A bustling street in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., separated two groups. Each was fenced in by stone-faced police officers and steel barricades: an Asian-American community divided by Tuesday’s sentencing of 28-year-old Peter Liang, the son of Chinese immigrants.
On one side, a group of mainly Chinese-American protesters held up poster boards declaring “Racist Prosecution!” and “Peter Liang Deserves Justice too!” in black marker.
On the other, a racially-mixed group of activists that included Asian-Americans lifted “Black Lives Matter” signs, both in English and Chinese.
“It was so hard to get out from under his shadow. He was so known in the community that I couldn’t do anything without people saying: ‘That’s Sharif’s son.’ I couldn’t try and fail and be a fuck up, because it was always his name that I was representing. He lived life on his terms. That’s who he was. The allure of being a public figure was always greater than the allure of being a present father. I remember him leaving the house at 6 AM and coming back at 3 AM. There were a lot of times when I looked into the stands at a track meet or a football game, and there was nobody there. Only when I was old enough to join his fight did I finally start spending time with him. If he was organizing a protest against the Board of Education, my brothers and I were the ones setting up the tent cities. He once told me: ‘I’d love for you to love me. But as long as you grow into a man who provides for his family and cares about his community, I don’t need you to love me.’ It took me a long time to stop resenting him for not providing the things that I wanted. But eventually I had to accept I couldn’t choose who he was. But I could choose to love him.” (3/3)
A march through North Philadelphia on July 8 not only grew as it passed through many neighborhoods over 4 hours, short rallies were held wherever there were crowds and many who didn’t join listened and raised their fists. Outrage against police brutality, mass incarceration and police killings - Alton Sterlings and Philando Castile are just the latest - is so common that most people of color can easily understand why someone would break and shoot at cops, as in Dallas the day before. Starting at 22 and Lehigh, the protest reached Broad and Huntingpark Ave, marched back via Germantown Ave and finally stopped at Allegheny and Broad. Surprising the cops, protesters then boarded the Broad Street subway to City Hall. When cops on foot and bicycles confronted demonstrators in the street outside of City Hall, protesters briefly surrounded the police. The worried cops quickly forced their way out of the encirclement. The protest was organized and led by the REAL Justice Coalition and Black and Brown Workers Collective.