Community Marches To Protest Police Brutality
By Rachel Juieng, The Johns-Hopkins News Letter
Tawanda Jones, sister of Tyrone West, who died in police custody in 2013, hosted the 300th West Wednesday rally and march on Wednesday.
For the past four weeks of the sit-in at Garland Hall, student protesters have joined Jones for West Wednesday rallies, and recently the sit-in participants renamed a room in Garland after Tyrone West.
The rally began at the corner of Greenmount Avenue and 33rd Street. It kicked off with a speech from Jones.
Members of the Coalition of Concerned Mothers and Families United 4 Justice also spoke.
Jones read a poem that she wrote after West’s death.
A member of Women Against Private Police urged participants to sign a petition that may help stop the private police force that would otherwise take effect in June.
Afterward the protesters marched through the streets for an hour and ended at Garland Hall.
The West Coalition, which came together after Tyrone’s passing, has held a rally every Wednesday despite weather conditions.
Daniel Hellerbach, who lives in the Baltimore community and is a member of the West Coalition, has attended every West Wednesday rally for the past several years.
He believes that the continuous nature and persistence that Jones has exhibited during these rallies is inspiring.
“I see other people that have followed in Tawanda’s footsteps, and people begin to care about things they haven’t cared about before. They use her as a role model,” he said.
At the rally, Jones gave a speech denouncing police brutality and the corruption of law enforcement. She highlighted the city of Baltimore but also argued that corruption had spread across the world. Police misconduct is global.
“Two thousand and one hundred days we’ve been out here constantly fighting police brutality, murder and everything else that is wrong with the system. We’re gonna continue being out here. I knew that this wasn’t an isolated incident — that it was absolutely a worldwide thing. This means more than anything to me,” she said.