WXXI AM News

black lives matter

Scott Fybush / WXXI News

A Black Lives Matter protest that started peacefully Saturday afternoon ended in arrests four hours later after some protesters staged a sit-in that closed roads into downtown Rochester.

After rallying in Washington Square Park, more than a hundred protesters, including families with small children, set off on a march down Broad Street. They stopped at several points along the way to stage a die-in and a teach-in, while police looked on and controlled traffic.

Saturday marks one year since the Black Lives Matter protest in Rochester. The demonstrations near East and Alexander Streets lasted hours, with more than 70 people being arrested by police in riot gear, who said they were trying to keep the peace. A year later, activists who were part of that protest are sharing their thoughts about the movement’s progress and goals.

We talk to them about the successes and their frustrations. In studio:

  • Frederick Douglass (pseudonym), Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Nicole, Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Jazper, Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Tonya Noel, co-founder of the Flower City Noire Collective and director of Cause N FX Greenspace

Saturday marks one year since the Black Lives Matter protest in Rochester. The demonstrations near East and Alexander Streets lasted hours, with more than 70 people being arrested by police in riot gear, who said they were trying to keep the peace. A year later, activists who were part of that protest are sharing their thoughts about the movement’s progress and goals.

We talk to them about the successes and their frustrations. In studio:

  • Frederick Douglass (pseudonym), Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Nicole, Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Jazper, Black Lives Matter organizer
  • Tonya Noel, co-founder of the Flower City Noire Collective and director of Cause N FX Greenspace

This coming Friday is Black Lives Matter Day in the Rochester City School District. RCSD says the mission is to create "a day of education, dialogue and action that will actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities that support understanding the affirmation of black lives."

The Rochester Board of Education and the RTA supports this programming, but participation by individual teachers is optional. We discuss it with our panel:

  • LoWan Brown, assistant principal at Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy and co-organizer of the event
  • Chris Widmaier, science teacher at World of Inquiry School No. 58 and co-organizer of the event
  • Mahreen Mustafa-George, parent and co-organizer of the event
  • Atim Okung, student activist and co-organizer of the event

The Little Theatre is getting ready to show a powerful film called I Am Not Your Negro. Here's how the filmmakers describe it:

"In 1979, James Baldwin wrote a letter to his literary agent describing his new endeavor: the writing of his final book, Remember This House, recounting the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin was not able to complete the book before his death, and the unfinished manuscript was entrusted to director Raoul Peck. Built exclusively around Baldwin's words, Peck's I Am Not Your Negro delves into the complex legacy of three lives (and deaths) that permanently marked the American social and political landscape. Framing the unfinished work as a radical narration about race in America, Peck matches Baldwin's lyrical rhetoric with rich archival footage of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and connects these historical struggles for justice and equality to the present-day movements that have taken shape in response to the killings of young African-American men including Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, and Amir Brooks."

Our guests discuss the film, and this particular American moment. In studio:

  • Richard McCullough, meteorologist and president of the Rochester Association of Black Journalists
  • Dr. David Anderson, history re-enactor and community leader
  • Bri Merkel, artistic director for The Little Theatre

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is immersed in controversy after he refused to stand during the national anthem before a preseason game. Kaepernick told reporters, "I'm not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

Some say Kaepernick's actions are courageous and will help make a point and lead to change, but others say he disrespected the flag and U.S. veterans. We discuss both sides of the issue with our guests:

This past weekend on the streets of Rochester and  on the streets of many other American cities, crowds of people gathered to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

In some cities, the demonstrations were strong, but without confrontation. In Memphis, the acting chief of police marched arm-in-arm with Black Lives Matter leaders who had shut down a major bridge. Police prayed with the protesters.

In other cities, like Rochester, police donned shields and pushed the crowd out of the streets, saying they were trying to keep the peace. Dozens of people were arrested, including two African American reporters from 13WHAM News.

We discuss the community's response to the protests and what's next for the Black Lives Matter movement. Our guests:

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League will be in Rochester on March 29 as a guest of the Urban League of Rochester.
 

He joins Connections to talk about race in America and the Urban League's efforts to engage presidential candidates.

In 1906, the Bronx Zoo opened a new exhibition in its Monkey House. Thousands of visitors flocked to see the highly controversial “attraction” – a 103-pound, four-foot, eleven-inch Congolese man named Ota Benga, who was caged with an orangutan. His story, and society’s response, is told in a new book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, by journalist Pamela Newkirk.

Newkirk is in Rochester this week to talk about the book and the media’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter Movement. She will give two lectures at the University of Rochester. She joins us in studio for a preview.

Hillary Clinton met privately with representatives from the Black Lives Matter Boston chapter last week, and the video has been released. We’ll talk about Clinton’s remarks, her history, and what happens next. In studio:

  • Adrian Elim, B.L.A.C.K. (Building Leadership and Community Knowledge)
  • Van White, president of the school board of the Rochester City School District
  • Verdis Robinson, professor of History and African American studies at Monroe Community College