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Davis

Davis, California

Friday, July 30, 2021

White BLM protestors struggle with #SayHisName

 A community struggles to render justice and to not make it weird

Over 60 white Black Lives Matter activists met in Davis Central Park last Sunday to protest the deaths of unarmed African Americans by police departments across the nation. The event culminated in the ceremonial name-saying of the latest victim of police brutality, an unarmed African American father in Ohio. From The California Aggie, this is CITY NEWS.

The sun beats down, it’s high noon on the protestors in Davis’s Central Park. Through their masks, organizers shout chants of  “ACAB,” “Hold Them Accountable” and “No justice, no peace.” The crowd is predominantly white, with a few Asian Americans in attendance. All of them wear BLM shirts. A few even hold signs.

A microphone rings to life and Sandra Tawny, a community activist, climbs onto a stage in the middle of the park. Tawny is a tall, white woman in her 40s, and she walks with a seriousness to her stride. A large projection screen looms in the background.

“Thank you for coming,” Tawny said. She stands before a wall of white protestors. “My name is Sandra Tawny, and today we’re here to call others in our community to justice—to show our community where we stand. Today, we show everyone that Davis gives a damn about Black lives.” Cheers and whoops rise from the audience.

“We’ll march through the streets!” she continues, picking up volume. “We’ll knock on doors!”

“We are NO DIFFERENT than the men and women affected by police brutality.” Her skin sheens in the light of the sun. “NO DIFFERENT, than the African American man who died in Ohio. Say His Name!”

“Say His Name!” the audience replies.

“SAY HIS NAME,” she repeats, waving her arms.

“SAY HIS NAME,” they reply.

She motions to her partner who turns on his laptop and begins the slideshow. She clicks her remote and throws her fist in the air. A picture and a name flash onto the screen. The protesters are now at a fever pitch.

“We are the same as…” she turns her head to look at the name and freezes. So does the crowd. A silence comes over Central Park. A single cough rings out through the audience.

“How do you say that name?” yells a protestor in the front row. Polite whispers skitter through the audience.

“Come on guys,” says Sandra Tawny. “It’s not that hard.” She shifts her weight from side to side. “So who wants to say it?” she offers.

A white woman from the front pipes in with a suggestion.

“I don’t think that’s right,” frowns Sandra Tawny. 

“Now I have had plenty of Black friends…” the white woman starts. A collective groan erupts from the audience.

“Alright, everybody on the bus. We’ll figure it out on the way there. Black lives matter,” she says raising a fist.

“Black lives matter,” the audience replies, casually.

As the crowd disperses, a single Black student, Aaron Mathis, 19, stands alone on the lawn with his mouth agape. His fellow protestors leave for their bus, but his eyes remain fixed on the name on the screen:

Jim Brown

#SayHisName

“How the f*** did they miss that?” he mutters.

Written By: Matthew Simons — mrsimons@ucdavis.edu

(Disclaimer: This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)

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