Speakers address a crowd of demonstrators in the early days of CHOP. Photo by Tim Matsui.
For all it promised, all it was not, and all it actually became, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protests (better known as CHOP) has but one clear consensus: It existed for 23 precarious days in June.
CHOP formed from the extraordinary alchemy of local protests against police brutality, a sustained Black Lives Matter movement spawned from the police killing of George Floyd, and a worldwide pandemic that confined people to their homes, unable to avoid self and collective examination of America’s historic racial inequities.
Depending on your vantage point, CHOP was either a revolution deferred, a missed opportunity, a Summer of Love abruptly turned to winter, or a product of craven city leadership. CHOP’s final analysis depends on someone’s preferred vision of how society collapses the yawning gap between the world as is and as wished for. Nearing its year anniversary, we asked Seattle residents who spent time in and around CHOP what they remember.
Mixed media artist, livestreamed from CHOP
Reporter, covered Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests and CHOP for the South Seattle Emerald
Mutual-aid volunteer, storyteller, documentarian for Indie Genius Media
Teaching artist, writer, co-hosted a Juneteenth event at CHOP with Mary Halls Williams to prioritize Black healing
Journalist, founder of Converge Media
Filmmaker, archived livestreams of Seattle protests
Capitol Hill resident between 2012 and 2020
Seattle City Council member
Journalist, Covered CHOP for The New York Times and The Guardian
Seattle City Council member
Owner of Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar in Capitol Hill, which set up a supply station for activists and organizers pre-CHOP
Kamali Derek Senior
Veteran, director of organizing at Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction
Portraits courtesy the individuals.
I. Days of Escalation
From June 1 to June 8, protesters and police in riot gear face off near SPD’s East Precinct headquarters. Seattle’s mayor would announce a temporary ban on tear gas, but the situation had already developed into a tinderbox.
Future Crystals: There were a lot of people marching in the streets every day, even most of the nights, like all night. It became a thing where people were starting to, in a sense, occupy 11th and Pine, and the southeast corner of Cal Anderson.
Elizabeth Turnbull: The police seemed pretty concerned about things escalating. It was never verified but the big thing they mentioned was murmurs of somebody setting the precinct on fire or something like that. And so they put the barricades up.
Jamil Suleman: All the protests, like the other uprisings across the country, occurred after George Floyd [was killed]. The Seattle protest centralized itself at the East Precinct. That was kind of the cops’ choice because they barricaded [the precinct]. It became an invitation for nonviolent, peaceful protests that were more along the lines of agitation.
Elizabeth Turnbull: Every moment you’re thinking, well, is something going to escalate? You’re constantly watching police officers’ motions, their movements.
Omari Salisbury: You’d hear the crowd say, “Take off the riot gear. I don’t see no riot here.”
Elizabeth Turnbull: Someone might throw a water bottle at the police.
Omari Salisbury: Then the tear gas came out.
Morgan Dusatko: I walked down there, [after] the very first tear gassing. I could smell it in the air. There were people with these jugs of milk, just pouring them in their face. I could see the aftermath.
Jamil Suleman: Obviously no one was directly attacking the police. It was the police making these mistakes.
Vivian Hua: We backed up the [feeds] of livestreamers that we were following, just to make sure that information was saved somewhere. It was really fascinating because you got to see this sort of emerging ecosystem of citizen journalists.
Reagan Jackson: The time just before CHOP could be characterized as Seattle’s awakening. But it’s not like anything super different had happened. George Floyd had died, but Charleena Lyles was just as dead years ago.
Omari Salisbury: [June 1] changed the trajectory of the protest. You have thousands of white people who have the expectation that America is [fair]. On that day, a lot of people saw the city and this country for something very different. And there were so many people who were never really protesters who got tear-gassed. You have people living in their apartments with children getting tear-gassed.
Reagan Jackson: There’s a part of me that was a bit angry at my city that this is what it took for them to really begin to mobilize. And then, it was such a weird time to have been forcibly isolated because of Covid-19. But in a strange way it helped people really get into their values and say, okay, well I care enough to stay home. And I care enough to wear this mask, so that it doesn’t seem like a far jump to be like, I care enough to hold the people in power accountable for these egregious murders of Black people.
Tammy Morales: If police had just let people, who were protesting police brutality by the way, take up space and use their deescalation training instead of using tear gas and flash-bangs, things wouldn’t have escalated.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I was one of those people who felt the feeling of acid in my lungs and the pain in my eyes, running with all these people in the dark, because we’re closing our eyes.
Tammy Morales: It was unfortunate that we didn’t have strong leadership from the mayor. [Mayor Jenny Durkan and various individuals from the SPD said they were unavailable for this story.]
Omari Salisbury: The protest started to specifically be about the SPD and the East Precinct.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I was there the day that the police left. Everyone was lined up outside the precinct like they normally did, like maybe we’re going to get tear-gassed again today. Then the police just left and they moved the barricades.
Omari Salisbury: I’m tweeting saying the SPD is abandoning their precinct. All the other media is hitting me like I’m fake news.
Morgan Dusatko: There was a shockingly small number of people, maybe less than a few hundred. It looked like a lot of people didn’t know what to do.
Future Crystals: People just started actually setting up shop and it was, it was like, okay, we’re going to do this. It just kinda happened.
Morgan Dusatko: Some people were on the corner giving speeches. [City council member] Kshama Sawant spoke for a few minutes and then a bunch of people started shouting at her. There was a lot of chaos at that moment.
Omari Salisbury: The first thing [protesters] started doing was organizing and crowdsourcing ideas. What are we going to do? The police are gone. What should we do now?
Morgan Dusatko: Everybody was sort of ready for something and they weren’t quite sure what to be ready for.
II. This Space is Now Property of the Seattle People
After police abandon the East Precinct June 8, protesters cautiously move in. Under the banner of the Black Collective Voice, they soon present a list of demands directed at the government of Seattle. It’s the first day of a public occupation that will last the rest of June.
Jamil Suleman: The next 48 hours after the cops left was probably the most dynamic activist and organizing experience I’ve had in a very long time.
Future Crystals: People set up tents, there were people painting and whatnot. There were people manning the corners, making sure everyone was safe.
People just came in with large amounts of pizza, and then there was a stage area where people started talking. Different elders were speaking, Black femmes… It was really good energy.
Jamil Suleman: I used to work at Seattle Central College, and I’ve visited Cal Anderson Park for my whole life. And I’m gonna tell you right now, I have never seen that park cleaner.
Future Crystals: There was the No Cop Co-Op. There was the Future Crystals tent. There were multiple medical tents in different parts of the area. There was the rejuvenation station. There was a place called Riot Kitchen.
Hallie Golden: You didn’t just have protesters there. You had people with dogs.
Reagan Jackson: There was a growing homeless encampment because where in the city are you actually able to go without being harassed other than here?
Future Crystals: Some of them had been houseless in that park for a decade, and were instantly given a tent.
Kshama Sawant: My first thought was actually the memory of the Occupy Movement. It had the same feeling that there is a mood of revolt in this nation and that mood of revolt is being expressed in different ways.
Future Crystals: It was like Folklife became a BIPOC-centered campout. It was really the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in Seattle, for that moment.
Reagan Jackson: Because of Covid, this was the first time in a while that I saw anything like a collective honoring of death. That was really powerful. But then I’m watching people, because it was so crowded, step on ceremonial space to get around and go buy a hot dog.
Diana Adams: We had set up a mutual aid station [in the early days] to support the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters’ right to freedom of speech, but then CHOP seemed to have a lot of different elements forming all at once.
Morgan Dusatko: I went down to take pictures... And then I realized, I am looking at a group of like six or seven people, two of them have assault rifles, and [nearly] every single one of them has a firearm on them.
Then you had what I call WTO white people, who were like, “anarchy, fuck the man,” but they’re not really connecting. While they’re saying that and throwing beer bottles or whatever, they’re doing this in the middle of a funeral for Black people, with a bunch of Black people who are very vulnerable.
Omari Salisbury: The young organizers came out there. They instantly just started doing programming. They had a big screen out there, and a projector. They were playing [Ava DuVernay’s] 13th. There were people having classes.
Morgan Dusatko: People online [were] saying that they’re going to come here and raid and kill people. That’s when I started to get nervous. It felt like, I really hope that this group of people can really hunker down and make sure that they’re safe.
More protesters begin occupying the six-block area, making art and growing food. Some organizers and national media begin referring to it as CHAZ (The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone).
Jamil Suleman: When it started to be called CHAZ that kind of hurt the movement. I don’t know who did it. I saw it on Facebook probably a day or two after the cops left. I was like, Okay, this is probably now going to be used as a target by the right.
Lo and behold, I’m watching Fox News. I remember them saying, “We’re coming live from the autonomous zone on the border.”
That set the table for a lot of Black and Indigenous folks to eventually say, I’m out.
Tammy Morales: People were protesting to save their lives. It was also a place of respite. People were in deep conversations on sofas in the street.
Reagan Jackson: There was a man named Marcus Henderson from Black Star Farmers who set up a garden for Black folks to plant things. There were mutual aid stations so that folks could get free food, free medical care.
Omari Salisbury: You’re in this arts district with all these artists so you had this explosion of public art everywhere.
Morgan Dusatko: When the city put the concrete barriers there, it felt much more contained. It felt much safer. I didn’t see people, like openly carrying firearms after that, even at night.
Kamali Derek Senior: I gave a speech telling people to not come down there to party, or come down there to draw pictures and dance with your friends. That’s not the space for that. For a brief moment I had hoped they listened when they clapped. And I then realized that they were clapping because they didn’t listen.
A group of stakeholders host an informal meeting on June 13, 2020, to discuss a new name for the area: Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP. It begins to attract an increased number of activists and hosts teach-ins.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I interviewed [protester] Maurice Cola and he was saying that the whole autonomous zone narrative was incredibly harmful because it implies that we’re some sort of foreign body occupying the U.S. or whatever.
Reagan Jackson: CHOP was a really interesting place to have real conversations about the ways in which power and privilege really show up, and how it’s not always enough for you to be well intentioned. Like, “Oh man, I’m so mad about violence against Black people,” when you’re also complicit.
Kamali Derek Senior: Anyone that I organized with at CHOP, you can talk to them and they’ll tell you that I said CHOP was stupid. And when it started, I said CHOP was stupid. And I said CHOP was stupid when it was done. I maintained my position 125 percent.
On June 15, 2020, Mary Hall Williams, a Black community organizer, writes a public social media post addressed to CHOP protesters, expressing a desire to claim space for Black healing.
Reagan Jackson: They’re saying Black Lives Matter, but there’s no Black people there. That was one of Mary’s big things, feeling like the CHOP had been co-opted by folks who weren’t Black. She wanted a day where it’s just about us in a way that it’s really about us. It’s not about white guilt or white people earning their merit badges.
Omari Salisbury: I think a lot of the Black community was doing their own thing at other events and protests in the CD and South End.
Vivian Hua: There were a lot of Black organizations and organizers who didn’t want to take ownership of something in Capitol Hill that they didn’t ask for. I heard that a lot.
Reagan Jackson: It’s really interesting that Black anger is normalized. It’s okay if we’re in the streets screaming with our picket sign and we’re mad. But it’s not okay when we’re gathering to cry or express the rest of the other aspects of our humanity.
III. A Clash of Narratives
Mayor Durkan and President Donald Trump spar in the media (and over Twitter). Trump tweets at Durkan, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.” During a news conference the following day, Durkan responds that, “The threat to invade Seattle, to divide and incite violence in our city is not only unwelcome, it would be illegal.” Later, speaking to CNN host Chris Cuomo, she jokes that the area could hold “a Summer of Love.” She eventually walked that statement back.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I was stationed behind her at one of the protest marches. And this is one of the times she had addressed everybody. Someone shouted from the crowd, “Are you going to tear-gas us today?”
She looked at all of these people, many of whom had been tear-gassed the day before. And she just said, “I’m not going to make promises that I can’t keep.”
Jamil Suleman: Jenny Durkan used [Trump’s tweet] as an opportunity to be like, Don’t you talk about Seattle. In reality, she’s the one who caused the situation. She let the cops gas us.
[The police] also pushed out more of the positive aspects of community who were trying to foster something there.
Omari Salisbury: I told everybody, having the president of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, who has such a large platform, putting the spotlight in our city gives a great opportunity for leadership to now come forward. Nobody ever came.
Vivian Hua: I was on these threads with local businesses and residents where I did hear people having negative experiences. CHOP wasn’t given much room for nuance. There was actually a lot of nuance and different types of conversations and experiences happening that were all valid.
Future Crystals: [SPD] set the narrative that they were scared, and that’s why they left the precinct. But not three days beforehand, they had gotten the National Guard there. And there were plenty of officers to take care of any problem.
Hallie Golden: I did not feel in any way unsafe walking around it.
Future Crystals: There was no real threat of the precinct being burned down until after they left. And even then it didn’t get burned down. Although a couple of people may have tried, the community actually stopped it because they didn’t want that narrative set.
National news outlets like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC descend upon CHOP. Some national coverage embraces the sensational and superficial. On the ground, embedded livestreamers and city journalists tell a different story.
Morgan Dusatko: The national news was like, these anarchists took over this block, which is not what happened.
Omari Salisbury: The Associated Press called me and I was on the phone with them for an hour because they were doing some myth busting. One myth was that the CHOP-pers were going door-to-door in the neighborhood, looking for rations and kicking in people’s doors. And if there was no rations they were spray-painting a sign for them to get beat up later. Um, no.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I remember seeing all of these camera crews come and watching who they were interviewing. They were often interviewing tourists or someone who wasn’t super central.
And if you don’t know who to interview, how are you ever going to represent this situation accurately? The New York Times did a decent job because they actually employ people here. But you had Fox News doctoring David Ryder’s photography to make it seem like there were more people with guns than there really are.
Tammy Morales: I had friends and family across the country calling me to make sure I was okay and asking what’s going on over there. I had to let everyone know that we’re not actually being overrun, and had not turned into an anarchic state.
Jamil Suleman: People who didn’t live in Seattle were asking me, “Oh man, are you alright? Are you hanging out with the warlord or what?” And I was just like, dude, it’s a bunch of white ladies with granola bars and people playing music—at least for the first two days.
Vivian Hua: It has never been more clear to me how problematic the mainstream media is.
Hallie Golden: In any big story, especially something as unique as this, there’s going to be a variety in how organizations cover it. In this case, the range of stories was mind-boggling. If I wasn’t local and covering it, I wouldn’t be sure what to believe.
Jamil Suleman: MSNBC is just as fraudulent to me as Fox News. It was like the story Stone Soup. There’s a DJ playing the music. Now here’s this lady with a bag of granola bars. Everybody came with what they could contribute.
Elizabeth Turnbull: [Media coverage] was kind of self-actualizing. Whatever CHOP meant to you, it meant to you.
Future Crystals: If you had to pick between two stories that you wanted to sell and make as much money as possible, there’s no one who wants to read a story about some drum circles or whatever. They’re going to read about the anarchy and burning everything down.
Tammy Morales: [At a public meeting] I made a comment about people being more concerned with looting than Black people getting killed by police. That comment was on Tucker Carlson. My office got flooded with the most vulgar and misogynistic comments. It was gross.
Morgan Dusatko: I watched Omari Salisbury stream a lot. Because Omari had incredible access. On his stream there were just constant death threats.
I honestly didn’t see any good faith misinterpretations. There was nothing that I saw where people were like, We’re really trying to understand this, but we can’t.
Kshama Sawant: The reason that there was such demonizing of CHOP was that the ruling class, and obviously the vast sections of corporate media, they directly serve the interests of the ruling class and of the system, whether directly or indirectly, whether consciously or unconsciously.
As CHOP persists, it engenders multiple reactions from city residents, including the surrounding business community. After months of a pandemic, CHOP quickly became a tourist destination for cooped-up Seattleites.
Tammy Morales: Some in the business community were mad the police weren’t out there to help them. You had people saying the police couldn’t come because the council defunded them, but we were still in the budget process.
Diana Adams: I don’t know any businesses that were against CHOP per se, just how it was affecting them. It’s a very delicate balance.
Tammy Morales: There’s that constant tension about was this the right strategy, protests for people who have been oppressed for so long, and what rights do businesses have.
Elizabeth Turnbull: After a while you hit a point where activists and protesters didn’t really know what they were supposed to be doing there, and you might not have a reason to go to the CHOP today because what is that really doing in the grand scheme of things?
Morgan Dusatko: As soon as you got out of the very immediate radius, like literally within two blocks, life is just normal. Like, it wasn’t even an increase in traffic really.
Future Crystals: There were a lot of weirdos starting to pull up. It was like if you went to Hempfest back before weed became legal. It’s the talk of town.
You had all that energy of both privilege, [and] those who lacked it, condensed into this little six blocks.
Omari Salisbury: Everything was about the same up until the murder of Lorenzo Anderson.
IV. A Series of Shootings
On June 20, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, 19, is shot outside of the CHOP barricades around 2:20 am. His shooting will be the first of four over as many days near the area.
Reagan Jackson: I remember that on the night of Juneteenth, Mary Hall Williams [the co-organizer of CHOP’s Black healing Juneteenth event] and I were both breathing a sigh of relief that nobody was shot and killed on the date.
But then when I woke up the next morning, two Black men had been shot right outside of the CHOP.
Tammy Morales: Horace Anderson and Antonio Mays were killed. That was the turning point. It became clear that the police weren’t responding, and the fire department wasn’t going to respond to emergencies.
Hallie Golden: [After the shootings] it felt like the whole place changed a lot. There were a lot fewer people there. If I had to guess, I’d say that people started to feel that there was a safety issue.
Tammy Morales: It also raised all the other issues about who was volunteer security and who wasn’t. You had people preparing for the Proud Boys to come in.
Future Crystals: We got all these people trying to abolish the state, right? You have to realize that with abolishment comes the need to address emotional labor, traumatic labor. And people shy away from that.
Kamali Derek Senior: It was CHOP’s fault. It was always CHOP’s fault. The people that just came down to CHOP to play are responsible for every injury and every death. I won’t waver on that.
That’s the tragedy of it. It began because of the death of a Black man and ended because of the death of a Black man.
Morgan Dusatko: You can’t expect people at the CHOP to be able to spontaneously cook up a perfectly working society in 48 hours with none of the resources. [The shootings] just underlined the whole point of the CHOP, which is to have community solutions to all these issues.
Future Crystals: It was systematic racism that got those people killed, dude. It wasn’t CHOP. It was some beef. It had nothing to do with the protests. It wasn’t protesters killing protesters or right-wingers and liberals shooting it out. It was literally, it was the same old stuff that would’ve happened anyway in a different part of the city. And finally, the libs or whatever got touched by it. Other people have to experience that low-key every day in a sense.
CHOP protesters would later say that they pleaded for medical assistance from the Seattle Fire Department that never came, despite previously negotiating with the City for emergency vehicle access in and around CHOP.
Future Crystals: It felt like they were trying to set an example of what the worst-case scenario would look like with the community abolishing the police.
Jamil Suleman: People were waiting for something messed up to happen so that Durkan could call it off. We suspected a far-right person was going to come in and attack the place, and that did happen to some extent. But the things that happened that called it off, was, in my opinion, maybe even more tragic because it came from our own communities and kind of found its way up there.
It was stuff that goes on in our neighborhoods all the time. It just had an outlet up in the white arts district. I remember thinking to myself, once they close this down, they’re going to spend all summer with us in the hood because they’ll just take those two murders and they’ll track it back to some gang activity and they’ll spend all of their money harassing us again.
V. Nearing the End
Mayor Jenny Durkan announces police will soon resume control of the East Precinct. At the same time CHOP’s numbers begin to dwindle. On June 26, 2020, work crews arrive to begin removing barriers set up by protesters in the early days.
Elizabeth Turnbull: It started so spontaneously that I never considered that it would be a fixture forever.
Omari Salisbury: The CHOP-pers knew they couldn’t hold the entire space. Some people left CHOP indefinitely from that point.
Elizabeth Turnbull: People were trying to figure out what’s our next move. Some started marching to the precinct downtown, and some of them were even talking about walking all the way to Olympia, but there was a lack of leverage in just existing in the CHOP.
Jamil Suleman: When it started to kind of dwindle away, it really hurt me in a lot of ways. I was confused. Are we doing this to ourselves? Are they doing this to us? Is it a combination of the two either way? Are we just fated in this society, not to be able to really come together and take care of each other without harming one another and bringing some kind of social justice to those who have been most affected by this society?
Kamali Derek Senior: The police were like, We messed up [by leaving], but let the “commies” have it for a while. They’ll get tuckered out and we’ll be able to cut it down in a couple of nights. That’s exactly what happened in the wee hours of the morning on the day they returned to the precinct.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I remember there was one night where people were trying to strategize how to protect the precinct and they tried to link arms around the precinct. But there weren’t enough people to link arms all the way around.
VI. CHOP Comes Down
Very early on July 1, 2020, police swoop in to reoccupy the East Precinct they’d abandoned less than a month ago. Police arrest dozens of people, without any serious incidents. They also clear the encampment at Cal Anderson Park.
Omari Salisbury: That was the first and only time I really felt that [the police] might use their weapons, not the less-than-lethal, but their actual firearms. There were some protesters who we pulled out of the way, to say, hey these guys might shoot here today. Thirty minutes later, SPD had it swept.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I interviewed a number of people who were houseless. They were woken up and they didn’t have time to grab their medication or tent, or what possessions they had.
Future Crystals: I feel like its ultimate demise is a giant mix of things. Certain people that questioned it from day one. You either gotta be all in or all out—there’s no maybe. And there was a whole lot of maybe shit going on from day one.
Diana Adams: I’m grateful I got to be a part of it. I’ve always trusted artists to be autonomous and sensitive to societal needs and was glad to see that sort of energy manifesting in positive ways.
Kshama Sawant: It was a reminder for us that we cannot create islands of socialism inside a brutal system of capitalism. The capitalist class is not going to allow that. We need to have a politicized struggle.
Jamil Suleman: There’s no one really to blame, but I kind of felt like, after that second day, that this is not sustainable because there’s not the right leadership stepping up to claim this in the right way. Like had Indigenous folks and Black folks and some really strong members of the community stayed…but they didn’t want to. They didn’t want Capitol Hill.
This was kind of a spontaneous expression of protest. So I remember thinking the second night, Okay, you might want to soak this up now because who knows where it’s going to go.
And then literally the next day it just started getting really weird.
Elizabeth Turnbull: A lot of people were trying to reframe the rhetoric and be like, the CHOP was not a space. It was a protest and the protest lives on.
Kamali Derek Senior: The day it went down was kind of like the concept of a star in space. By the time you see the star’s light, it’s probably dead.
A year later, CHOP’s ultimate impact remains open to debate.
Jamil Suleman: For a moment, we got a glimpse of empathy, compassion, mutual aid, in its full expression. And then the old ways, the old patterns kind of responded and tore it down. But it didn’t tear it down completely.
Tammy Morales: The whole conversation starting that summer has been about what we do about policing. What are we going to do about the fact that we’re still operating a system founded in catching slaves? Are we going to continue to put so much of public resources into that or are we going to think about how we really invest in our communities to create thriving, healthy people?
Diana Adams: A number of mutual aid groups and foundations have sprung up that are challenging the status quo. We’ve also seen how fragile collective organization efforts are.
Vivian Hua: The big Black Lives Matter mural [on 10th Avenue and Pine] that initially was not permanent is now permanent. What also emerged was a collective of Black and POC artists who have continued a relationship with one another and do think about the structural ways in which art can effect change.
Reagan Jackson: What came up for me was how do we replicate centers of mutual aid? There were no police in the CHOP, but when white supremacists showed up, it was dealt with. I don’t feel that way currently in my own home. Like, who am I going to call? I need CHOP’s security.
Kshama Sawant: It’s really crucial to see that movements and revolutions throughout history sort of build on themselves. CHOP’s legacy is to be very much a part and parcel of that larger movement that we’re building. We don’t get to those bigger victories without having the movement build these intermediate steps.
Hallie Golden: [Seattle has] a history of protests. That’s our legacy in a way. It was a really fascinating experiment that I was able to see on the ground level. I talked with people who said in this hopeful way that it was giving this glimpse of what life could be without police.
Future Crystals: Honestly, I could still take more positive away from it than negative. I built some really good relationships with people. The community became tighter, more close-knit. That’s the least you could ask for.
Jamil Suleman: What Marcus [Henderson of Black Star Farmers] did with the garden… Gardeners from all over the city were coming and just donating. I was like, Wait a minute, we can do this. We can start growing our own food for each other. You know, all the supplies are there, all of the skills are there. All of the people are there, all of the seeds in the soil and everything to live within our means are there and we quickly demonstrated it. It was inspiring.
If CHOP stayed at the same frequency of its first 24 to 48 hours, you would have gardens all over Capitol Hill right now, and people would be eating out of them.
Elizabeth Turnbull: I don’t know if anybody could have predicted what patience and numbers could have done to make an imprint on a city. And for that message to go to the nation. And for that message to reach the president. There were a lot of quiet moments too, very beautiful moments, memorials to people who’d been murdered and spaces to reflect for people who were visiting, and just a strong message of protest. But then there was a lot of chaos and this aspect of kind of a music festival, and a granola-looking group of white people who co-opted the space to a degree.
I know what I’m saying is pretty unorganized, but the thing is though, so was the CHOP.