Yesterday the Portland Press Herald reported:
More than 600 people marched down Congress Street Sunday afternoon to protest the killings of two black men by white police officers in Missouri and New York as Portland police blocked traffic along the route and escorted the crowd from Congress Square to Portland High School without incident.
I marched was at the event and heartened to see so many participate.
Christoph Gelfand of True Life Media was also at the event. He shot and edited this video.
I asked Gelfand how he ended up at the event to which he responded:
I am a documentary filmmaker living in Portland. My partner, Katie and I moved here in January of last year to get away from big cities and all that comes with them. I’m from Newburyport, MA originally and Portland offered a chance to both return to New England roots and explore a new city and new surroundings. Thusfar, I’ve been really enjoying the community here. Whether it’s arts, neighborhood, or politics, this town seems to really bond together and encourage people to be themselves and speak their minds. Katie was raised in a very politically active family in Wisconsin and has always been extremely conscious and informed on current events. Over the decade-plus that we’ve been together, Katie has really encouraged me to do more with my filmmaking work for our surrounding community. When we lived in Philadelphia and New York City that was more difficult, but here in Maine I’ve already felt that I can make a palpable difference. In recent months I’ve produced work for Maine Inside Out (an organization that collaborates with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people to create and share original theater), the Maine Women’s Fund, and the Portland Food Co-op. On Friday (during Art-walk), Katie and I participated in the first march (#WECANTBREATHE Portland, Maine) which included a “die-in” in downtown Portland. I was extremely moved to hold hands with people I’d never seen before, lay in the streets in the snow, and just cause a general ruckus to back a powerful message. On Saturday, I was asked by a friend who knew one of the NCAAP organizers of the “March to End Violence” if I could volunteer my time to film the proceedings. Honestly, it was really the least I could do. While I did participate in the chants and cheers on Friday night, my voice was by no means the loudest, and I felt like this was an opportunity to make an actual impact and play to my strengths. The unison of voices, the sheer mass of people, and the beauty of the songs and music was really touching. It wasn’t until I began to edit the footage that the impact really hit me. We may be a small city, but it’s really nice to see so many people of all backgrounds finally voicing their outrage at injustice in this country.
You can find Gelfand’s video linked here.