Pics, video, and a poem from yesterday’s ‘March to End Violence’ rally in Portland

Reports had the total turnout for Sunday’s “March to End Violence”, which was organized by local and regional advocacy groups, at about 600 people.

But as their chants reverberated through Portland’s downtown- at times approaching deafening levels- it felt like a lot more than that had turned out for the event.

Photo- Chris Shorr, BDN.

Photo- Chris Shorr, BDN.

Pedestrians on the sidewalk stopped to watch, people hung out of high-rise windows to snap pictures and record video, and the Portland Police Department did a wonderful job of handling the whole thing.

The protestors maintained their intensity throughout the entirety of the march, and many people- participants and observers- were visibly overcome by the emotion and passion emanating from the crowd.

Photo- Chris Shorr, BDN.

Photo- Chris Shorr, BDN.

The march ended in the Portland High School gymnasium, which is right across the street from City Hall, and several people got up to speak in front of a podium.

Portland mayor Mike Brennan was there. He said of the rally, “I think that what we’re seeing in Portland is reflective of the larger events going on around the country. I’m happy with how everyone has handled themselves.”

Joseph Jackson was there too, he’s the director of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition. He read a moving poem, which is posted below. There is some R-rated language in the poem that I’ve censored with hyphens, but this is your disclaimer.

Here are some pictures and videos from the march:




 

“Inhale Exhale”

How I so long to deep a take breath and just Roar

Cut through the snore

Officers Pantaleo, and Wilson killing black men like it’s a social chore

I’m past saying ain’t taking no more

just breathe, just Roar.

 

There are kings behind our closet doors

The Black man was Mansa, Pharoah, and King

Created in the image of the Supreme Being

Some cringe- but this isn’t a reverse racism binge

 

Attempting to remove negative of blacks from the social lens

Discrimination and Oppression are the sins

And a violation of a morality is forgetting where you have been.

 

At Olduvai Tanzania tied on leaves of figs

In Northern Africa erected the pyramids

Constructed the temple of Israel Big

Then bowed to Alexander after we did a jig.

 

Out of Carthage followed Hannibal over high hills

For half a Millenium debated in Spain over new ideas

Survived the cotton field and dangling heels

Only to still kneel

 

Structured knowledge we still yield

Remaining silent while we’re still killed

Still restrained with steel.

 

And I Roar with arching back and clenched fist

Choked till I can’t breathe and s—

For allegedly stealing cigars and selling cigarettes.

 

It was Mali, Timbuktu, and Ethiopia the last time black lives were rich

Dirt we still pitched, but there was none of that N—– s—

and now instead of saying the word n—–, their guns spit

While I sit here spitting my gums begging for them to quit

 

I need to sit

And take a deep breath.-

Joseph Jackson, Director of Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

 

 

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.