Thursday, September 10, 2020

The march goes on: This moment in civil rights history: Reflections from Springfielders on demonstrations in D.C.

Tiffani Saunders was a teenager when she joined her family members for the 30th anniversary March on Washington in 1993. A Maryland resident at the time, she said she was lucky her family was active in matters of social justice and civil rights. "What I was able to do was translate those (historical) black and white images into color, in real time, in the modern era when I was 13." Saunders said that and other activist events her parents took her to were formative experiences. She's now an anthropologist and professor at University of Illinois Springfield where she teaches African American studies.

The most recent march in D.C. is happening as cities around the country continue with demonstrations, as has been the case for months. In cities such as Portland and Chicago, police have attacked and arrested protesters. Conduct of federal agents and police has been unlawful at times, according to civil rights groups such as the ACLU. Demonstration is part of our cultural fabric. "We've seen in the past, action by taking to the streets has led to profound change," said Saunders. The majority of those calling for racial justice out in the streets have not engaged in violent activity. But that doesn't mean everyone is comfortable by their relentless presence in the public eye.

This article appeared in the Illinois Times on September 10, 2020.