I’ve been following the Minneapolis Uprising and George Floyd’s murder, and I felt like I needed to write something here. It wouldn’t be representative of who I am if I didn’t write about this in my newsletter. TLDR: Read this amazing resource list.
Months ago, when this pandemic first started, black people in America started sounding the warning call about using the police to enforce social distancing—for a police force that has always worked in service of white supremacism, putting our safety in their hands has always had deadly results. It’s absolutely disgusting that black people in this country have to contend not just with a deadly virus, but also police brutality. It’s been eight years since Trayvon Martin’s murder—I’ve spent the entirety of my adolescence hearing people on the news “raise awareness” and offer their condolences, and honestly, I’m sick of it.
Like the tweet says, you can’t be punk and anti-black. And if you aren’t actively working against racism, hate to say it but you are actually complicit. Sharing a post every now and then does not qualify alone as anti-racist behavior. Ask yourself what you are doing to keep police out of your community, what you’re doing to further the project of prison abolition, and how you are using whatever privilege you have to prevent murders by the police in the first place. Reject the idea that someone deserves to die over theft, and while you’re at it, reject the notion that looting is a disservice to the movement—people over property, always. Your relationship to anti-racism should be deep, personal, and ongoing, not just when a murder makes the news.
Normally, I would convene with my friends and then take to the streets. But right now the best thing we can do is the following:
DO NOT share photos or videos of protesters unless they are completely blurred out—multiple people who protested at Ferguson have died in the years since. Report videos that have any identifying information.
STOP sharing photos of black people being harmed/murdered. Be mindful that the black people on your feed don’t need to be bombarded with violent images 24/7
Sign the Color of Change Petition (or text “Floyd” to 55156)
Call Minneapolis District Attorney Mike Freeman to demand justice for George Floyd at 612-348-5550
Call Mayor Jacob Frey at 612-673-2100 and demand justice for George Floyd (script here)
Attend a virtual vigil: these vigils by BUFU are a way you can mourn with your community.
If people in your area have been protesting, donate to your local bail fund. For New York City you can donate to @BAILOUTNYCMAY on Venmo and $BAILOUTNYCMAY on Cashapp.
*And then, once you’ve done all that, share this info with someone else*
One last thing: Please do not boost anything from Shaun King right now. I know he has a ton of influence because of his large following and often gets cosigns from celebrities, but this man has a history of financial irresponsibility and opportunism. If he actually cared about the liberation movement he would listen to the black and queer organizers who have repeatedly tried to hold him accountable instead of punishing them for speaking out. You can read more about it in this Daily Beast article (published literally two days ago) and in Wear Your Voice. These were not the first exposes written about him, nor do I expect them to be the last. Black Visions, one of the activist groups on the ground in Minneapolis, has explicitly asked people NOT to donate to anything associated with Shaun King.
If for some reason you are subscribed to this NYC-focused newsletter but based in Minneapolis, here are some twitter threads (1, 2, 3, 4) on precautions you should take while protesting (if you aren’t in the city, organizers are requesting that you stay at home).
This newsletter was written for George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, and the countless other black people who have lost their lives in this fucking racist-ass country. May they rest in power.🕊️