physical demands of protesting.

“It does get stressful when we’re all coming out here and we’re mourning and we’re talking about the loss,” Harvey said. “But also we want to recognize the folks that are out here and we want to represent the future as well.”

After the initial rally at the Art Museum, organizers led protesters down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards City Hall, ultimately stopping at Logan Square to split protesters into three workshop groups.

Approximately 100 remaining participants sat in the middle of the street surrounding  Logan Square as organizers facilitated discussions on the ABCs of organizing a protest, health and safety 101 during a protest and gun knowledge and safety.

Maya Lipscomb, a social work major at Rutgers University-Camden, attended the protest on Saturday. Lipscomb said this movement is overdue and she intends to keep fighting for a better and more just future. 

“We’re tired of waiting,” Lipscomb said. “It’s been years and years and years of no change, and at this point we have to be the generation to change it. So I’m going to come out. Always.”

Marissa Chapman of Philadelphia, who said she has been active in the streets throughout the summer, recalled being on the highway the day the Philadelphia Police Department cornered protesters using tear gas. She said she has been and will continue to protest against racial injustice. 

“It’s really important as an American citizen to get out here and fight as much as we can,” Chapman said. “Protecting my brothers and sisters is of utmost importance to me, and this is one of the ways I can do that.”

Chapman, whose grandparents protested during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, said she hopes a strong base of people will continue to stand up for equality and justice. 

“I think that when you come together and have a unified front, you can really shake the rafters and make change,” Chapman said. “It’s really up to us. We don’t have a choice.”

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”44″ gal_title=”Breonna Taylor March”]

Cara Smith ’21, Tayler Washington ’22 and Nick Karpinski ’21 contributed to this story.

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