A woman dining outdoors who was harassed by protesters in Washington, D.C., wrote an op-ed saying she didn’t like being bullied for not raising her first, but that she still supports the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lauren Victor, a photographer and urban planner, has since taken part in Black Lives Matter demonstrations since the incident, according to an opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post on Friday.
“I wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement,” Victor wrote. “I also support an individual’s choice to participate in a protest, or not.”
I was the woman surrounded by BLM protesters at a D.C. restaurant, writes Lauren Victor.
Here’s why I didn’t raise my fist: https://t.co/qGfcVbBWf5
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) September 4, 2020
“It is never okay to coerce people’s participation; that is just bullying, Victor wrote. “To be clear, this is not an argument against anger, expressed loudly, about terrible things that are allowed to happen,” she added.
“My desire is simply to see the vital energy that anger gives rise to be effectively directed to bring about important, lasting change.”
Video of the incident shows a crowd surrounding Victor chanting, “white silence is violence,” and telling her to “put your fist up,” . Victor said that she did not raise her fist because she did not know what the crowd was protesting, and that no one in the group would tell her.
“When they crowded around my table and started demanding that I raise my fist, it was their insistence that I participate in something that I did not understand that led me to withhold my hand,” Victor wrote. (RELATED: ‘This City Needs Cops And It Needs A Lot More Of Them,’ DC Police Union Chairman Says After RNC Riots)
— RawsMedia (@rawsmedia) August 25, 2020
“In retrospect, I would have done the same thing even if it was crystal clear to me who they were and what they stood for. If you want my support, ask it of me freely,” she continued. “That’s what we do in a democracy.”
Victor added that the incident looked “scary” though she was “not hurt in any way.”
“This was a group of mostly young people of many racial backgrounds working together to sustain a movement to uphold Black people’s civil rights,” she wrote. “There are worse ways to spend a Monday night.”
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