By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor
On Sunday, I attended the Austin Rally & March For Black Lives. The experience was transformative not just for me personally, but for Texas as a whole to have so many come out in support against police brutality.
Let the march not end here. The Black Lives Matter movement is a part of a bigger, more important change within our nation.
I’m not here to vilify those simply spreading awareness on social media. When I awoke to Blackout Tuesday, scrolling through an overwhelmingly black wall on Instagram filled me and many others with morale for the cause.
But there’s more we can and should do. I want to support anyone with doubts that they can and should protest.
Protesting takes on many forms
Protesting does not necessarily mean marching. Attending a protest at any time and location is acceptable and different for every person. During the protest, I spotted many people sitting by the curb of the streets to cheer on those marching. They brought posters of support for every leg of the journey.
If for physical reasons you are unable to march, you can still participate in this way. Find a route that suits you and stick with it, whether that means only attending the speeches held by black representatives before or afterward or sitting at the end of the finish line or along the way.
Whether it’s only for one hour or a few hours, every physical presence is felt. There is no such thing as bad protesting as long as an honest effort is put forward.
No supplies? No problem
The picture above shows one of the many stalls that lined the streets of Austin that day. The community surrounding peaceful protests is probably the most valuable service to the march I witnessed. Many supporters lined the streets with free supplies of water, food, masks and sunscreen for protesters.
Injuries suffered during protests are not just caused by rubber bullets and tear gas, but exponential heat strokes. However, with the support of the community, dehydration and overheating aren’t something to be particularly worried about anymore.
An abundant amount of water bottles and other resources are available, so while it is important to come prepared for any protest, the community surrounding these protests is enabling all to be able to participate.
The center and most integral aspect of the Austin Rally & March For Black Lives is its focus on peace and Black voices. Every speaker at the event was Black, including the chief organizer of the event Chas Moore and the victim Mike Romas’ mother, Brenda Moore.
More than ever, it is important to hear these voices and under peaceful circumstances. These rallies and marches are not just a place to express but to inform ourselves as well. Protests better ourselves and our resolve as a community to band together for the protection of all people.
So before you consider skipping, consider the benefits above and any other rational reason people have thrown your way in the past week. The political, social, and economic strain within the United States is undeniable. The disparity between races is undeniable.
Nothing is more effective than a physical demonstration of our solidarity and hope for a better future.
Featured image by Andrea Mau.