I've been watching videos all day. I have one thing to say (in a bunch of tweets, so hold on): The videos BACK UP/STRENGTHEN Mr. Nathan Phillips' account of what happened toward the conclusion of the #IndigenousPeoplesMarch on Saturday. They also reveal how it all happened.
\1. I attended the #IndigenousPeoplesMarch from 8:30am-1pm. We started on the stairs of the Department of Interior and marched to Lincoln Memorial. The spirit was peaceful. The call was for indigenous people and allies to receive the wisdom of the elders/remember who we are.
\2. While I was at #IPMDC19 at Lincoln Memorial I neither saw, nor heard any competing rally or street preachers. I did see a huge group that took up most of the steps. They took a picture on the Lincoln Memorial steps. Many in the group seemed to have red caps.
After watching several videos, it is clear: Nathan Phillip's claim that the incident began before he stepped forward. It started with a back and forth that began BEFORE, went on DURING, and continued AFTER Nathan Phillips attempted to intervene.
Before you watch, a quick note about the street preaching tactics of the Black Hebrew sect. There is a long lineage of Hebrew people who originate from Africa. For more info on those branches of the Hebrew and Christian faiths, you can check out my friend, @PropheticWhirl
The Black Hebrews sect, is an American-based evangelistic group that tends to use aggressive provocation to engage with passersby--usually in major cities. They are a regular fixture on street corners in cities like NYC, Phila, and DC
Here is the ENTIRE INCIDENT on VIDEO from the perspective of one of the five Black Hebrews that the #CovingtonCatholicHighSchool students reacted to:
“Phillips, a former Marine, said the incident started as a group of Catholic students from Kentucky were observing the Black Israelites talk, and started to get upset at their speeches." ~ @freep You'll see this is exactly what happened.
Black Hebrew member's video shows the group grow as Phillips said. Then everything EVERYTHING TURNS ugly at 1:09:51 when a boy jumps to the front, takes off shirt, crowd roars, leads school war chant that ends with them doing war cry to the Hebrews.
NOTE: In the article linked above Phillips says: "They witnessed these individuals on their soapbox saying what they had to say," Phillips said. "They didn't agree with it and got offended." This is clear in the video.
The Black Hebrews were using aggressive, provocative and sometimes offensive language to engage, as they usually do. There were a couple of ways the boys could have responded:
\1. Walk away. If they were waiting for their bus (as some have claimed) that was not a good place to wait. They were on the memorial steps. Buses would meet them on a side street about 100 yards away.
\2. Walk away.
\3. Walk away.
\4. Walk away.
\5. you get the point...
Native American leader of Michigan: 'Mob mentality' in students was 'scary'
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Native American leader Nathan Phillips of Ypsilanti describes incident with students caught on video.
"I was there and I was witnessing all of this ... As this kept on going on and escalating, it just got to a point where you do something or you walk away, you know? You see something that is wrong and you're faced with that choice of right or wrong. " ~ Nathan Phillips @freep
At 1:12:16 in the Black Hebrew member's video, you hear Nathan Phillip's drum begin to pound.
mentions told @RNS: Phillips attempted to defuse the situation by offering a song, “trying to get young people to listen... Iron Eyes called the AIM Song, associated with the 1970s American Indian Movement, a “spiritual symbol," for all to sing.
In Shar Yaqataz Banyamyan's video Phillps does exactly that. He walks between the Black Hebrews and the crowd. Most telling is the Hebrews response. They were grateful: See 1:12:32 in video:
Phillips shared in early testimony that he intended to go through the crowd to the top of the steps to sing the AIM song from that perch. In this upcoming video you see what I believe is the MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT of this controversy...
Mr. Phillips goes right, then left, then tries to go through the center. Most of the group seems to understand and make a way for him, except the boy who didn’t move. Mr. Phillips said the boy blocked his path. He did.
At 2:01 in this video, a white woman names the spirit of the crowd: "You guys are acting like a mob! That's what's going on," he says as the boy in the red cap stands inches from Phillips face, smirk lit, not budging.
Meanwhile, back with the Black Hebrews, the spirit of the crowd is revealing itself through a smaller contingent that stands toward the back of the Phillips crowd, but if they turn around they are facing the Black Hebrews. #theDevillivesinthedetails
1:17:26 Hebrews speak truth: "Your college degrees was paid off of the blood shed from slavery. Your houses, your mortgages--everything that your parents own--was given to you by the blood shed by our people." White boy yells: “That’s racist, bro!”
Um...no. That is truth.
Then at 1:17:57 boys chant again—looks like in response to Phillips. Feels violent. Hebrews start taunting; calling them crackers. Then say: "I don't see no no n*****s in the crowd!”
I wonder if they are trying to divert attention now from Phillips?
At 1:18:38 the Hebrews say: "They gonna call him... Y'all got one n***** in the crowd!" One of the boys turns around proudly and says: “We got two!”
Yes. Those black boys' classmate said that. Then this happens...
At :12 in separate video, boys turn toward Nathan Phillips and yell over and over "Bring Jamal (or Amal)!!" (Sounds like "Build the wall!" Huh?) Suddenly, at :28 a black boy is thrust forward from crowd; proving they're not racist. #seewehaveanigger
Finally, at 1:19:29 in the video by the Black Hebrew member, a boy in a blue #CovingtonCatholic jacket and white cap yells: "Hey we got one hoe! She ain't here!" (Translate: We have one black girl. She's not here.) #fruitandtrees #theDevillivesinthedetails
By this time, Nathan Phillips 'drum, is silent. We don't hear him anymore. In this video, you can hear that the boy's interaction with the Black Hebrew men was still going long after Phillips walked away.
But as you continue in the Black Hebrew member's video, an interesting dialogue develops between the crowd and the men. Perhaps Nathan Phillips' de-escalation strategy worked after all.
There is a lesson for America and the church in this. In the end, I'm struck by how easy it was for so many sensible white pp to question their own judgement when white authorities disagreed--even though POC were clear about what they saw. 30/ #CovingtonCatholic
Finally, Thank you, Elder Nathan Phillips for walking and singing in the spirit of peace. And thank you to the organizing committee of #IndigenousPeoplesMarch #IPMDC19 and all participants. This day showed the power of Indigenous leadership in our world. Thank you.
A word on responsibility:
\1. Ultimately, the lack of Chaperones is responsible.
\2. The smirking boy in the red cap, blocked Phillips and that enflamed the crowd.
\3. Black Hebrews’ sect offensive provocative tactics.
More on the Black Hebrew Israelites. Officially categorized as a hate group by splcenter: