In this interview, Jennifer Currier, former Publications and Programs Coordinator for the Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Department at Brown University, discusses her experiences leading up to and participating in one of the Black Lives Matter protests in Providence, Rhode Island, following the murder of George Floyd.
Currier begins by explaining her role at Brown, publishing e-journals in Portuguese, and having only a few months to learn the position before COVID-19 reached the east coast, sending everyone home to self isolate. In talking about her experience at the beginning of the pandemic, Currier shares that her life as a single child and a traveling writer trained her for Zoom meetings and solitary days.
Transitioning, Currier talks about dealing with police killings of Black people through her prayer group. After learning about the murder of George Floyd, she recalls grappling with how to take action and wondering why churches had not been leading the charge for racial justice. She goes on to discuss some of the initial protests in Providence that led to destruction in the downtown area and her decision to participate in a subsequent protest. Currier remembers seeing families, groups of doctors, and young people at the event, as well as friendly gestures and a sense of community. She also talks about trying to social distance and safely protest in the era of COVID, but remembers that it was not at the forefront of her mind in the moment.
In closing, Currier hopes that this moment of pivotal change continues, that people continue to learn and grow in order to affect that change.