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Thousands march in Roxbury against police brutality

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Thousands march in Roxbury against police brutality
Demonstrators in Dudley Station.

Thousands of protesters took over the streets of Roxbury last week demonstrating against police violence against blacks in the United States.

The Boston protest march was one of numerous demonstrations held across the country and around the world in the wake of two high-profile police shootings of black men earlier this month: Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed while Baton Rouge police officers pinned him to the ground and Philando Castile, shot by an officer in Minnesota while he was reaching for his wallet during a traffic stop.

Yesterday there were rallies in London and Amsterdam, a die-in in Berlin and a march on the U.S. consulate in Cape Town by a group called Black Solidarity Action, whose members held signs reading “Stop killing blacks” and “Black pride.”

The Boston demonstration began in the Southwest Corridor Park behind the Boston Police Department headquarters. Demonstrators marched up Tremont Street to Massachusetts Avenue and then to Shawmut Avenue, pausing briefly for a moment of silence at the Mosque for the Praise of Allah, before demonstrators chanted “Muslim lives matter.” The march proceeded to Dudley Station where demonstrators paused for songs and chants, then to Dudley Street, ending at the corner of Blue Hill Avenue.

‘Get off the sidewalk’

As the march made its way past public housing developments and apartment buildings, occupants peered out of windows and stepped out of their doors, and many joined in the march as demonstrators chanted “Get off the sidewalks and into the streets.”

“The pain of our people is so tremendous, and that’s why we’re out here,” said Bishop Felipe Teixeira, who helped lead the march. “You see the number of people marching. It speaks for itself.”

Brock Satter, an activist with Mass Action Against Police Brutality, said many have grown impatient with what he calls government inaction in the face of continued police killings of blacks.

“People no longer believe that the government might do something,” he said. “There is no denying that the killings keep going on without anything being done about it. People see through the posturing. What else can we do but take to the streets. Until something changes, we’ll be out in the streets.”

The march drew a multiracial crowd. Union members from UNITE HERE Local 26, SEIU 32 BJ, the Boston Teachers Union and United Steel Workers 8751 added to the ranks. As the protesters left Dudley Square and made their way toward Blue Hill Avenue, UMass Boston student Nicky Thibault stood outside a friend’s home to take in the scene.

“I’m happy to see all ethnicities working together for this,” he said. “This is what unity is about: people coming together for a just cause. This is a beautiful sight to see.”