BY ALAINA TRIANTAFILLEDES
In the June heat, we march the quiet streets of southern Maryland. Despite the masks muffling our chant, his name echoes around the block. We raise clenched fists and paper signs with black and red ink, one with a list of names. I recognize about half of them.
Police are stationed along the side of our route, stiff-shouldered shepherds standing in silent solidarity. The county sheriff is there, taking photos with some of the protestors. We finish our first round without incident.
Into the second loop, the police form a barricade.
“The license to protest expired,” the sheriff says. “Move to the sidewalk.”
The event coordinator is trying to reason with him. Meanwhile, a SWAT team arrives in full gear, aiming their tear gas launchers at the crowd. We kneel in indignant vulnerability, staring solemnly through their clear shields.
To my right, protestors are shuffling to the sidewalk, signs hanging at their sides, shouting, “Keep the peace!”
To my left, the others are standing their ground, crying out, “No justice, no peace!”
When the first shot is fired, we all scatter.
Alaina Triantafilledes is a sophomore in the Renee Crown Honors Program. She is on track to major in Creative Writing along with Writing and Rhetoric. Outside of class, she attends Write Out, the campus creative writing club, and also does undergraduate research to sponsor local reading series and writing workshops. Hopefully, all of this literary preparation will lead her to an editorial career and a freelance writing contract!