Browsing Tag

blacklivesmatter

MK marching in Soweto on the weekend of Nelson Mandela's death

Soweto (Lockdown Day 82)

Welcome to Day 82 of the South African lockdown. It’s both freezing-cold and raining in Joburg — a very rare occurrence. It’s also Youth Day, a South African public holiday commemorating the 1976 student uprising in Soweto. For the last couple of weeks I have been thinking constantly about racism. Soon after I woke up this morning, I found myself having a bit of a mental meltdown over it. I’m not sure why (probably because there’s not much else to do on a dark, freezing-cold, rainy public holiday during a pandemic), but after I woke up I scrolled deeper than usual into my Facebook feed. I was appalled by the number of racist posts — some subtle, some flat-out hateful — that I came across, today of all days. In a recent blog post, I said I want to use my platforms to speak out against racism and racial injustice. I am still committed to doing this, but I also can’t help thinking: What’s the point? Speaking out on racism in South Africa — or America, for that matter — feels like screaming into a gale-force wind. Institutionalized racism is woven so deeply into the fabric of our societies. It’s […]

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"Hands up, don't shoot"

How My 72-Year-Old Dad Got Arrested at a Protest Against Police Brutality

On Saturday evening my father, Tenney Mason, was in downtown Baltimore (my home city in the U.S.) attending ArtScape, a local arts festival. A group of #Afromation and #BlackLivesMatter demonstrators walked past, and Dad decided to check it out. He had his camera with him and although he’s mostly retired, Dad spent many decades as a photojournalist and newspaper editor. When he sees a news story, he follows it. This is one of the photos Dad took of the demonstration. It was shot in front of Penn Station, Baltimore’s train station,  which is also right where Artscape was happening. (Photo: Tenney Mason) One of the leaders of the demonstration. I hope he got some good GoPro footage. (Photo: Tenney Mason) I don’t know much about this demonstration and neither did Dad at the time. But after a bit of online research, I have learned that the demonstration was a protest against police brutality and “an affirmation of black life”. (Read a statement by the organizers.) Dad followed the protesters onto an exit ramp to Interstate 83. The ramp was closed to cars due to the arts festival. He saw a larger group of protesters down below, attempting to interrupt northbound traffic on I-83. […]

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