Monday, October 9, 2017

Australian newsman reflects on a changing industry and journalism's future

Jack Ward / youthjournalism.org
Australian news broadcaster Peter Hitchener presents 9News Melbourne's evening news bulletin.
By Jack Ward
Senior Reporter
MELBOURNE, Australia – Journalism is changing rapidly with the introduction of social media. It’s causing news organizations to reinvent the way they deliver the news, appealing to the new generation of digital consumers.
Digital organizations such as Facebook and Google are also jumping in on the action providing news outlets platforms to publish their work.
Google is the second most valuable business in the world, according to the business news organization Forbes. In its submission to the newly formed Australian Inquiry, Google said it is “committed to helping news publishers succeed.”
Australia’s Senate established the ‘Public Interest Journalism Committee’ in May earlier this year with the sole purpose of inquiring into the future of public interest journalism.
The Inquiry has held numerous public hearings as well as providing an online portal for submissions. To date, 71 people and/or organizations have provided input for the Inquiry online.
With the future of journalism unknown in this ever-evolving era, one man who has been in the industry since leaving school has some opinions on what the future holds.
Jack Ward / youthjournalism.org
Peter Hitchener records his
voice-overs for the radio news
updates from the sound booth.
“There’s always been a role for storytellers in communities,” said Peter Hitchener.
Hitchener works for 9News in Melbourne, presenting its weekly evening news bulletins. His following is huge, with more than 47,000 likes on Facebook, 49,200 followers on Instagram and a massive 70,600 followers on Twitter.
In an interview at his studio, Hitchener shared his thoughts on the future of the profession.
He’s been in the industry for more than 50 years but embraces modern technology as if he’s grown up with it and is a regular user of social media.
“I love the fact that we’ve got social media now because social media means you get feedback from people all the time,” he said, but stressed, “It’s not a place necessarily to verify stories.”
Social media is full of positives for journalists but Hitchener admitted that it’s not all good.
“The disadvantages are bound,” he said. “Some areas of social media are great places for people to spread disinformation and they’re a great place for people to attack one another unkindly.”
Since Hitchener started in the industry a lot has changed. Video tape, which required processing before being aired, was used in the early days of his career but now, “you can cross anywhere in the world within a minute’s notice.”
Hitchener wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I like the way it is now.”
Not everything has changed in the world of journalism, however, with the main purpose still the same.
“What we’re trying to do hasn’t changed, really, which is just to tell people what’s going on and bring them up to date on things we think they might be interested in.”
youthjournalism.org
Peter Hitchener, left, answers questions during an interview with YJI Senior Reporter Jack Ward.
Newspapers are still managing to hang on, but for how long is the question.
In May, Fairfax Media, the Australian company that owns newspapers including The Sydney Morning Herald, made headlines around the globe when it said it would cut 125 full-time journalists – about one in four editorial jobs.
Asked if he thought newspapers would make a permanent exit, Hitchener said, “I’m not sure, I hope they survive for the people that work in newspapers, not sure they will.”
Newspapers are also becoming online hubs for content, with most having websites and digital editions of their papers, which may offer another source of income for publishers.
Hitchener is positive that there will be changes to the way news is delivered in the future.
“The news might be delivered on your wristwatch or on your glasses in the future, but it’s still the same thing,” he said, adding that people will always be interested in each other and want to know what’s going on.
“I think the future of news is strong, how we get it, who knows.”
The Public Interest Journalism Committee will present its final report in early December. It may give insight into what can be expected in the coming years.
At present, newspapers will continue to struggle and news organizations will have to find new platforms to publish their content.
Even Hitchener isn’t sure if his own role will exist in 10 years.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I hope there is a role for newsreaders, I rather like my job.”
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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

From the top of Cadillac Mountain to the cool waters of Otter Cove, Acadia has it all

Beth Criado-Band / youthjournalism.org
The beautiful blue water of the Atlantic Ocean crashing on the rocky shore of Maine is part of the beauty of Acadia National Park.
By Kiernan Majerus-Collins, Dawit Leake
and Beth Criado-Band
Reporters
Youth Journalism International
BAR HARBOR, MAINE—The craggy cliffs, towering pines, and sparkling blue waters of Acadia National Park were enchanting as ever during our visit on a sunny summer afternoon.
We journeyed north to Acadia from Youth Journalism International’s headquarters in Auburn, Maine, for a day exploring Maine’s only national park (two of us for the first time).
After stopping for brunch in Ellsworth, Maine, we arrived at the Acadia park visitor center on Mount Desert Island shortly before noon. Already the park was crowded—a side effect of the glorious Sunday weather. We bought a park pass and headed up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point in the park.
The top of Cadillac Mountain is accessible by car, and most people seem to travel that way rather than hike the mountain.
The mountain is rounded at the top, with large sections of exposed granite bedrock. Hearty grasses, scrubby brush, and pine trees dot the rocky landscape, but the view from the top overshadows them all. On a clear day, you can see many smaller green islands set like jewels in the sapphire sea surrounding Mount Desert Island.
Cadillac Mountain also provides a view over Bar Harbor, the main town on the island, which looked small and insignificant from above.
The mountain’s summit isn’t easy to find – there’s no obvious peak, and the top is fairly flat. Nevertheless, we managed to find the highest point, where the first rays of sunlight hit the United States each day.
youthjournalism.org
YJI students Kiernan Majerus-Collins of Maine, Dawit Leake of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Beth Criado-Band of Perth, Scotland on the top of Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine.
After our adventure on the mountain we set out on the park’s loop road, a winding one-way drive that passes many of Acadia’s most famous features. We skipped Sandy Beach, which seemed crowded, and headed directly for the rocky shores the park is known for.
Beth Criado-Band / youthjournalism.org
The marker at the Cadillac
Mountain summit. Click to enlarge.
Acadia’s coast is a full sensory experience. It’s beautiful, of course, but the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks, the smell and taste of the salt air, and the warm, coarse rock below your feet are at least as important to the park’s magic as its amazing views.
The biggest drawback of the jagged shores near Thunder Hole – one of the park’s attractions – is that getting in the ocean is impossible. The water is mesmerizing, and you sometimes feel as though you just want to jump in. Anyone foolish enough to try, however, would likely end up badly hurt, if not drowned.
Beth Criado-Band / youthjournalism.org
Maine is known for its rocky shores like this one at Acadia National Park.
youthjournalism.org
YJI Reporter Dawit Leake of
Ethiopia wades in Otter Cove,
Acadia National Park, Maine.
Thankfully, there are other places where wading or even swimming is possible if you’re willing to brave the park’s chilly water and jaggy beaches.
At Otter Cove, the sea gently laps against the shore, making it a perfect place to get your feet wet and play in the shallows. The sand is hot – roasting even -- but once you get to the water, it’s cool, and the heat just dissipates out of your body. It’s a comfortable place to wade around.
Be careful though – the beach and sea floor are covered with sharp rocks and sea life! Crabs, periwinkles, fish and more live in the cove, and odds are you’ll run across at least a few of them in the water. We recommend swim shoes.
One day isn’t enough time at a place like Acadia, and we are all looking forward to going back again someday. For now, however, we’ll cherish the memories of a place where the waves meet the woods and the crash of the ocean against the rocky cliffs creates a sense of timeless wonder we won’t soon forget. 





Beth Criado-Band / youthjournalism.org
A panoramic view from Acadia National Park. Click on the photo to enlarge.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Charlie Bae / youthjournalism.org
The Omokgyo subway station in Seoul.

By Charlie Bae
Junior Reporter
SEOUL, South Korea – South Korea is my ‘home.’ It’s where I was born, where I spent more than half my life, and where my family lives.
Our country is technically at war, and Seoul is North Korea’s number one target. But no Seoulite gives much thought to threats coming from up north. The most common response in South Korea to North Korean missile tests is, “Not again.”
Seoul is a megacity. It’s normal to travel in the subway for an hour and a half to reach another part of Seoul. And no, I don’t mean the suburbs.
Because I spend so much time on public transport, I consciously try to do something productive during that time. Most Seoulites turn their heads down to look at their smartphones – to play games, read the news or watch a rerun of their favorite TV program. I tend to read a book or do last-minute assignments for school.
Charlie Bae / youthjournalism.org
I SEOUL U photozone in Yeouido Hangang Park, Seoul.

The neighborhood I live in is called Mokdong. It literally means ‘tree village.’ As the name suggests, there are lots of trees, flora and parks. Located in the west of Seoul, it is one of the quietest areas of the city.
Mokdong itself is quite big, too. My particular neighborhood can be considered remote, but once you take a bus out into the busier areas, there are numerous cafes, restaurants and department stores.
Charlie Bae / youthjournalism.org
The Mokdong neighborhood in Seoul.
If you wanted, you could live completely secluded in Mokdong and not feel the need to take a subway out into the city. There’s no variety here, though. I tend to feel the urge to get out of my neighbourhood quite often. ‘Exclusivity’ would be a word to describe the place.
My home is quite close to Gimpo and Incheon airports. I love being able to watch airplanes. In the vicinity of my apartment, I can only see planes landing, but it’s a beautiful sight.
I could plane-watch all day. I once tried timing their landings, and found that one plane lands after the other approximately every two minutes. I take comfort in watching those planes. To me, they’re a means of escape, albeit mentally.
Seoul is one of my home cities but it’s my least favorite. It’s stressful hating your home city, but I find it hard to like Seoul for what it is.
Charlie Bae / youthjournalism.org
Omokgyo in the Mokdong neighborhood of Seoul.

There are reasons why I watch planes hoping I could be on one, leaving Seoul with a toothbrush, phone charger and nothing else. The biggest reason among them would be lacking a sense of belonging.
I call myself a Seoulite only because I’m physically in Seoul, not because I identify with it. The meagre politics, lack of welfare and inflexible education system all play into my negative outlook.
What’s more, Seoulites aren’t the politest in the world. They indiscreetly push past people in public, don’t apologize when they’ve stepped on your foot, and invade personal space.
Individuals fighting into crowds of people exiting the subway to secure seats for themselves is too common a sight.
Now that I’ve left to study abroad, I’m seeking ways to step out of Korea for good – in search of a home at heart. 
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Friday, September 22, 2017

My summer in Hel ... taking care of seals

Photo by Ewa Malinowska / used with permission
YJI Reporter Joanna Koter with one of the seals at Fokarium, a seal sanctuary in Poland. As a volunteer, she had the chance to take part in the medical training of the seals.

By Joanna Koter
Reporter
HEL, Poland – When I told my teacher that I was going to spend my summer volunteering in Hel, she did not treat me seriously. She was a geography teacher, after all, however very few foreigners know that Hel is a holiday resort at the very end of the Hel Peninsula in Poland.
Hel is well known for being home to one of 13 sea lanterns on the Polish coast of the Baltic Sea. There is the Museum of Coastal Defence that includes an extensive range of World War II bunkers and a seal sanctuary called Fokarium. The latter is a popular tourist attraction, but it is most importantly a research center and is managed by the Oceanography Department of the University of Gdansk. This place became my work and home for two weeks last summer.
My first impression of Hel was that the local council has a sense of humor – I saw the only bus that runs in town, and its number was 666. With that nice start, I eagerly got to the sanctuary with my backpack and, as the volunteer coordinator had advised me before, a pair of my own wellies, or rain boots.
By noon I was ready to meet six other volunteers and the seal trainers, who were to introduce us to our responsibilities. And by trainers I do mean trainers, not keepers, because seals can be trained in the same way as dolphins. They can jump onto buoyant platforms, fetch balls and roll around when told to.
However, seals will not listen to everyone – they are still independent, even though they are not allowed to be released back to the sea after becoming trained seals. The reason for this is that they are fed only by humans, as fish is used as a reward during what is called a medical training. This form of training is based on encouraging the animal to take part in a medical check-up, and the most effective incentive is feeding them fresh Baltic herring. 
Joanna Koter / youthjournalism.org
The seal sanctuary on a calm day.

Fokarium is home to six seals: two males, Bubas and Fok, and four females: Agata, Ewa, Ania and Unda (whose name means “a wave” in Swedish). There are three trainers who take care of them, and the first time I got to watch them during training it was amusing how much the seals resembled dogs following commands. (I have to admit, I stood out in the group as most of the volunteers were either current or aspiring animal science students and compared to them, my previous knowledge on animal training was minimal).
The relationship visible between a seal and a trainer resembled to me the one between a dog and its owner. The obedience was caused not only by perfected training but simply a friendship between a man and an animal. It is worth mentioning that a young seal is called a szczenie, or pup - just like a young dog, and its mouth is said to be “dog-like,” although that depends on the species. Species other than the grey seal, which is kept at the sanctuary, have a more cat-like mouth.
This is one of the number of seal “fun facts” we had to learn as part of our job. On the first day, we were given a brochure with a set of FAQs on seals and the sanctuary. We had to know what species of seal we kept, how many we have released to the wild (all seals born at the sanctuary are released to the Baltic sea after they reach a specific weight) and even how many teeth seals have (18-20 on the top jaw, 16 on the bottom one).
Photo by Ewa Malinowska / used with permission
Getting up close and personal with a couple of the seals. YJI reporter Joanna Koter is on the right.
Learning about the seals wasn’t hard when compared with our other tasks, which were mostly dealing with tourists. And tourists, as you may know if you ever had a summer job in a holiday resort, can be difficult to handle. For example, one of the work shifts was patrolling the grounds. That person had to make sure that no one climbed onto fences or benches, leaned out of the barriers too far or did anything else to damage the sanctuary or themselves by falling into the pool.
What worked best in the case of children was telling them that seals do have teeth and bite - which is true and is written on the fencing, so it was only a friendly reminder.
We also helped to keep the sanctuary tidy during the day. In the evening we cleaned the building which housed a museum with an exhibition dedicated to the history of sealing and their protection. But the shift everyone enjoyed the most was helping with the training – even though it included fishing dead Baltic herrings out of the sink and cutting them in half, grinding the insides which fell out of them, and then carrying heavy steel buckets with fish between pools, trying not to fall into them.
Joanna Koter / youthjournalism.org
A seal trainer works with a volunteer to make healing saline water for the seals with an eye sickness.
The fact that you had to wear wellies while doing it did not make it easier. As one of the trainers told us, “If you fall in, drinks on you.” Still, there was a chance you would get a peck from one of the seals before the eyes of hundreds of tourists, so everyone did their job the best they could and there were rarely any complaints about it.
At the end of the day, all of our work was dedicated to help fill seals’ stomachs and run a place where all the profits went to funding the research on seals and other creatures from the Baltic Sea.
In our spare time (which was sparse but enough) we were free to explore Hel, wander to the beach or go and treat ourselves to delicious fried fish from the morning catch.
The two weeks at the sanctuary were full of hard work and – no surprise here – flew by really fast. This volunteering experience made two of my wishes come true - to see what it’s like to work as a zookeeper, and to work in a visitor attraction dedicated to conservation of the environment.
I definitely do not regret my time at the seal sanctuary. My one piece of advice to other young reporters, or college students: next summer, go and do something completely new, explore a fresh ground, and make a good experience out of it. You will definitely learn some new things, and if you did not expect them, your experience – and your story – will be even better.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tree Street Youth center helps immigrant teens feel at home in Lewiston, Maine

youthjournalism.org
From left: Beth Criado-Band of Scotland, senior videographer for YJI; Dawit Leake of Ethiopia, reporter for YJI with two of the young people they interviewed, Djmal Maldoum and Halima Ibrahim, residents of Lewiston, Maine who are involved in Tree Street Youth.

By Dawit Leake
Reporter

LEWISTON, Maine, U.S.A. – Students from different backgrounds – including asylum seekers looking for a better future – have found a sanctuary of support at a busy youth center here.
“Anyone is welcome” at Tree Street Youth, said Djmal Maldoum, a recent graduate of Lewiston High School who spends much of his time at the center.
Maldoum, 19, is originally from Ndjamena, Chad, a country in the center of Africa.
When the political situation in Chad spurred Maldoum to come to the United States with an aunt in 2014, he spoke only French and Arabic.  
He settled in with another aunt in Lewiston and found that learning English was his biggest challenge.  Maldoum got the hang of the language quickly by talking to people, mostly his cousins, but also by often visiting Tree Street Youth as a new resident of Lewiston.
“Every single day, Tree Street,” said Maldoum.
He appreciates the technology here in the United States, he said, and the amount of support available for students at school and at Tree Street. He said he was surprised that teachers here don’t use corporal punishment like they do in Chad.
Something else that surprised and pleased Maldoum was discovering the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants here in the U.S.
Although Maldoum is very happy with his life in Lewiston, he still feels pressure to help his family in Chad. He said he misses his family, especially his mother, the food back home and even the sounds of kids in the street.
Maldoum wants to go to college and study international business, but can’t afford it yet. His status as an asylum seeker does not include a work permit, so he spends his days volunteering from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. helping younger kids at Tree Street.
“The community helped me a lot when I came here,” he said.
He found Maine’s snowy, cold winters “crazy” at first, Maldoum said, and quiet little city of Lewiston didn’t initially match up with the expectations he had for life in an American city. He said he got used to all of it, though, and made a lot of friends.
“I feel like I belong to Maine now,” he said.

Setting an example

Maldoum isn’t the only one who appreciates the support and friendship at Tree Street.
“Tree Street is the only fun part of my day,” said Halima Ibrahim, 14, who volunteers at the center, working with three to five-year-old children.
“I’m being an inspirational person to them,” said Ibrahim, a student at Lewiston High School. “I’m showing people what’s wrong from right.”
A native of Kenya, Ibrahim came to the U.S. when she was just two years old and is now an American citizen. She’s lived in Lewiston since 2009, runs track at school and hopes to one day be an Olympic athlete. One of 11 children, Ibrahim said she spends much of her time babysitting her seven younger brothers.
A newcomer to Tree Street is 15-year-old Abdifatah Bare, also a student at Lewiston High School.
A native of Somalia, Bare moved to the U.S. when he was only six. He said he doesn’t remember much about his hometown of Mogadishu.
Bare said he has fun playing basketball, but also likes to hang with friends at Tree Street. He said he likes school in Lewiston and the teachers there, too.

Looking for a home

youthjournalism.org
Hana Mougin
College bound Hana Mougin, who graduated from Lewiston High School this year, also gives her time to Tree Street. The center assisted her with her SAT exams and getting into university, she said.
“It’s a really good place to get help,” said Mougin, who will start taking pre-med courses at Husson University in Bangor, Maine in the fall.
Mougin is from Djibouti, a tiny nation on Africa’s eastern coast. She’s lived in Lewiston with her mother and younger brother for about four years. The three family members recently gained asylum in the U.S., she said, after spending two years in India with her step-father, a diplomat.
“It’s the best country that I’ve ever been in,” said Mougin, of India. “The people are very warm and welcoming and the food is great.”
But Mougin said that they wanted a permanent home and moved to the U.S. primarily because her parents felt that India was not safe for a teenage girl.
Being in the U.S. also offered her a chance to become tri-lingual as she didn’t speak English before arriving here.

The goal: staying safe

Both Mougin and Ibrahim said they’d been on the receiving end of hateful remarks since coming to Maine.
“I hate it when people think it’s okay to say disrespectful things,” said Ibrahim. She said she and another young Muslim girl were in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park one day when they were called “cockroaches” and “terrorists.”
She didn’t fight back, Ibrahim said.
“If someone says something about me, I don’t fight them,” Ibrahim said. “Violence is not the answer.”
Mougin, who is also Muslim but doesn’t wear a hijab, said the local Muslim kids have questioned her faith and called her “the Christian girl.”
“It’s my choice,” said Mougin. “I guess I got used to it. Now I don’t care what people think.”
Mougin, who is bi-racial, has a white father from France and a mother from Djibouti.
“When people see me, they don’t really know that I’m from Africa,” Mougin said.
One day she was in Wal-Mart with her mother, who was speaking French with a friend. Another customer didn’t like it and made negative comments to Mougin, not realizing the insults were about her mother.
Mougin, who said Maine has “bi-polar weather” ranging from very warm to very cold, wants to return to Djibouti and to travel everywhere she can.
Ibrahim wants to travel too, especially to Australia and Canada.
Though she’s never met her grandparents in Kenya, she said she has no desire to go back “or anywhere that’s dangerous.”

Watch a short video with Djmal Maldoum :

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

The sting of pepper spray at St. Louis protest


Sydney Hallett / youthjournalism.org
Protesters use milk to treat a man who was pepper sprayed by police at a St. Louis protest on Friday. 

By Sydney Hallett
Senior Reporter
ST. LOUIS, Missouri, U.S.A. – I never thought a police officer would spray me in the face with pepper spray while I stood at a peaceful protest, but that is what happened to me Friday.
In St. Louis, and its suburbs, there’s tension between the police and the community, and many people believe the police abuse their power. The killing of black teenager Michael Brown three years ago by a white officer in nearby Ferguson ignited a violent response.
After the acquittal Friday of another white police officer who had faced murder charges in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man, people gathered at the court house to protest.
I went, too, to take part peacefully, and to document what happened.
The verdict came from the judge about 10 a.m. and that’s when people assembled around the courthouse to protest on a sweltering morning. I arrived about 12:30 p.m. and saw protesters, some lined up and others huddled together, on sidewalk and street in front of the building.
Sydney Hallett / youthjournalism.org
Protesters link arms in front of a bus in the street in St. Louis early in a long day of protests Friday.
There was no violence, but police were prepared with riot gear.
The first rounds of pepper spray came about 1 p.m. when about 30 officers on bicycles were using their bikes to push people to clear a path for a bus. They used pepper spray, arrested people, and used force.
I saw two plastic water bottles and another reusable water bottle thrown at the police, striking them from different directions. From what I saw, most protesters were peaceful and even yelled at the ones throwing things, telling them to leave.
Many protesters stood in a line, parallel to the officers in riot gear. They chanted, “No justice, no peace,” which was the slogan for the protest. There wasn’t violence the first time people lined up in front of the officers.
After the police moved the protesters from the street toward the courthouse – sort of containing the crowd with squad cars and lines of officers in riot gear – things were different. Police didn’t disturb the protest then.
In the center of a four-way intersection blocked off from traffic for the protest, protesters handed out food, water bottles, and other things people might need. People were chanting and taking care of each other. The people I met came from many different backgrounds and I found them insightful.
About 2:30, protesters began to move peacefully toward downtown. Traffic was stopped for us, but we maneuvered our way through the cars. There was no violence towards any pedestrians or cars. We were not on the highway.
Sydney Hallett / youthjournalism.org
St. Louis police officers protect the entrance to a bus about 1:15 p.m.
 At 5 p.m., we gathered by the courthouse again and stayed there. We were lined up in unison, and at that moment, I didn’t see many police officers in riot gear. There were police cars blocking the roads, stopping us from going any further.
One of the protesters approached a police officer and talked to him about everything that was  going on. A crowd gathered around. The man who was protesting and the police officer were both respectful towards each other.
But then we saw the officers in riot gear. They were dividing the crowd, turning what was a peaceful protest into a violent one. The protesters who got stuck on the other side were fleeing, but some weren’t able to make it out.
Sydney Hallett / youthjournalism.org
St. Louis police officers line up about 5 p.m., just before they divided the crowd of protesters.
An officer in riot gear tackled a small young woman to the ground. I don’t know why.
Most of the protesters were in the same part of the crowd as me. Like before, we linked arms parallel to the officers.
I thought they might have felt threatened. I was chanting, “this is a peaceful protest!” Others were chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” a popular slogan during the Ferguson protests.
youthjournalism.org
Sydney Hallett after getting pepper sprayed
When I saw the officer in front of me pull out a can, I didn’t know what to expect. I had a towel on my arm, ready to help anybody who was about to get pepper sprayed. The last thing I expected was getting pepper sprayed myself. As I was chanting, “This was a peaceful protest,” the officer in front of me pepper sprayed the left side of my face.
I turned away from the police, screaming and feeling immediate pain in my face. I closed my eyes, losing sight of what was going on. My breathing hurt, my throat was tight, and I couldn’t help but cry.
I could feel someone move me away from the crowd, screaming, “We need a medic!”
It was the worst pain I had felt in my life. It affected all of my senses.
I was confused, angry, panicked, and passionate. We were peacefully protesting, and they decided to pepper spray a line of people who were doing absolutely nothing.
I didn’t understand.
In the past, when I read news stories of riots, I always thought protesters were the ones who started the violence. Now, in the protest that I was in, it was the police who incited the violence.
I was told to turn my head to the side as milk was poured onto my face. It burned more than anything. For 10 minutes, water and milk was poured on my face as someone grabbed an extra shirt from my bag and dabbed my face.
I’d brought a towel and extra clothes to help other people in need, but I couldn’t. I never knew that this would happen to me.
When I was finally able to settle down, I couldn’t help but go back to the front of the crowd. It seemed like the police hadn’t learned their mistakes in pepper spraying people. Instead, they threatened to chase everyone down. Every 20 minutes or so, the police threatened to chase everyone down, leading to widespread panic among protesters who turned and ran.
The protest was worth every second. The 90-degree weather, the pepper spray, and the solidarity of everyone in the crowd. Things in Missouri need to change if officers keep abusing their power and shooting people of color. This should not keep happening, but it does.
The protest shows that people care what happens in our government.
As a chant went during the protest: “This is what democracy looks like.”
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