ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – We’ve seen the protests in Ferguson for weeks. Recently, YouTube video of an Albuquerque woman has surfaced. In it, she said demonstrators there not to follow in the footsteps of demonstrators here.
A group of residents in Albuquerque went to Ferguson to stand in solidarity with that community after the outrage over an officer-involved shooting left an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, dead.
While the protests in Ferguson have gotten a lot of attention, and while some say they have gotten out of hand, Dinah Vargas told them not to give up.
“I cannot stress enough, do not go home. Stay in your streets. Occupy your streets, occupy your government,” Vargas told the crowd in Ferguson.
Vargas says she didn’t expect to speak but, when asked, she says she couldn’t say no. She says she speaks from experience and told the crowd the problems in Ferguson are the same problems in every city. Vargas says they won’t go away unless the people rise up.
She told them the City of Albuquerque told her and others to go home after some of the first protests following the James Boyd shooting. Yet, she says when they followed the city’s orders, nothing happened.
Vargas acknowledges there have been more, smaller protests, including the recent one at the mayor’s office. Yet, since the massive protest that took over Albuquerque streets, demonstrators have lost sight of the big picture.
“Like the June 21st march, there was a lot of focus on the police officers that were there recording instead of on the true purpose of it. Then it just sort of distracts from the main goal which is safer communities and better families,” explains Vargas.
Vargas and others dedicated to the cause say there’s still momentum, but they say now when people try to speak out, it’s labeled as “criminal” instead of community involvement.
The most recent protest in Albuquerque was in regards to a shooting competition, one APD officers are signed up for. Protesters are demanding the mayor cancel the event that’s scheduled for mid-September.