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Many Madisonians were very angry yesterday when a stretch of John Nolen Drive near the Beltline and Rimrock Road was closed for awhile when 50-75 protesters refused to leave the roadway as they protested for black lives and community control of the police.

I wish my physically-challenged Black friend didn’t feel like he needed to be in his wheelchair in the middle of the road at 98 degrees, vulnerable to road rage, in order to have his life matter. I am mostly concerned for him.

I’m sorry for ‘that parent who couldn’t get their kid to the ER’ (not saying they don’t exist but this is a go-to excuse, for sure) but it could have very well been a Badger football game or Expo that jammed traffic. What do people do then? Does football better justify the delay? Or state wrestling? Or Rick Springfield?

“The reality is that we White folks have the privilege of being inconvenienced by protest rather than relying on it as one of the last-ditch efforts to see some semblance of justice out of a system that was built for the purpose of returning property to it’s White owner. Our mental and physical survival doesn’t depend on protest.”

Imagine if this “greatest” city’s White people cared enough about all babies to show up in their off hours to demand an end to state violence against Black and Brown bodies? What if White people showed up as much as they get irritated by protest? The traffic would flow. Racism is at it’s very minimum, inconvenient, but today it was inconvenient for everyone on that road, not just some. Equity feels like oppression to the privileged who don’t choose it.

The reality is that we White folks have the privilege of being inconvenienced by protest rather than relying on it as one of the last-ditch efforts to see some semblance of justice out of a system that was built for the purpose of returning property to its White owner. Our mental and physical survival doesn’t depend on protest.
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There are more than 1,110 children that are homeless in Madison and they are disproportionately Black. The same few faces show up in their off hours before elected officials over and over advocating to end homelessness and poverty for these children. I can’t imagine what would happen if 1 percent of this “greatest” city’s residents actually showed that they cared about all of this “greatest” city’s children, not just their own or the one’s getting stuck in traffic.

We can start caring enough to address the very reasons of why the protest is happening in the first place. Otherwise, these protests will be happening far more frequently with greater attendance so that all families will share the impact of state violence, not just some.

Written by Amelia Royko Maurer

Amelia Royko Maurer

Amelia Royko Maurer is a human rights advocate and a founding member of the Community Response Team.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree that inconveniencing people is ok. But, for the several ambulances that couldn’t get through, the man who couldn’t get to his insulin at the hotel, the person who missed her cancer treatment, the emergency vehicles that couldn’t respond to storm-related calls for help (these things actually happened), it was not merely an “inconvenience.” Furthermore, I think the analogy to traffic delays caused by sporting events is lacking. People who are going to a badger game and who unwittingly get stuck in a traffic jam aren’t intending to cause traffic stoppage and delays that they know could cause someone truly needing medical care to not be able to get to it, as these protestors did. And Badger games don’t generally cause total stoppages of traffic for several hours. There’s a difference. I’m all for making political statements, but intentionally preventing people from getting medical care for hours on end, well that goes too far.

  2. Obviously no other ethnic backgrounds beside white people drive on Madison streets. If you read the numerous articles the majority of protesters dispersed when asked to leave. It was give or take a few, 10 protesters that stayed. In reference to the white privilege of Kohl Center or Camp Randall athletics these events are from what I have noticed planned ahead of time. Police and Fire services know to avoid these areas and use alternative routes. I’m not saying Madison doesn’t need to make changes, I’m thinking there has to be a better way. In my experience, when people are angry they don’t think clearly. To me that just makes the problem bigger.

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