Over fifty cars held participants in the “Stop Killing Us!” rally Sunday afternoon at N.E. 36th Street and N. Kelly Ave. After hearing two speeches, the group held a caravan demonstration on N. Lincoln Boulevard in view of the Oklahoma Capitol.
“Important to us”
Lori Winters told Free Press she lives in the community around the intersection and they stopped by to “see what was going on.”
She decided to stay and participate.
We asked about dinner plans on Mother’s Day. She said that event is “important to us” and that “dinner will be there” whenever they got back to the house from the errand she was running.
She had with her two grandsons, Terrance and Kristian, about whom she is concerned as well as for the other young men in her family.
Concern about killings
People in over 50 vehicles gathered because of concern about the killing on video of Ahmaud Arbery, a young black man jogging down a street in a predominantly white neighborhood in Glynn County, Georgia.
After local prosecutors declared the killing to be in self-defense, for months, the situation gathered new energy when a video was published showing the incident.
Two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, have been charged with murder and aggravated assault, more than two months after 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was killed.
The two local prosecutors recused themselves from the case earlier because they knew the older McMichael who had been a policeman and special investigator for the district attorney’s office there.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation made the arrests only a day after they had been asked to investigate the case.
“Holding up black mamas”
Rev. Sheri Dickerson who has been one of the most active leaders of Black Lives Matter, OKC was one of the organizers of the event held in front of Nappy Roots Bookstore.
Dickerson told Free Press about the main goals of the rally:
“Our goals are to reiterate that black lives matter, that inherent and systemic racism is costing the lives of black and brown people at almost a daily rate,” Dickerson said.
She said that the rally was to “hold space and say that we honor” moms on Mother’s Day, “and the families, their fathers, their siblings, and their children.”
Dickerson said that she knows what it’s like to bury a son. Her son, Sam, died two years ago.
A bullet or a virus
One of the owners of Nappy Roots Books, Camille Landry spoke to the rally first.
She recalled how dangerous it is for black people, men and women, to even travel down the street without doing anything to anyone.
She said that often there is no other provocation for killings even by law enforcement except that a person is black.
“Their black skin is the weapon,” said Landry. “And although we say enough, we know that we do not have the power. We do not have the strength. We do not have the authority. Our lives do not matter.”
She went on, “And, if it’s not a bullet we catch, now we find that it might be a virus.”
Sheri Dickerson gave the second speech.
“I am damn sick of having to ask and say that I matter!”
The crowd had to resort to shouts and horn-honking to respond in a time of social distancing.
“Part of this [rally] is holding space and holding up black mamas, and daddies and sisters and brothers and families and grandmothers on Mother’s Day that do not have their children at the table that will never be able to embrace them in a physical sense, and are going to have to live this journey of grief and anger,” Dickerson said to shouts and horns honked from the dispersed crowd
She said the rally was to resist those who “make statements to justify lynching black bodies, killing us, and taking us from those who love us stealing our purpose and our destinies.”
“We are tired,” Dickerson said.
She closed by leading the crowd to shout “Stop killing us! Stop killing us! Stop killing us!”
Driving caravan demonstration
The 50+ vehicles that had signs taped on their windows and front grills then moved out onto 36th street and over to Lincoln Boulevard where they drove in a loop between N.E. 48th and N.E. 32nd with their flashers on for the next 15 minutes.
With social distancing it was a unique day for long-term supporters of Black Lives Matter who are accustomed to gather in tight groups to demonstrate.