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Protesting When Marching Isn't A Safe Option

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez (left) organized a car caravan protest on June 20 in University City.
Provided by Zuleyma Tang-Martinez
Zuleyma Tang-Martinez (left) organized a car caravan protest on June 20 in University City.

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez has witnessed major political movements in the country since the civil rights movement during the ’60s in Oakland, California. She is now 75 years old, and the professor emerita of biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis still makes it a point to participate in demonstrations, including the ongoing movement against police brutality. 

But this time, she faces complications. The coronavirus weighed heavily on her mind when it came to deciding whether or not she could march with protesters. Her age and medical conditions make it too risky to join the crowds. She had a hunch that others were in a similar situation — and she was right.

Through MOmentum: Missouri Moving Forward, a social justice organization created in 2016, Tang-Martinez organized a car caravan last month in University City to “drive out racism and drive in justice.” She expected 30 to 40 cars to show up — but about 200 cars drove through the “humblest to the poshest” parts of the city. People of various ages and physical abilities were able to participate, decking out their cars with signs expressing their solidarity with the movement.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Tang-Martinez joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about being an activist when you’re unable to attend protests with other marchers.

Listen to the full discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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