The Washington, DC, woman caught in a viral video getting harassed by anti-police brutality protesters says she still supports the Black Lives Matter movement — she just didn’t like being bullied.
“I wholeheartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement,” urban planner and photographer Lauren Victor says in a Washington Post opinion piece.
“I also support an individual’s choice to participate in a protest, or not.”
Victor said she has even participated in BLM demonstrations since the group surrounded her while she ate outdoors on Aug. 24.
But “it is never okay to coerce people’s participation; that is just bullying,” she wrote.
“To be clear, this is not an argument against anger, expressed loudly, about terrible things that are allowed to happen,” Victor added.
“My desire is simply to see the vital energy that anger gives rise to be effectively directed to bring about important, lasting change.”
The viral video shows a crowd of young demonstrators closely surrounding Victor as they shouted, “White silence is violence!” and “Put your fist up!”
But Victor didn’t raise her first in the clip because she was unaware of the protest’s cause, she said in the opinion piece.
No one in the group told her why they were marching when she asked, she said.
“When they crowded around my table and started demanding that I raise my fist, it was their insistence that I participate in something that I did not understand that led me to withhold my hand,” she said.
“In retrospect, I would have done the same thing even if it was crystal clear to me who they were and what they stood for. If you want my support, ask it of me freely,” Victor added.
“That’s what we do in a democracy.”
Victor went on to write that her video has become a “global Rorschach test,” that is interpreted differently depending on the ideology of the viewer.
She conceded that the video looks “scary,” but stressed that she was “not hurt in any way.”
While she felt fear at the moment, she said she still had great hope for the movement.
“This was a group of mostly young people of many racial backgrounds working together to sustain a movement to uphold Black people’s civil rights,” she concluded.
“There are worse ways to spend a Monday night.”