CRLS Students Speak Out About Protests in Boston

On Sunday, May 31st, many students from CRLS attended a protest in Boston in response to the killing of George Floyd. For most of the protest, things were peaceful, but as nightfall came, the police began to use control tactics to disperse the crowd. Here are some of the accounts from CRLS students that attended the protest, and their thoughts on what ensued: 

“I’ve never felt more supported than when I was walking through the streets of Boston with thousands who truly believe that black lives matter. There was a moment towards the end of the protest where we were gathered in the dark and everyone raised a flashlight and it showed me how powerful the people can be when they work together. The scariest part of the night by far was when I was walking to get my bike to leave and maybe 30 or 40 heavily armed officers started marching towards me. My heart was pounding and a tear did come to my eye and I realized how horribly the presence of police affects the black community all throughout history. It was maybe one of the most eye opening and important nights of my life.” – Amelie Jamanka ’22


“I would say that the energy at the protest on Sunday was collectively peaceful and empowering. The media coverage on the rioting was biased, and didn’t really talk about how the police ran into crowds, prevented people from leaving, and unnecessarily used teargas and rubber bullets. I plan on going to the one today [Tuesday] and while I hope it stays peaceful, the anger at the BPD and police departments nationwide is undeniable. Lastly, I wanted to add that there are many allegations about BPD inciting some of this violence, taunting protestors, and throwing things themselves.” – Chloe Duncan-Wald ’22


“I went to the protests in Boston for a little bit. It was nice, it was good to see everyone being unified, everybody from all races coming out to support the movement and the big picture, fighting for justice. It was good to see. Also I just didn’t really like how the police were reacting. People were peacefully protesting and they were just doing the most and not treating the situation fairly.” – Rafael Ramos ’21


“I’ll just start by saying it was an emotional rollercoaster. By far one of the most moving protests I’ve ever been to. Everyone was united, I felt safe. At one point it made me and a few other people tear up. It was going great until the cops showed up and ruined it all. We watched them damage their own cars and the stores around us. They started shooting rubber bullets, one nearly hit me. But overall it was a great experience. The media just has it all twisted.” – Aya Boulouah ’22


“I went to the BLM protest on Sunday with a few of my friends and it was kind of surreal to see so many people risking their lives in a pandemic to try and force change. I hope that through this sacrifice we can secure legislation and reform that we weren’t able to get in marches and riots of the past. Finally, I hope that this inspires people to vote at every level of our democracy and bring in leaders that will change the system and listen to the people.” – Chris Gould ’22


“We need this country to change so that my friends can enjoy the same liberties I do. I cannot live in a world where those that I love can be killed in an instant for nothing, solely because of their race. Love is all.” – Anonymous ’20


“The protests are important in making social and political change in America. The media, whether it’s the news or social media, is twisting stories from both sides. Editing videos and taking things out of context to push their agenda, to fearmonger, etc.” – Anonymous ’21


“You see these things on the news all the time and they make it out to be the protesters being violent, but in reality you see that the only thing that the protesters are doing is yelling how they feel and the police respond to that by taking out their pepper spray so nonchalantly. Police can’t separate their egos from their profession. They’re so desensitized to it all they treat their batons and pepper spray cans like toys. You can see the apathy in their eyes. We were trying to leave and they were still attacking us. Black life is so precious and it’s heartbreaking when a country that claims to be for everyone has all these systems put in place, constantly trying to tell us that Black life is less than.” – Liz Roman ’20


“The protests were a blast during daylight there was music blasting talking about ‘f*** Trump’ and ‘we are gonna be alright.’ Everyone there was supporting each other chanting ‘no justice, no peace.’ It is not until the people that marched arrived at the statehouse when things started to get chaotic. A bunch of people were trapped by fences that people had to break down. I was trapped in the train station for ten minutes until the MBTA told us there were no trains coming for us and forced us to walk into police enforcing violence. People screamed fire and tear gas and cops barreling down Tremont with their wooden batons all proud. I was one of the lucky ones to run as soon as I got out of the train station.” – Kayla Bernard ’21


“The first couple of hours were peaceful, and there was minimal police presence. After nightfall, they sent in more police. They had dogs, rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons. They chased us with batons and pepper spray, and they attacked people of all ages. I had to run as rubber bullets flew past my head. The police tried to block us in the maze of streets in Downtown Crossing, and they tear gassed the people trying to escape. At the end of the day, the Boston Police Department only cared about arresting people, and their lack of care for the people they are supposed to protect felt like betrayal. Sunday night’s events made me lose all respect for the BPD.” – Hassan Sharif ’21