Zachariah Brown, protester with the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo and interview.



Zachariah Brown, protester with the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo and interview.


Interview with BLM activist and exhibit creator Zachariah Brown.


Z. Brown, protester and curator, self-interview 7/21/20

I-What is your name/age?

Z-Zachariah Brown, and I’m 23.

I-How have you been personally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Z-A number of ways. Firstly, I’m originally from Massachusetts, and I was unable to travel north after the end of my year at college. Instead of seeing my family, I was stuck homeless for a month between leases. I decided to travel around the country with my girlfriend- it was interesting seeing how Americans different places worked to deal with the virus, from implementing and following strict mandates, to completely ignoring and politicizing it. I was able to stay safe, washing my hands, wearing a mask, and using hand sanitizer, but as soon as I was back in Florida, I contracted the virus. Luckily, I had a mild case, but I still don’t have my full sense of smell back.

I-How do you think the world has changed in the past few months?

Z-I think the virus has underlined two main things. First, that the vulnerable are only getting more vulnerable, as in the poor are getting poorer, and access to resources for the majority of Americans only becomes harder in a worldwide-crises which exacerbates our already unjust economy. I had to deal with that myself, while I watched people from the other side of the fence taking world vacations, buying new cars and stuff like that. Second, that personal action and intention is the single most important thing in a globalized society. This means that individuals have more power collectively than they think they do. Countries that listened to science and wore masks and implemented health policies, their numbers of new cases are dropping significantly. Americans, who don’t, I mean, look what we’ve created. Our country is a plague state.

I-Why are you out protesting today/why do you protest?

Z-I protest because I firmly believe that though this country is becoming more oligarchical every day, we’re still of and for the people, which means that protesting is the best way to get stuff done. If thousands of people, or millions put enough pressure on the systems of power that allow racist cops to kill innocent black men, women, and children, then at best we can overturn and overthrow those systems, or at the very least make incremental changes. I also think it’s important for white people to be allies, and make their voices and dollars show out for this cause. As a historian, I often look back at the white people who marched on Washington with Dr. King with pride- there’s no excuse to be a “product of your time” as people say. I also look at those who weren’t Nazi’s, but normal people, and allowed the Holocaust to unfurl anyway out of mob mentality, carelessness, fear, or even apathy. If we don’t stand up fascism and involve ourselves in the fates of others, we’re doomed for the same fate.

I-What does police reform mean to you?

Z-Police reform means a complete overhaul of the system. First, more education and restrictions on who can be a cops- right now, it seems a lot of fresh high school grads with no better options and serious mental illness are getting access to guns. Police should require 4 years of specialized schooling. They should also handle less, we need to give a lot of their jobs to mental health counselors, economic advisors, and other specialists. It’s ridiculous that a police officer can investigate a murder, stop and frisk a person without a taillight, give our parking tickets, help evict a tenant from a property, and try to stop a suicide all within the same week. These are guys that get like a few weeks of training, most of it about how to use guns. Of course they’re going to do horribly at this huge overreaching job.

I-Do you think the world is changing for the better?

Z-When I wrote this question, I didn’t know the answer, and after conducting a few interviews I still don’t. I see my generation thinking up new systems of governing and living that are brilliant. I see a lot of progressives. But I also see a lot of apathy. There are so many young people my age who just don’t care about what’s going on around them, about the world crumbling before them, because they’re easily distracted and the news is inundated with horrible reports it makes people numb. I’d like to think it is, but until we start seriously dealing with the climate catastrophe and partisan contrarianism, and start listening to science and asking what we want our world to look like, I don’t know. I don’t know. This timeline might very well be the one where we head into apocalypse.

I-How do you think COVID-19 has influenced people in their urgency to commit social action?

Z-It’s the same thing I said about individual power. The power of the individual has been underlined within these past few months. If you want to keep your family safe, you wear a mask and wash your hands, and stay home. If you want to keep your neighborhood safe, you spread awareness about health policies and implement them. If you want to change how seriously our local and federal government takes the death of innocent black people, you take to the streets, making art, shouting, chanting, talking, and sure, burning stuff and toppling statues. A lot of good has come from these protests and riots, and sadly, a lot more change came about than if we just let the justice system deal with it. Because unfortunately, the justice system is now the enemy. It’s corrupt and broken. But now we know how much power we all have individually.

I-How do you think this era will be remembered?

Z-I think it will be remembered within the series of Black Lives Matter protests that started with Trayvon Martin, and with Ferguson and Mike Brown, and that we’re building towards a climax of real change. I think that the pandemic will be, in world history, remembered as a time when America lost it’s place as the world superpower and lost a lot of it’s prestige, mainly due to our failure to function and the Trump Administration’s inability to lead. I think it’s going to remembered as a period of great economic depression, and partisan divide and racism, but also change and awareness. I think there’s more of a downturn coming, but hopefully we can all rise from the ashes, and deal with our problems before they defeat us.


Zachariah Brown


July 21, 2020


Zachariah Brown


Photo and written interview




Zachariah Brown, “Zachariah Brown, protester with the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo and interview.,” accessed September 26, 2023,

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