Friday, July 08, 2016

Black Lives Matter Rally Anchorage

This seems to have been the theme for the Anchorage Black Lives Matter rally.

Here's part the crowd along Northern Lights and New Seward Highway about 9:30pm (yes, for you folks outside of Alaska, the sunset was still a couple hours away.)  The rally began at 8pm with representatives of the community and officials talking to the crowd.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (in the white shirt) talking to the crowd as everyone linked arms.

The police chief also spoke and here he is with the mayor listening to the other speakers.

Part of the crowd listening to the speakers.

Lots of people had their cell phones and were talking pictures and videos, both the people in the rally, and later, cars driving by all the demonstrators and their signs.

More of the crowd listening.

Local NAACP member Kevin McGee, woman I don't know, Assembly member Forest Dunbar, and Mayor's staff member, George Martinez.

After the speeches, the crowd lined up along New Seward Highway and along Northern Lights and waved signs and chanted Black Lives Matter, and sometimes All Lives Matter.


I have to say that after last night's shootings in Dallas, I found myself wondering how safe going to this rally would be.  That's not really something I've dealt with before.  The only police I was aware of were the police chief and much later some officers who asked people to leave the median and go back to the side of the street where all the other protesters were.

And when people were lined up on New Seward Highway, I couldn't help think about some of the people driving by who would not agree with the sentiment of this rally.  And Alaskan's carry guns.  But many of the people driving by honked and waved in support and people kept calm and there was no violence.

I'm guessing there were 300-400 people there, though there could have been more.  People of a variety of racial backgrounds were there.  (I counted people along Northern Lights Blvd.  When I got 15, I just looked at similar sized clusters.  There were about 6 groups of 15 there.  Then I scanned the rest of the crowd and estimated from there.  Fairly simple, but it gives a reasonable ball park figure.)

If there were 400, that would be similar to a rally of about 10,000 in New York City.  (See my explanation of NY Equivalence in this 2008 post about a women's anti-Palin protest.  Populations have risen a bit and I haven't recalculated, but if NY's population increased about the same rate as Anchorage's did, it should be still pretty close.  The point is that while 400 people may not seem a lot, it's the equivalent of about 10,000 in New York City and that would be a big demonstration.)

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