On Location: March for Racial Justice/Black Women March in Washington DC

By
K.G. Bethlehem

Photo by K.G. Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC

On September 30, 2017, the March for Racial Justice started at Lincoln Park in the northeast section of Washington DC. The start time for this demonstration was at noon, but serendipitously it was joined by the March for Black Women that had started at 10 am. The venue was filled with people from many different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, genders, ages, and social/religious backgrounds. Signs ranging from “Black Lives Matter” to “White Silence Equals Violence” and “Protect Immigration” were touted in a sea of progressive expressions.

The excitement was rising as advocates like Ana Rondon, an organizer and immigration activist from Many Languages One Voice; Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, founder of Philando Castile Relief Foundation; and Steven Douglass, Washington DC pastor, activist, and representative for Terrence Sterling began speaking. Their powerful voices influenced the energy of the crowd as chants of “No Justice, No Peace” and “No how, No way, No Racist Police or KKK” echoed throughout the congregation. The crowd had grown to close a thousand voices, and with the addition of the March for Black Women it grew even larger.

The congregation left from Lincoln Park and headed toward the Capitol. The organizers of both marches led them; two groups chanting and singing to make their voices, frustrations, concerns, and solutions heard. Conscious entertainment groups such as; Rising Hearts Drum Circle, The Juney Band, and Allison Bucket Drum Brigade, were positioned through the crowd to continue the flow of energy.

K.G. Bethlehem At March For Racial Justice

At one point in the march, the Washington DC police escort had to relinquish its position as they crossed into the jurisdiction of the Federal Capitol Police. Tensions rose as a commander of the Capitol Police shouted through the intercom from his patrol SUV for the congregation to get on the sidewalk.  This task was impossible since there were over a thousand people participating in the march. Most tried to follow instructions, others did not. The ones who did pointed out that there wasn’t enough room on the sidewalk to accommodate such a request, and that the streets belonged to the taxpayers. This back and forth between the commander and the activists went on for a few minutes until the commander stopped demanding such a challenging, if not impossible, directive. It seemed from the protesters’ point of view that it was an attempt to cause friction and ultimately a confrontation between them and law enforcement. Thankfully there was no confrontation, and the march proceeded.

When the protesters reached the front of Trump International Hotel, the march halted for a short time. The crowd booed and expressed their displeasure toward the current president by razzing his family business. People laid down in the streets, some took a knee, and mostly all chanted, “People of Color Matter!” It was a surreal moment, especially when a man, presumably a patron of the hotel, walked out in front and started to take pictures. Maybe it was simply that he wanted to capture a moment in history, but who actually knows why he was photographing that day, that moment, at that location.

The march wrapped up at the National Mall. The crowd rested, but was attentive to the speeches that continued. Protesters were talking with different representatives of community organizations that were present. They discussed progressive ideas such as fair living wages, Medicare for all/single payer healthcare, ending mass incarceration, ending violence against women, ending unfair drug laws, immigration rights, protecting women’s healthcare, free college education, and many others. The hope for the promotion and education about these types of ideas and issues is that it would not only help with those particular issues, but that they would ultimately help end systemic racial injustice and social/economical oppression.

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ON LOCATION: Glen Echo Park: Exploration Series

By
K.G Bethlehem

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018

August 26, 2017, My daughter and I took a trip to Glen Echo Park. I remembered this from a while ago. She was 10 months old at the time and to put this in perspective from the time differences, she is almost 8 years old now. She could remember the first trip and that made sense—how could she?

 

 

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018

 

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018

What I recalled before, was taking her to see a puppet show. She appeared to enjoy it. What I didn’t know at the time, is that this had history, even history connecting to the civil war. It was not always a park, especially a park geared towards children. I made several recordings of this trip and took pictures to document the experience.

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Edwin and Edward Baltzley, inventors, industrialists but more importantly, real estate developers. They wanted to create a living space, just outside of Washington DC. A section of town free from the pollution, new business, essentially a suburbia metropolitan minus the inconveniences of city life. This was their plan in 1891. The Baltzley Inc. created the National Chautauqua of Glen Echo.

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018


Unfortunately, in 1892, many Baltzley enterprises were seriously in debt. By the spring of that year, the Glen Echo Railroad Company was severely underfunded. Their troubles did not lessen due to a rumored outbreak of malaria and even though these rumors were not confirmed, it hurt the status of the Baltzley Brothers. As a result, this concession of terrible circumstances, the National Chautauque of Glen Echo fell into ruin.

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018


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In the early part of the 20th century, the Chautauqua site was reinvented into an amusement park called Glen Echo Park. The park did have a dark history, as part of their times, segregation was immersed in its infrastructure. On June 30, 1960, to draw attention to the continuing segregation, a group of college students (primarily from Howard University) staged a sit-in protest on the carousel. Five African American students were subsequently arrested for trespassing. The arrests were appealed to the Supreme Court four years later, and the convictions were reversed in Griffin v. Maryland on the grounds that the state had unconstitutionally used its police power to help a private business enforce its racial discrimination policy. (Scharfenberg, Kirk (April 2, 1969). “Laughter Dies At Glen Echo”.The Washington Post. Glen Echo Park – Frequently Asked Questions (U.S. National Park Service). The Washington Post, Protest on a Sculpted Horse (June 29, 2004).


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But for this article here are pictures from the current with a glimpse in the past. As for all of United States History racism is as American as the baseball and Marilyn Monroe. The outlook beauty of it is stained with blood and tears of the oppressed. I seen a park today is enjoyable to young kids but we must always remember that it was not for all kids. Unless you want to bring back such evil, fight to eliminate it forever.

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018

 

Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018


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​Glen Echo Park seems to be doing that, well at least from outward appearances.

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Photo by K.G Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC. Oct. 2018

 

ON LOCATION: St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival

By
F. Kenneth Taylor

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15th to October 15th .  Much like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month was created to acknowledge and honor the contributions Hispanics have made in the United States.  As of 2010, according to a PEW study, the Hispanic population in the U.S. had grown to approximately 50 million.  During this month; Hispanic history, culture, and traditions are also recognized.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.STLToday.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

‘Hispanic(s)’ gives reference to natives and descendants of any of the 22 Spanish speaking countries including; Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and many others.  Alongside their native language of ‘Spanish’, which one-fifth of the world now speaks. Hispanic influence can be seen most evident in United States from city and state names to politics. Nevada, Colorado, San Diego, Florida, San Antonio, are just a few U.S cities and states with Hispanic titles.

Prominent Hispanics in American politics include; Jorge Ramos, a Mexican-American Journalist and News Anchor who has been hailed as “The Walter Cronkite of Latin America.”  Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 by former President, Barrack Obama. Senators Ted Cruz and Marc Rubio, both emigrated from Cuba and became most known as Republican Presidential Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election. Eva Longoria, who many know as an actress, has a Masters in Chicano Studies, and founded The Eva Longoria Foundation, which aids in STEM funding, and focuses on Latino Entrepreneurship. Finally, Antonia C. Novello, is not only the first female Surgeon General, but also the first Hispanic to hold the position.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.constitutioncenter.org. Oct. 8th, 2017

For slightly over 2 decades, St. Louis has presented a Hispanic Heritage Festival for its Hispanic population and city residents. In a YouTube video, Festival Board Member, Elisa Bender, tells us how the event grew from a single-day function in Chesterfield, with a $500 budget to a major, 3-day event in Downtown St. Louis.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.stlmag.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

This year, the festival was held in St. Louis’ Historic Soulard District, at Soulard Park. During the weekend, the festival highlights Hispanic/Latina music with live bands, vocalists, and dancers from Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, and Bolivia.  The dancers and dances are most recognized for their vibrant and elegantly sewn dresses, colors, amazing choreography, and story-telling routines. The festival’s food vendors are also from various countries as well like; Argentina, Columbia, and Peru, just to name a few. Other booths and vendors display crafts such as the Children’s Pavilion, which allows kids a more interactive, hands-on learning experience.

Farm animals which included; a camel, goats, pigs, and chickens, were on-site at the festival for kids and festival-goers to see. Jump-houses, kiddie-train rides, rock climbing, and mechanical bull rides for all ages, were also available. There’s plenty to see and do at The St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival.

 

Sources:
  • Wikipedia.com
  • YouTube.com