24 June 8th, 2020: A day of Protest in the Midst of COVID-19
Created by Analise Nyland
“the world is hard right now but I keep thinking about when we’ll be able to look back on this time as old people, when there was so much death and destruction, and see the change that came out of it. I hope all of this will make it a safer world for us to play Mancala every morning in.”
~ A note written by me and put into my girlfriend’s lunch
On June 8th 2020 I had been glued to Twitter the entire weekend. I was in my childhood home in Bremerton, and had been watching video after video of protester being tear gassed a ferry ride away in Seattle. There were hours’ worth of videos coming out, posts telling people what street the police were on, photos of police putting on SWAT gear, and eventually an instated curfew shortly after the ferry system was shut down, leaving people stranded. The CHAZ was established on this day, but I didn’t know it yet. That morning was just like any other morning, my girlfriend and I got up at 5am, I made her lunch while she got ready, and I drove her to work. The country’s current events loomed in the background more than usual.
After work that day we went to a protest that walked around the barrier between the suburbs of East Bremerton and Downtown West Bremerton, and stopped on the bridge that connects them, the Warren Avenue Bridge. It was the first large gathering many of us had been to in months, the number of COVID cases was just under 2 million. We all wore face masks, many of us had hand sanitizer on us. At this point, we still didn’t know a lot about how exactly the virus spread. We all protested anyways, being as safe as we could, because so many of us were at the end of our ropes. There was a collective exhaustion and exasperation, that in the midst of a global pandemic the police were still killing Black citizens without cause. I didn’t know what to expect from our city of 40,000 across the water from Seattle, I didn’t know how protest would be met.
As we stopped on the bridge we were met with hundreds of cars honking in solidarity. It was very empowering to see so much support from our city, and it was a rewarding experience to see how many people were all in solidarity with the hundreds of protestors. At the time this video was taken as well as six months later as I’m writing this now, the overarching news reporting was about violent protests to push a media agenda. To flesh out the image of what BLM protesting was like in 2020, there were also many protests like this, and there was a lot of support for them even in smaller cities. Below I’ve added a video of the cars honking in solidarity with our chants in the background.
Video provided by Analise Nyland, 2020