This video shows an edited and incomplete version of what transpired.
My name is Mir Kannon Harris and while I write this with a heavy heart and healthy fear of what is about to happen in the coming days, I am more overwhelmed with inspiration and invigorated by the spirit of change. I, like many others, took to the streets last night in Los Angeles to display my frustrations and dismay. I emphasize display because none of us set out with the intent to harm, destroy or hurt anything or anyone. That was not the energy at all. It was amazing to see so many people of so many backgrounds, ages and colors chant in unison. We shut down a freeway. I never thought I would see such a motion in my life, let alone the streets of L.A.
As we embarked on the march from Staples Center to the police headquarters, so many emotions were running through my mind: Who will lead us when we get there? Who will speak wisdom to the angry and the lost? This was my third rally since the news of Michael Brown’s death broke out and the last thing I wanted to participate in was a screaming match between misguided chiefs.
We have existed in a system built to function off our backs, but never lets us prevail. We are a part of a machine that cares little for humanity and mostly for greed and profit. We are taught and shown that leaders get killed so you better fall back. We are a generation of followers following static noise. We need a new way when the new reality is: even if you follow the rules, live a “good” life, you may get shot for being the wrong color walking down the wrong street.
As the night progressed it was fascinating to see the differences between the officers–the ones who could readily empathize and showed kindness and the ones who had an eerie soullessness to their eyes and were impulsive and reactionary, similar to Darren Wilson. We were voicing our positions from a safe distance and what some have told me was “provocative” in action was well with in my rights as a citizen but more importantly as a human being.
I wasn’t touching anyone. I wasn’t waving any weapons. We weren’t throwing rocks or bottles. The most I damaged was the plant I stood on and I’m deeply sorry for that succulent, but I digress.
Suddenly everything changed. An officer by the name of Miller not only pushed me back with extreme force, but proceeded to choke me and push me back by the throat.
I did not touch him. I did not cross the line. Yet somewhere in his training he was taught to put his hands on a woman–a woman he vowed to protect and serve, unarmed and not harming or threatening him. That was what I was there to protest; the loss of critical thinking, compassion and acknowledgement of humanity.
Without getting into moment by moment particulars, this changed the energy immediately but I was nowhere near prepared for what happened next. Chaos broke out and while attention of the crowd was diverted to a reporter from KTLA 5 who was attacked and swiftly taken into the station, Officer Miller found me. He found me alone backing up to the side and I vividly remember seeing a rage glare over his eyes I will never forget. As he screamed “You fucking b*tch,” he rapidly approached me with three other cops as I screamed for someone to notice. I was alone and unarmed. I was immediately terrified. He rammed me in the ribs with his baton, punched me in the face as the officer to his right held a shotgun pointed at my eye.
I don’t know what hit me harder: his force or the realization that this moment could happen to anyone. None of us are safe. I couldn’t sleep last night or this morning. As equal support and ridicule poured in regarding my actions, all I could hear from my peers and loved ones was fear. When did we get so comfortable with fearing our surroundings?
I had a moment of clarity. I am less concerned with changing the minds of my peers or counterparts than I am with showing a different way to live and think–an alternative to what we are taught to believe. I am not setting out to be a hero, martyr or rebel, however, I now accept that those stigmas may be a byproduct of not wanting to look back at a powerful time in my life, in history, and regret doing nothing. I don’t want my children to look at me and wonder why I didn’t try.
I often find myself telling people the only difference between you and Martin, Malcolm or Angela is that they believed they could, but you don’t even believe we can together. I believe we all can. I believe we have no choice but to wake up.
Now is the time for the strong to unite, to embrace the weak and fearful and convert their energies. Surprisingly to some, I agree with much of the criticism about the protests. We do need guidance, organization and strategy. We do need to be more effective but it starts with a conversation. It starts with a willingness. To achieve any great peace, we will first see conflict. If you study mankind, you will notice no great change ever came without first experiencing loss, pain and suffering. How long we remain in suffering is up to us and us alone.
Around the globe, we need leaders who believe wholeheartedly in a better world and are able to face fear, to look evil in the eye like we did in the front lines last night and not back down. Is it you? We need individuals to stand up and use their voices. You don’t have to be in the front lines like I was, but you can utilize your access to spread awareness of what’s going on. We live in an unprecedented time of sharing information. Are you thinking about it? Talk to someone until you find a like mind and keep going. I implore my generation to stand up. You don’t have to be a savior or a hero, but you do need to participate.
You can’t take your twitter followers or black Friday TV to the grave but your essence is eternal. Don’t pay for this lifetime’s mistakes your next time around because you were too scared to try. They can’t kill us all and we can no longer afford to let them have all the power.
#Mirsays #StandUp #WakeUp #FightOn
Follow me on Twitter at @meremir