A lot has been written by the local and national press about a BLM protest shutting down a market belonging to a certain western New York regional grocery chain, a chain which had its start in my western New York hometown of Rochester, New York. The near-riot at a Wegman’s Market made for some dramatic video: BLM kids chalking slogans on the drive in front of the store in support of local martyr-of-the-cause Daniel Prude, and BLM kids banging on the sliding doors of the market’s main entrance, doors that an employee inside the store rushed to close to lockout protestors. The protestors and store employees, in the video, stared at each other, separated by only inches, on opposite sides of the glass doors.
All-in-all, the protest was one of the lighter BLM incidents to have occurred in Rochester. You might have seen video from around the time of the George Floyd protests; A woman was tag-team beaten by protestors with fists and boards, and on another video, protestors overrunning and chasing off diners from a restaurant’s patio. Those incidents were BLM Rochester at their fever-pitched dramatic finest. Banging on the doors of a supermarket, by comparison, is a little anticlimactic. It’s like a summer camp kids production of Annie after you’ve just seen the traveling version of (insert name of contemporary musical here). Most of what has been written so far about the supermarket incident that I’ve seen is near meaningless. There has been reporting of the basic facts of the story, but no context for them. And, they were written by people who don’t know my city. I’ll try to describe a slightly larger angle to the affair.
If you read about the recent protest at the supermarket,