“The Power of the People Don’t Stop” “This Is What Democracy Looks Like” “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police”
All the photos used in this article were taken by Luis Rodrigues, a freshman Cinema and Photographer major at Ithaca College.
As a new member of the Ithaca community and black woman, I found it important to stay connected to the injustices that happen in our seemingly perfect town. Police brutality has caused so much division, tension, and fear in our world and we should take responsibility in changing that commonality.
On Friday, September 20th, My friend and I decided to participate in the Black Lives Matter Ithaca protest in support of Rose DeGroat. If you have not heard the story, I will give you the basics. In April, police officers tased and body-slammed 26-year-old Cadji Fergurson while pinning Rose DeGroat to the ground (kneeling on her head in the process) after an altercation broke out between the two and a white man. Cadji and Rose yelled to the police numerous times that the white man had attacked them after he had made sexual advances toward their mutual friend. However, the white man was free to leave without punishment, while Cadji and Rose were arrested. Since then, Cadji has been found not guilty and, at the time of writing this article, it has been announced that Rose’s charges have been dismissed. However, the Ithaca Police Department still needs to be held accountable for their actions, and we must continue to push for more prevention of these incidents.
It felt amazing to see so many people coming together to uplift a woman of color during such a time of struggle. I am currently taking a seminar called Black Feminist Thought, and my professor Dr. Nia Nunn (a literal GODDESS) encourages us to act on these injustices. I have never done anything like this before, and I am so grateful I did. I felt empowered by the young voices speaking up for what they believe in. I, and so many others have experienced an amazing journey of growth through these movements. In fact, I am attending this Sunday’s march during Applefest to continue to shed light on these incidents of police brutality and racist and sexist treatment of black women. Ultimately, I just want a safer and more peaceful world, in which little black boys and girls are not afraid to play outside and black parents do not have to warn their children about the dangers of wearing sweatshirts or walking by the police. We have lost too many people due to gun violence, racist cops, insufficient training, and lack of accountability. But I have faith in Ithaca and its future.