Seattle’s March for Black Lives One Year After Philando Castile

Westlake Park was the scene Sunday where the Black Liberation Front gave those who had been unjustly gunned down by “racist cops” a voice, and an army.

Police audio mixed with powerful rap music dominated the area, nearly drowning out the sounds of the traffic of a nearby intersection. The march’s banners speckled with the faces of those who are gone from this world were placed at the foot of a stepped monument, creating a feeling of reverence. Slowly, at the stroke of 6 p.m., a few hundred mourners and fighters gathered in loose circle to chant, as if in prayer, whose lives really matter.

Mohawk Kuzma is the Seattle organizer for the Black Liberation Front and the man that lead the crowd through the city streets.

CREDIT: Madison McQueenE-mail: MadisonEllisMcQueen@my.unt.edu
Mohawk Kuzma leads the liberators.

He decided to host the march in remembrance of Philando Castile’s murder by police gunfire one year and three days ago. Of course, Castile’s was not the only death for which the marchers marched.

CREDIT: Madison McQueenE-mail: MadisonEllisMcQueen@my.unt.edu
A man carries a sign with the names of people who have been wrongly killed in the presence of police.

The crowd took to the streets and the police accompanying the force fell in line next to them, huffing their way up the steep streets of Seattle on low-speed bicycles, some sighing when one of the few officers with a motorcycle would pass by.

CREDIT: Madison McQueenE-mail: MadisonEllisMcQueen@my.unt.edu
Police line up on bicycles next to a wall of activists.

“Hands up, don’t shoot” was the chant of the evening, prompting many supporters to raise their hands above their heads.

CREDIT: Madison McQueenE-mail: MadisonEllisMcQueen@my.unt.edu
A woman keeps her hands raised above her as she repeats, “Don’t shoot.”

Occasionally the marchers would come to a stop in the middle of a street or intersection to allow a few activists to speak up about problems they or family members may face because of expected police brutality on any given day. One such woman took the megaphone with tears in her eyes as her child stood behind her.

CREDIT: Madison McQueenE-mail: MadisonEllisMcQueen@my.unt.edu
A mother and her young child stand resolute at the center of the group to shed light on every black mother’s fears for her children.

The march looped around downtown Seattle and came to an end around 9 p.m. where it began, at Westlake Park. And as the group fragmented, splitting off in all different directions, the sun went down.

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