This evening the MICA Social Design 2016 cohort has our first class with Myra Margolin on Visualizing Baltimore. A handful of us started early by attending the #freddiegray protest at the Baltimore courthouse this morning as the first hearing was preparing to begin.
I personally felt tension between feeling like an ill-prepared anthropologist interested in observing first hand what I’ve only witnessed through news media, an outsider and a moral conviction to be an ally, despite the discomfort. We gathered along the periphery, but were quickly handed signs to hold in protest. At one point several of us were asked for an interview, but all turned it down. I personally turned it down because while I was there to support the effort, my impetus for being there was school and if for some reason that made it onto the news and someone else’s impassioned speech on systemic racism did not, I would have felt like a complete ass.
I left the protest around 9 to find a quiet place to take a call, but soon after, the protest found me. Protesters came running down the streets, outpacing the news reporters and officers that were monitoring the protest. They assembled on Pratt St, the main drag that runs along the inner harbor in Baltimore. After blocking traffic, they were blocked by a wall of officers on either side.
On the intersecting street that folks had been running down, a man was on the ground surrounded by several officers. He was soon arrested, though it’s unclear why. Word quickly spread through the crowd that he had been hit by a car. That man has since been identified as Kwamy Rose. After a short time in a police van, an ambulance arrived and he was transfered to that vehicle.