Seattle's autonomous zone, referred to now as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), formerly Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) organized a segregated protest on Friday, to celebrate Juneteenth. It organized a blacks-only area that is guarded and monitored by white people.
The idea appears to be that liberation is best manifested through segregation. The overturning of segregation was a primary demand of the Civil Rights movement that was so instrumental in attaining equality under the law for black Americans.
The event post on Facebook says "We’re blacking out CHOP…the viral death of black bodies was the catalyst for this current movement and we need to make sure we remain focused. This means both policy and systemic change to our systems and healing space for black people.
"So that's exactly what we're creating. A series of events in which we center black healing and community.
"What we need from our non-black allies are donations of money and supplies and the willingness to support by quietly protecting sacred space for black healing. We need allies on the outskirts who are willing to be a physical barrier of protection and to peacefully deter potential interruptions.
"We will be socially distancing. Please wear masks. If you don't have one, we will have some extra available to make sure we are protecting ourselves."
And goes on to list the schedule for the day.
White people were asked to guard black protestors, to protect with their white bodies in silence, and to make contributions of money or resources.
Twitter user @kmele went to the "blackout" protest, and posted a tweet as to what he encountered. He writes: "Nothing screams, "END WHITE SUPREMACY" like a segregated field designated 'blacks only.' They mill about, taking in the sun, surrounded by a cordon of white guardians. Beyond parody. Also, more than a little disturbing."
The video shows a sign that reads "BLACK-OUT: AN ALL BLACK HEALING SPACE," which apparently bars those from any other race entering the area.
The man recording approaches the two white people holding the sign, and asks them how long the "black-out" is going for. The woman says until 8 p.m., which prompts the man to confirm that he would have to wait until then to enter the protected space. She responded by saying that he could hang out in "perimeter," but not enter the protected area.
The man recording raises the point that he is half Columbian and half Italian, "so do I get a pass to get in there, or...?" The woman responds by saying that "this space is right now held for just black folks."
The white enforcer then goes on to qualify her response by saying that if you "have black ancestry... or if you have experienced oppression because you are black, then you can enter this space."
The white people successfully kept the Columbian Italian American from entering this segregated space. It is unclear how segregation is meant to be a tool of unification, or how separating people based on race creates a space in which to fight racism. While combatting the systemic racism that CHOP protestors believe is inherent within greater society, protestors have recreated their own race-based hierarchy, where whites are meant to both keep their distance, and to keep others out.
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