March On Harvard

A group of students arriving at the Science Center Plaza in Harvard Square

Friday night, hundreds of Harvard Students gathered at the Science Center Plaza to protest racism and police violence. The students marched from their separate schools to meet in the plaza at 5 PM where a stage and speakers were setup.

When I first arrived, I didn't notice the small stage but I was able to make my way up to the front once the first student started warming up the crowd.

For about one hour, students spoke, sung and read poetry. A Cambridge Councilman, Leland Cheung, also addressed the crowd.

After the speakers, the students marched through Harvard Yard and into Harvard Square. Police had already started to redirect traffic by the time the march started and there were virtually no cars on the road. It felt eerily quiet. 

The first of four die-ins around Cambridge

This was the first time I was able to get a good look at the size of the protest. Students filled the square from the front of the Coop all the way back to Church St. (basically, about as far as I could see).

Harvard Square felt pretty empty for 6 PM on a Friday night. Not as many pedestrians on the sidewalk as I would have expected. 

After about a five minute die-in the march continued through Harvard Square on JFK St. heading towards Memorial Drive.

One of the organizers marching 'Hands up'

Another organizer leading the march yelling "No justice, no peace, no racist, police."

Protesters marching on Memorial Drive

Police had already blocked or redirected most of traffic from Memorial Drive by the time the bulk of the marchers got there. 

The students continued on Memorial Drive all the way up to Western Ave. where they staged a second die-in.

This sign is perfect. My thoughts exactly.

After the die-in, the group continued up Western Ave. against traffic heading towards Central Sq.

Western Ave. in Cambridge marching to Central Sq.

The third die-in of the march in Central Sq.

Once getting to Mass. Ave. in Central Sq the students blocked the intersection for another die-in. Unlike the sparse and largely gawking or unenthusiastic onlookers in Harvard Sq, the people in Central Sq. were very excited to see the protesters in the streets. There was applause and more than a few bystanders came and lay down in the streets with the protesters It was by far the most positive responses I saw all night.

Student holding banner on Mass. Ave. in Central Sq.

This banner was acting like a sail in the wind

Then it was back to Harvard via Mass. Ave.It looked like they lost about a third of the crowd by the time the protest made it back to Harvard Sq. but there were still a couple hundred people.

After a third die-in back in Harvard Sq., one of the organizer spoke, telling the students that this is just the beginning and reminding everyone about the 'Millions March' Saturday.

'Hands up' marching on Mass. Ave. heading back to Harvard

There is a brief write-up in the Harvard Crimson about the march. It has more info about the speakers and some of the context around the event as it relates to Harvard University.