Inside CHAZ, some black leaders express doubt about white allies

Young white people are wandering what’s become known as CHAZ, White Claw seltzers in hand as a tuba player lofts a jaunty tune into the evening air. A woman is drawing chalk art on the street as dozens of others wait patiently in line to buy hot dogs, ignoring the free food piled across the street at the “No Cop Co-Op” tent. A red-haired woman roller-skates in turquoise boots and couples wander the six-block area with $16 craft Negronis. A Pilates instructor poses for photos at the “Free Cap Hill” sign and a group of people sit on couches at the “Conversation Café” near a Post-It covered Dream Board.

“Somebody’s dead. Why do Black bodies have to be in the street for people to have to show up?” says Stewart, an African American mental health therapist. “These people, I’m not even sure they know why they’re here.”…

“White people need to stay in when it gets uncomfortable and stop treating this like it is a party,” she says. “The marching and the protesting, all of that is important. But the work is every day holding the mayor and the City Council and the Legislature and all the way up to the president accountable.”