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'I Am An American. If You Cut Me I Bleed': D.C. Activist Reflects On National Unrest

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And we end this hour where we began - with the protests roiling America. I went out to Lafayette Square in front of the White House last night, a park named for a French general who came across the ocean to fight for America's liberty that this week became known as the scene of an attack on peaceful protesters who'd come there to ask for America to fulfill its promise of liberty to all Americans. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., had city workers paint the intersection with bold yellow letters - BLACK LIVES MATTER. I met Jennifer Jones (ph) of D.C. there. She described herself as a longtime activist.

JENNIFER JONES: I'm extremely passionate about being an American and about having the fullness of what that means in the United States of America. And I don't support looting. I don't support burning. I do support peaceful protests. However, if I have to loot and burn for you to pay attention and hear me, then I must be feeling like I'm fighting for my life. And I'm not addressing the agitators and all of the people who may be exploiting this opportunity. I'm simply dealing with the one true fact that I am an American. If you cut me, I bleed. And when you cut me and I feel threatened, I'm going to scream out and shout back. And that's what I feel like - Muriel's words on this street are screaming back to say, you have cut me, and I am bleeding.

(SOUNDBITE OF ESBJORN SVENSSON TRIO'S "YEARS OF YEARNING") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.