Ames Black Lives Matter hosts protest in honor of Jacob Blake

Protesters who attended the Ames BLM march in honor of Jacob Blake trail down Lincoln Way. 

Starting at the Memorial Union, Ames Black Lives Matter (BLM) led a nearly three hour protest in honor of Jacob Blake, a victim of recent police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Ames BLM leaders said Wednesday’s protest is one of the best turnouts they’ve seen at their marches.

Leaders from Ames BLM started by saying this protest is not meant to be peaceful; they are here to disrupt. With that being said, they also added that they did not want this protest to turn violent. 

“This is not a one-time thing — this is a whole movement,” said Corinne McDowell, senior in mechanical engineering. 

Members of Ames BLM handed out water and gave safety advice to the crowd before beginning their journey. 

About half a mile into the march, the group stopped at the corner of Beach Road and Lincoln Way, blocking the four-way intersection.

At this stop, some members of Ames BLM gave speeches while others carried out a casket that had written across, “We shouldn’t be losing this many lives,” along with the names of Black lives that have been lost to police brutality.

The casket was carried the rest of the march.

Bethmari Marquez Barreto, senior in performing arts, gave a speech at the corner of Beach Road and Lincoln Way. 

“He is a survivor of the police brutality that Black, Indigenous and people of color experience daily,” Marquez Barreto said. “Jacob Blake is still fighting for his life; he’s paralyzed from the waist down […] from something he never should have experienced in the first place. He is still alive, unlike our brothers and sisters.”

In her speech, Marquez Barreto listed over 30 names of Black, Indigenous and people of color who have lost their lives to police brutality.

“We shouldn’t be losing this many lives,” Marquez Barreto said. “This is a friendly reminder that this fight is not over. This could be our family members, our friends, somebody’s mother, somebody’s daughter. We matter.” 

The protest continued down Beach Road toward Campustown, where another stop was made at the Chamberlain Street and Welch Avenue intersection. The casket was displayed again while Ames BLM members shared stories, speeches and poetry.

When asked how she felt about the recent shooting of James Blake after the nationwide George Floyd protests, McDowell said, “It just shows that no matter what we do, people see our skin color and we’re automatically guilty.”

There was also conversation about the Milwaukee Bucks team opting to not play in their Game Five Matchup against Orlando, choosing to protest instead. 

“We shouldn’t have started back sports anyway,” McDowell said. “If one of these athletes are easily mistaken for being just another black person, they could be the next hashtag, and not for their athletic ability.”

McDowell also spoke in front of the crowd at the protest.

“Yes, I was nervous; I will never not be nervous.” McDowell said. “You want to captivate people; you want them to care. I’ll keep being nervous, and I’ll keep speaking because my nerves are nothing compared to someone losing their life.”