It was the 4th day of the occupation since we marched into Woodruff park, renamed it Troy Davis park, and set up occupation. It was a beautiful sight. Illegal tents filled with people from all different walks of life. With each day our numbers steady began to grow. I remember feeling an incredible sense of hope that this thing was actually happening.
While on sentry duty later in the day, I was approached by my logistics team member Turner who asked if I wanted to join the group that would talk with Atlanta Police Chief Turner. I jumped at the oppertunity. The five of us marched through the rain and into the police precint. We were led into a room with a long, rectangle, table. At the head of the table was Chief Turner and all along the edges were his team of government bosses. Chief Turner and company expressed to us that they didn’t want anyone to be hurt and explained to us the rules and regulations of the park.
We told Chief Turner that we would happily abide by all the rules of the park except for one which was the curfew to leave at 11pm. This flustered their side and they retorted by saying that it was their duty to uphold the law and if anyone violated the curfew they would be arrested. Battle lines clearly drawn in the sand, the five of us left to return to the General Assembly to relay our report. Now back at Troy Davis Park I was feeling a mix of fear and anticipation. I knew eventually this day would come but now that it was here, I felt I wasn’t ready.
At the General Assembly we prepared our strategy and decided there would be two groups. One group would remain in the park grounds after curfew for voluntary public disobiedence while the rest of us would rally them on along the side walks. In order to make it harder for the police to enter the park we moved all the tents to the outside entrances. As I took a step back to gather it all in, I noticed the chaos all around me. Everyone was on edge and it was showing as tempers flared. I myself almost got into an altercation with someone before I had to be calmed down by my elder Ojinga.
The time was here now, it was past 11pm and the sirens of the police drove up in mass. Arming my drum, I marched with my commrades along the street getting louder and roudier by the second. Eventually I had lost all inhibition as I pounded my drum for the revolution. Minutes pass and we grow stronger. Now we realize that the police are too afraid to make good on their threrat of arrest. We call their bluff and rejoin our commrades in the park who had formed a giant circle with interlocking arms. Shortly after that the police retreated. There were no arrests that night.
Turner and I were ecstatic that we had actually won. We couldn’t believe that here at that moment we had been a part of history. I didn’t sleep that night. I stayed up into the wee hours with my friends celebrating an amazing victory. We are stronger now. And next time, I plan to join my other comrades in public disobedience. I know now I’m willing to put it all on the line for what I believe because their courage last night inspired me to do so.