An Oklahoma City man has been living on the steps of the state Capitol for the past month, and he said he plans to stay here for several more months until he sees real change.
“Three ways I’m coming down,” Jahaven Brandison said. “Death, prison or change.”
For Brandison, that change comes in the form of additional training for police and the civilians who interact with them, an end to qualified immunity for government officials who are responsible for constitutional violations, and better healthcare and mental healthcare for Oklahomans.
“This is where I live. This is where I was born and raised. I’m tired of seeing my brothers and sisters go through hell, and I don’t mean brother and sister as a black man and a white man or anything like that. I’m talking about Americans,” he said.
Brandison said he’s disheartened. He came up to the capitol with hundreds of demonstrators a month ago. Now, he’s alone.
“People were bored. They didn’t care. They were bored and they wanted something to do,” Brandison said. “That’s the biggest change for me is why being a millennial is a joke. Why being as a millennial, we’re poked at and prodded at. 'Oh, you’re the coddled generation.' I see it now. They will let me die up here, and still no change will happen.”
Brandison said he plans to stay at the capitol at least through the legislative session that ends in May. He believes that’s the only way we are going to see real change.
“We have fallen into the trap of it’s white against black. No. We are one people. We are one nation,” Brandison said. “We said that we were one nation under God. Do you think God would be happy with what’s going on right now?”