Hundreds gathered at Brittingham Park for the Glow in the Dark March for Black Lives during the fourth week of Madison’s protests, Wednesday night.
The march, organized by Impact Demand, a newly-formed youth-led organization, met in the parking lot of Brittingham Park, where glow sticks, silly string, food and water were passed around.
The group of approximately 150 then began to move down South Park Street chanting, “What do we want? Policy! What do we want? Change!”
As the crowd filled Park Street, there were cars and organizers stationed blocking traffic. Protesters were instructed to march loudly and on beat while clapping and chanting.
The noise and the colorful glow sticks lighting up the crowd were intentional, according to youth organizer and University of Wisconsin sophomore Ayomi Obuseh.
“This is not just for show, we are trying to be loud, we are trying to be disruptive,” Obuseh said. “Black lives matter every single day. We have to keep the momentum, feel this in your heart and every time we shout, shout so all of Madison can hear you.”
The crowd continued to the intersection of Park Street and Fitch Hatchery Road, where they were silent for eight minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of how long George Floyd’s breathing was cut off before he was killed by Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
Youth organizer, De’Asia Donaldson, told the crowd why continued protests like this are essential.
“When we say Black lives matter, we are not just saying something because it is a trend, it is not a trend, okay? We’re saying it because we think that we matter,” Donaldson said. “Without Black culture, we would not have Madison, we would not have UW-Madison, without Black culture we would not have anything.”
After the moment of silence, protesters turned back and headed to the Capitol. Along the way they chanted, “Wake your a** up!” while marching through residential neighborhoods, prompting people to join the march.
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At the Capitol, they were met by another crowd already filling the steps. Organizers then encouraged the crowd to get to know one another, playing music as participants danced and socialized.
Donaldson told the crowd to remember why they were there.
“You are not here to party, you are here to make noise,” Donaldson said. “When you have fun, you are having fun for everybody else that couldn’t, meaning Black people that died.”