[Vision2020] Black Lives Matter rally scheduled in Moscow

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Sat Oct 1 01:58:25 PDT 2016

Courtesy of today's (October 1, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

Black Lives Matter rally scheduled in Moscow

Washington State University sophomore Brianna Smathers felt compelled to do something this past summer in the wake of several fatal shootings involving police and unarmed black males.

So the Moscow native organized the first series of Black Lives Matter rallies on the Palouse, including a rally scheduled for Sunday at Friendship Square in Moscow. She hopes to commemorate the black lives lost to police brutality and bring awareness to police treatment of people of color.

"Situations keep happening - when I had my last protest it was Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Pedro Valenueva and Delrawn Dempsy," Smathers said. "... It's necessary to keep talking about them because people need to be informed."

Smathers said she hopes to bring more understanding of the movement to Pullman and Moscow and to educate both communities on the struggles students of color face, an issue which she believes is not widely acknowledged. Smathers said she believes students of color are uncomfortable and unappreciated at WSU, especially with the plan by a group of students to erect a "Trump Wall" on the Pullman campus in support of Donald Trump's stance on immigration policy and his proposal to build a wall along the country's southern border.

James Allsup, Trump Wall organizer and College Republican president, said the Black Lives Matter movement is doing a disservice to blacks and the country.

"By encouraging rioting and looting like we saw in Ferguson and Charlotte, African-American communities end up destroyed and worse off than they were before Black Lives Matter hold their rallies and protests that often resemble truly frightening race riots," he said.

Philip Tyler, Spokane's NAACP president, offered his support for the rally and movement in an email interview.

"We believe and agree with direct action, but also know the importance of being involved in local, state and federal legislatures and actions. Rallies, protests and shutting things down are an effect, but so too is opening things up via conversation, collaboration and disrupting the status quo via our votes. 'Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count.' The attention the BLM brings to the issue of racial injustice is vitally important. We both want the same thing in the end ... justice and true democracy."

Gavin Pielow, president of the Young Democrats at WSU, also supports the rally.

"I'm attending the Black Lives Matter rally to be there as an ally in solidarity with the African-American community," he said. "I'm not there to vocalize my own expressions on the Black Lives Matter movement. I'm there to support the vocalization of others' expression within the Black Lives Matter movement. For Black Lives Matter to succeed, white communities need to acknowledge their message but not hijack their message."

The rally is a collaborative effort between the Moscow and Pullman communities and will include guest speakers from the Middle Eastern Students' Association, Native American community and members of multicultural fraternities. Before the rally, some participants will take part in a progressive picnic hosted by KRFP Radio at the 1912 Building. At 4:45 p.m., members will march to Friendship Square for the demonstration. The rally will include poetry and a flag washing ceremony.

Smathers said she wanted to remind people the purpose of the event is not to blame any particular group, but to educate.


Sunday . . . 5 pm . . . Friendship Square

Seeya there, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" 
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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