South African Youth Day/DC Protest

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I walked the U Street Corridor last Friday, which I think is my new favorite neighborhood in DC.  As I was passing through one of those wooden walkways built to protect pedestrians from construction, I saw a young man posting these fliers.

A protest against police brutality is planned for Tuesday, 16 June at 7pm in Mt. Vernon Square, Washington DC.  The date is no accident.  The organizers purposefully planned the rally to coincide with Youth Day in South Africa, which is a national holiday in SA that commemorates the part young people played in bringing an end to the Apartheid regime.  Youth Day is on 16 June because that was the day of the famous Soweto uprising where the school children took to the streets protesting the use of Afrikaans in the classrooms.  (Here’s a post from my sightseeing in Joburg)

I thought it was interesting how the protesters in the US are signaling towards South Africa for our current, very public struggle. In the late 80s students in America were protesting stateside to signal solidarity with the South African protesters struggling for freedom and democracy.

Last year during the South Africa election there was a lot of talk about South Africa not living up to the Mandela dream of a Rainbow Nation.  However, in many ways America has not lived up to its dream of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Democracy is a struggle. The struggle continues.

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