Tallahassee is unwelcoming to peaceful protests

Columnist Cala Callins. Photo by Callins

Over the past couple of months, Tallahassee has experienced protest after protest. The first being the Black Lives Matter movement after the George Floyd death which led to many more after the city of Tallahassee has proven there is no equal opportunity between races.

After the first Black Lives Matter mural painting in Washington, D.C., other states and cities quickly followed suit. Soon after, there was a mural done in Tallahassee, Fla., but the location was not satisfying enough.

Time after time, Tallahassee officials have proven to us — the Black community — that they do not care and that they only do the bare minimum to try to shut us down. The protest that has been put on by the Black community has been peaceful until counter-protesters come in and distract the main purpose of the protest.

In a tweet, Niyah Lewis, a junior political science major, told us how she felt about what was going on and how this curfew was going to improve the community and their rights they are fighting for.

When protesting there are not just Black people in the streets; there are people of every race and gender wanting their voice to get heard but somehow, they are never taken into consideration. It seems like having a protest is not good enough but that is the only way to get noticed or to try and get heard.

With Tallahassee being the capital of the state, hosting a protest should open their eyes. Instead, it seems like every time a protest is organized officials are already ten steps ahead and prepared to stop it even when it is being done peacefully.

On September 5, 2020, there was an angry driver who drove through traffic, got out his car and pulled out a gun on the protesters. This encounter was not the first that transpired during a protest. A couple of months ago, at the initial Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd, a white man drove through the protestors and was not charged for his actions.

According to WXTXL, the police reports that while law enforcement was arresting the driver, several members of the crowd tried to interfere and did not comply with law enforcement’s command. Due to their actions, they were arrested. No charges have been announced.

Was this necessary? Why couldn’t they just be talked to aside? How does arresting protesters prove a point? Honestly, this just makes the people of the community more upset because the Tallahassee Police Department feels like they are entitled and they are more powerful than everyone else.

Moving forward, Tallahassee needs to do better when addressing certain situations and protesting is the first thing they need to discuss. The way they were handling the protestors at the Capitol was very unethical, as seen in various footage. We have a right for freedom expression but it gets taken away from people who don’t want to see or help make a change.