Washington D.C. Street Sense vendor stands with Baton Rouge

Street Sense vendor and artist Angie Whitehurst wrote this opinion piece after the death of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sterling’s death in an altercation with two white police officers earlier this month was caught on film and quickly spread across social media. The graphic footage caused outrage and sparked peaceful protests, as well as unrest, including an armed attack which led to the death of three police officers. Here, Angie praises the “fierce resistance to violence” of the vast majority of protesters.

By Angie Whitehurst, Street Sense vendor

Breaking news: Barack Obama holds a press conference on Afghanistan to announce he will keep 8,400 troops on the ground through the end of his administration. Scary times and many questions to be answered. I wonder, are we really ready for this? My generation explicitly demonstrated for no more wars that are not in defence of the United States. Maybe times have changed and I am out of sync?

Well, the breaking news was supposed to be the president’s press conference. Wow, was I confused. Turns out the real breaking news is the revelation of another black man shot by white cops in the Louisiana city of Baton Rouge. A father of five shot dead during an arrest. A bystander recorded a part of the altercation. The police involved stated that their body cams were lost in the scuffle. The police confiscated the store owner’s video security system.

The mayor said he was not going to be a part of any cover up, and asked the District Attorney’s office to intercede. The family of the victim, the local NAACP leadership, attorneys and community stood firm, tall, tearful and strong in calling for transparency. They want to know the facts. The people call for justice.

What is amazing to me is the fierce resistance to violence. There would be no Ferguson or repeat of the 1968 riots. The people of Baton Rouge were not going to react violently, emotionally, impulsively or illegally. Their forefathers had borne the chains, withstood the whips, lynching, geographic restrictions, Jim Crow and other demeaning, derogatory, despicable travesties. I have the greatest respect for them. They are demonstrating the strength and inclusiveness of the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution always included all human beings and as we all now know, there were some people, who just out of ignorance or greed, just did not know that.

We stand with you Baton Rouge. Hold on to civility. Stand tall and in peace. We will stand with you.

Courtesy of Street Sense.