The police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are only the more recent high-profile examples of a long history of Black American death and mistreatment at the hands of police. Their deaths and others set off a protest movement across the country, and right here in Madison, with activists taking to the streets daily to call for an overhaul of policing and an end to persistent racial disparities.
Seeking to capture the motivations, fears and hopes powering the local movement, the Cap Times spoke to nine activists for this week's cover story. The following extended Q&As, edited for length and clarity, offer a closer look at what's driving each of these individuals to keep up the fight.
Want to hear their voices? This week's Madsplainers podcast features six of them.
"We actually are looking for deep solutions to some of the most heinous forms of violence," Adams said.
"When you share your experience, that's when you can finally make a change because that will give somebody else the courage and the willpower to speak up," Obuseh said.
Sodia, 15, and Cilena, 17, were active in Freedom Inc.'s four-year campaign to remove police officers from Madison schools, which achieved its goal in June.
With so few Black men in Madison classrooms, Mendota Elementary teacher Alexis Dean thinks of his work with children as its own form of activi…
"I see the change in Black people specifically — this burning desire for liberation, this burning yearning for freedom," Grayson said.
"Protests are good, but eventually we're going to be yelling to deaf ears and they're not going to hear us anymore," Marquon said.
"I feel like the sort of deadly combination in Madison is white liberalism and Midwest nice," Janeway said.
"Who knows, maybe there's some guy driving a tractor in Texas right now ... and maybe he has a great idea about community control of the police. I think that'd be amazing."
The police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are only the more recent high-profile examples of a long history of Black American deat…
This week on the podcast, we hear from six of the activists behind the ongoing local protests against police violence and systemic racism.
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