Why Break Away
The Joy of Doing Something Else
On Tuesday 04.13, Pittsburghers took to the street in solidarity with those protesting the killing of Daunte Wright by police in Brooklyn Center, MN. The details of his case follow an all-too familiar cadence. And regardless of the particulars, it is clear that the police continue to kill at will. Abolition remains the only viable solution.
The action started similarly to many, many actions from last year. After speeches and a move down Penn, the crowd ended up in Mellon Park. While most people gathered to sit around one of the pavilions, a smaller group of people held space at the intersection of 5th and Beechwood. Eventually, they were joined by a few others, mostly black bloc.
Critique has already been written regarding march leadership, and broadly the authors of this piece agree with what has already been written and do not feel the need to elaborate further. We would like to focus on what happened next.
We did something uncommon in Pittsburgh when the march moved on towards Peduto’s house. We didn’t follow. We stayed behind in the intersection. We asked each other what we wanted to do. We were a crowd of 30. We wanted to go somewhere else. We wanted to make sure that people knew why we were marching. We made it known.
And moving through those darkened streets, encouraging residents to join us, raising the name of the latest victim of the state’s bullets, we also found each other more deeply. We navigated as a collective. We took a water break as a group. The voices leading chants changed as those who had the breath to give them voice spoke out in turn. It was exhilarating. Our little group was in the streets but also in community.
When it came time to scatter ourselves back to our homes, we concocted a plan. We made for a bridge but slid off the sides to the street below and from there into the night.
There was something special about our little breakaway. There was a joy, a purpose different from what many of us had felt for some time. It was simple. It was beautiful.
Find each other. Get out there.