Statement by Jordyn Close on Police Violence at Peaceful Columbus, OH Rally
May 29, 2020
(Columbus, OH) — Statement by Jordyn Close, Ohio State Coordinator at URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, board member of Women Have Options – Ohio (WHO/O), and abortion storyteller with WeTestify, on her experience with police violence during a peaceful community protest in Columbus, OH on May 28, 2020:
“Last night, hundreds of people protested peacefully and beautifully in downtown Columbus, Ohio in the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and countless other Black and brown people that are terrorized, brutalized, and murdered at the hands of the racist police.
“I made the decision to protest with my community because for far too long Black voices have been silenced by white supremacy and the racist culture that we live in. Seeing people that I know and love being brutalized by police is harrowing and exhausting. Seeing Black and brown people across the country be routinely targeted just for having dark skin is something that I cannot and will not stand on the sidelines for.
“I was supporting a community organized protest at Livingston and Lockbourne, peacefully protesting. When that protest dissipated at around 8:00p.m., myself and other comrades went downtown to support the efforts happening there.
“I was on the front lines of the High & Broad protest for about an hour, which you can see on the Facebook live stream I posted. After about 45 minutes had passed, Columbus Police Department (CPD) started putting on riot gear and gas masks while the crowd continued to be nothing but peaceful.
“Police officer #2304 grabbed my arm repeatedly for trying to record and stream how the police were the ones escalating this peaceful demonstration toward violence.
“A few minutes later, the police started tear gassing the front lines of the crowd for the first of what turned into multiple times that night. I was one of the first hit with the tear gas but was luckily given some protection from my mask and glasses.
“After I was gassed the first time, officer #2304 knocked my phone out of my hand. When I walked forward and bent down to pick it up, I was sprayed directly in the face at point-blank range. One of the police officers stomped on and broke my glasses when I tried to reach for them, barely missing my hand and arm.
A”fter being blinded by the pepper spray, I was grabbed by my hair and the back of my shirt and thrown to the ground behind the police bike line, then thrown into the bikes and kicked in the side. I am so lucky that my friends and allies were able to find me and help me get to safety and the street medics.
“Throughout the rest of the night, CPD used flash bangs, pepper spray, wooden and rubber bullets, concussion grenades, and extreme and brutal force to incite a riot. They blocked off part of the city so peaceful protestors had no way to escape.
“Despite this, our comrades and allies continued to hold the line. Some people being tear gassed multiple times without giving up and without giving in to state-sanctioned violence.
“The news will paint this as a riot. That is not what occurred last night in Columbus.
“This was about a Black man and countless other Black comrades who have been murdered by police. You will see protestors breaking windows, breaking into the statehouse, and destroying property and you MUST remember that this was about human life.
“What happened to me and many others last night was deeply entrenched, systemic racism against Black people. This racism shows up in many sinister ways like Ohio being one of the worst states for Black infant and maternal mortality. Columbus, Ohio also ranks #1 in percentage of police murder of Black people. Connecting the lines between these disparities is why Reproductive Justice is so important. Reproductive oppression, abortion stigma and Black maternal death are all symptoms of the same disease:racism.
SisterSong defined Reproductive Justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive Justice is the framework that we all need to be doing this work within. When we are not, Black and brown people are left behind and cannot thrive in this white supremacist society. None are free until we are all free.
“I cannot express how moving these protests were. The community showed up and showed out to say that enough is enough.
“Humanity over property, truth over power, justice over peace. I will never stop fighting for you, Columbus.”
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please donate to the Columbus Freedom Fund who is helping to cover legal and bail costs for Christopher Radden and others who were arrested at last night’s demonstration. Link: Paypal.me/columbusfreedomfund
There will be another demonstration tomorrow morning to support the release of Christopher Radden. The event can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/713801736052442/
You can also buy a shirt here to support the Columbus Freedom Fund: https://www.bonfire.com/racism-is-a-plague-1/.