The Garner and Brown grand jury decisions heralded into the spotlight the language of #BlackLivesMatter, #HandsUpDontShoot and #ICantBreathe. Emblazed on posters, twitter, and many of our psyches, these were not responses to a unique social and political moment, but rather the headlines of a movementgenerations in the making. As Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) professionals, peace-builders, negotiators, and facilitators, we are in the business of phraseology. We understand the weight a word can carry.
During late nights mired in self-reflection, I attempted to locate myself as an ally in this vocabulary and movement. I am a white, cisgender Latina, a dedicated ADR student, and an advocate-in-training. The purpose behind my presence and word-choice teetered between my natural favor for peace building and my trained urge for advocacy. Protest is purposefully disruptive. Disruption creates some level of inconvenience, or even harm, for others. I thought deeply about how protest could be equally disruptive and peaceful. If these tenets could not coexist, I felt I had to choose. Some said peace was the path of complacency. Others called disruption the path of violence. As an ADR student, and someone committed to both equality and the reduction of harm, how should I demonstrate?
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