Under The Radar - "Possibility And Not Fear"


By Francis White 

I came across a post from a Facebook friend and Buffalo resident Cynnie Gaasch. She recently put up a an interesting take on police shootings, race relations, and west side (of Buffalo) living. Here it is:

"For the past few days and months I have simply born witness to the news feeds regarding all that has gone on in response to the loss of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner by the hands of the police. I honestly did not know what to put down in writing, and watched as those I am connected with were also silent or mostly my friends of color shared stories. I choose not to watch or read most mainstream media that can be painful to watch. I purposefully remove myself at times from even my NPR news listening as a self defense mechanism. So I have born witness through social media mostly.

This morning I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. I felt anxious about what could possibly happen here in Buffalo in light of Ferguson and Staten Island. This anxiety at moments has grown more fierce when I bear witness through social media the bigotry that lives in this west side neighborhood. The facebook group West Side Alive, a group I joined to connect with “neighbors,” has often, and in the past week especially, shown evidence that people are moving into this neighborhood without love for the diversity. This brings me even more apprehension for what might happen here in Buffalo.

I can honestly say that having three cop cars parked within 150 feet of my home, something that happens regularly, makes me more fearful for my safety than any person of color walking by, hanging out in a group, or even arguing, ever has. This summer I experienced a tiny fraction of what a young black man must feel so often. A police officer pointed her gun at my dog we walked in front of my house. I had to walk into the officer’s aim in order to grab my dog’s collar. This tiny fraction of complete powerlessness was even still modified by the fact that I solidly know: a police officer, no matter how unreasonable, understands she could not get away with causing real harm to a white woman regardless of where she lives.

I breathe a sigh of relief last night and this morning as I bear witness through social media to the very reasonable response of the Buffalo Police Department as traffic was stopped across town by “die-ins” and peaceful protestors. I was pleased to read Council President Darius G Pridgen's comments tonight that he and others on the Common Council are looking for positive action to improve the actions of the police force. Perhaps this is all a resurgence of change and movement forward. We have a long way to go. Today, at least, I finally feel possibility and not fear."

Cynnie Gaasch
Cynnie Gaasch