Roughly 200 demonstrators marched throughout Madison Sunday to protest police officers killing Alton Sterling and
The protest began at Library Mall, and the crowd then walked down State Street toward the Capitol chanting “black lives matter,” while some onlookers yelled “all lives matter.” Madison Police Department officers blocked traffic at intersections to allow protesters to continue walking on State Street.
The crowd then circled Capitol Square, making their path through Art Fair on the Square, an annual weekend event that was ending as protesters arrived. Alice Traore was passing through the art fair during the demonstration, and she said these marches can serve as a reminder for what is happening around the country.
“I love the fact that they have their presence here. I needed to do some self-care, and kind of break away from media and take a break from the videos I’ve been seeing,” Traore said. “But I’m afraid that some
At the intersection of West Mifflin Street and Wisconsin Avenue, the crowd climbed the steps to the Capitol and gathered at the top of the stairs. The group remained outside, as the building was closed and leaders spoke, reminding people of the need for “uncomfortable conversations.” One person urged the crowd to stay motivated after the day because “this is a movement, not a moment.”
After this, the demonstration continued to the Dane County Public Safety Building, where Freedom Inc. and Young, Gifted and Black Coalition leaders recently protested the violent arrest of 18-year-old
At the public safety building, the demonstration dwindled to about 100 people, according to an MPD officer. Protesters took turns speaking, often detailing personal accounts of discrimination, many of which included racial profiling that ended with police pulling guns on possible suspects. One speaker likened current police brutality against people of color to a “black holocaust.”
Donald Bacon, who did not know about the protest before hearing the crowd march down State Street, joined the crowd’s chanting, despite his voice being hoarse after protesting throughout much of last week.
“It’s sad to hear, but this is happening everywhere. It just takes one person to step up and make
Focusing on local issues, protesters called for increased support of small businesses owned by black people. They also demanded community control of the police and for police officers to be trained more on de-escalation tactics. Freedom Inc. will also be holding a rally Monday for these demands.
Kaba Bah, a research assistant at UW-Madison, also spoke at the end of the rally. He addressed All Lives Matter supporters.
“All lives do matter,” Bah said. “They are right, but not all lives matter equally in America right now.”
Bacon said he wants to see the Black Lives Matter movement spread locally through interpersonal connections.
“It’s a good movement, man,” Bacon said. “I just want to get along; we all just want to get along.”