"Please I can't breathe", were some of George Floyd's final words. Floyd was yet another Black person taken from his family and this world by police officers through racist, inhumane acts. Such senseless, brutal acts—committed by society's
authority figures—are a human rights violation that are tragically all too common and experienced by Black, Indigenous and other People of Color.
Welcome to 2020 where racism remains deeply rooted in our nation's institutions and social fabric.
If you doubt that these brutal acts are not America (or the America you know): pause and ask yourself if are you living in a predominantly white, privileged community that is shielding you from the realities of your wider community.
"Try to imagine how it must feel for Black Americans when they watch themselves being looted every single day. Police in America are looting black bodies.” — Trevor Noah
To deny this reality, is to deny the meaningful, needed change toward justice and equity for everyone that we need to strive for, and the work and action needed by folks, especially by privileged white people who greatly benefit from sustaining the racist-driven society we currently live in.
For many of us in marginalized communities—Black, Indigenous, QTPOC, and other POC—the outright brutal, senseless, and racist acts that you are witnessing today is something We have experienced in one variation or another, one-too-many times throughout our lives going all the way back to grade school, during trips to the park and grocery stores, and, even in the workplace.
Until there is justice for everyone, there cannot be peace for everyone.
Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, like myself, are tired—frustrated and angry!—of often only hearing prayers and
I see yous without direct action. Individually and collectively, we want—we demand!—tangible action toward justice for us and everyone else, especially from our white friends, neighbors and extended community, whether we know each other directly or not.
Depending on each of our privileges, we may or may not be able to do certain things that others are able to do, but one thing should be made clear: we all have a role to play in anti-racist work. Perhaps you can't be out on the streets protesting, but calling out racist behavior amongst your family, friends, and oneself when you witness and experience it is something you can absolutely do.
To be silent, is to be complicit. And as Bernice King shared:
Clearly, from Bernice King's list alone, there's plenty one can do to rise and resist hate, and be an agent for change—an agent for social and racial justice. Please don't just be anti-racist when it's convenient for you, be anti-racist all the time, even when no one takes notice; and, even when it doesn't directly impact or involve you, your immediate community and world-circle, because, again: no justice (for everyone), no peace (for everyone).
If you're protesting, please keep the following in mind to protect yourself and other protestors' safety:
DO NOT share videos and images of the faces of friends and others protesting
In case of tear gas, DO NOT use milk. Water and baking soda solution.
In California, you can leverage the Mobile Justice App for recording and reporting police conduct. If this is not available to you, in your state, use your phone's built-in video recorder as a fallback
More helpful tips and resources at https://protest.wtf
Know Your Rights. If you think your rights have been violated while protesting, try to do the following: Write down everything you remember including officers' badge or patrol car numbers; Get bystanders' contact information for witnesses; Take photos of any injuries and report violations with the American Civil Liberties (ACLU)
My friends over at Holland Project put together an on-going list of resources for folks—check it out!
If you're white and wondering what you can do, check out this guide, Save the Tears, pieced together by Tatiana T. Mac.
#BlackLivesMatter — Yesterday, today & everyday ✊🏽