Q&A With Iesiah Harris Of BLM Geneva: The People’s Peaceful Protest

Since May 31 2020, the Geneva has seen daily Black Lives Matter marches and gatherings hosted by BLM Geneva: The People’s Peaceful Protest. Can you talk about how you have been involved, and why have been involved, in the movement and the marches here in the city?

I led the first march and honestly didn’t even realize it. We were standing in front of the bank & someone handed me a megaphone and it was on from there. “Why are we standing in front of the bank? They didn’t do anything to us.. .the police did,” I shouted, and that’s when we proceeded down to the Public Safety. So that’s where we go EVERY day to peacefully protest & fight for ours.

Iesiah Harris – photo by BLM Geneva: The People’s Peaceful Protest

If someone has never been to one of the marches in Geneva, how would you describe to that person what’s been happening at the marches so far?

I would describe our protests as a MOVEMENT. Powerful, Emotional & real. I would encourage any and everybody to come down , that has been victims and non victims of the PD…also anybody that understands and wants to understand BLACK LIVES MATTER…just to show us love and support. We are stronger as one. Come down and see for yourself.

A list of demands from The Peoples Peaceful Protest of Geneva has been recently made public. The petition aims to “reform the Geneva Police Department policy and procedure to preemptively and proactively maintain peace, best practices, and ultimately the safety of all of our citizens.”

Can you speak about the process that resulted in the list of demands being created?

Yes, the list of demands is something we put together and took time to do so. We want people to know we are serious out here and NEED change. The community of Geneva needs to understand that if we defund the police, we will have way more resources/funds to have a more put together community… there’s a VERY Visible gap here In Geneva…affordable LIVABLE housing…& to support our local Boys and Girls Clubs.

photo by BLM Geneva: The People’s Peaceful Protest

Instead of police being called to a mental health crisis, call a Mental Health professional & get the person proper help, also a check up after being checked out. That sadly can’t happen because Geneva’s funding…we don’t even have a mental health clinic here anymore. Defund the police.

The request for a civilian-led oversight board is at the top of the list of demands. The chief of police has said he doesn’t think we need a civilian review board. Can you speak about why a PAB/CRB is so important?

I believe we need a PAB/CRB. It’s really important because we need to know what’s happening in the community. We need to see numbers for EVERYthing. Every week , if not everyday.

photo by BLM Geneva: The People’s Peaceful Protest


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