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From the Editor’s Desk: Protest under assault

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I have this vivid memory from the early days of 2020 that won’t subside.

It was January 6, before CES officially began, and I was at the Cosmopolitan hotel looking at Fossil’s new smartwatch offerings. The demo was finished and I was standing on this expansive balcony overlooking the city, a fake Eiffel Tower looming to my right. I was claiming a minute just for me, while inside my coworkers were chatting away contently. It was one of those really nice moments that you have to intercede on your own behalf to remember, to crystallize it so that, whatever happens in the future, you can draw upon it for reinforcement.

I’ve been drawing on it a lot lately, as the world seemingly crumbles around me. I’m safe and healthy and in no immediate danger, and for that I’m incredibly thankful. And I’m also angry. The slow burn of this year, the shelter-in-place of it all, spilled out into the streets in recent days, first as a trickle and then, over the past couple nights, as a deluge.

Now there’s another image I can’t get out of my head. It’s of an NYPD cruiser careening into a group of protestors as they attempt to set up a blockade. People fly in every direction, and most hit the ground hard. In the context of the last few days, it’s a small act of aggression, but it’s one in an accumulation and escalation of violence that needs to be quickly condemned and then examined for its sheer malevolence. Police have the power, and they are abusing it.

Black people in the U.S. deserve to feel safe wherever they go. They deserve to feel free in places they live and in places they don’t. They deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt, just as white people often are, when it comes to public discourse and action taken. They deserve not to be killed by police.

my older brother went to a protest in Denver last night. as the police were leaving, one of them shot him with a pepper pellet that smashed the back of his phone and exploded in his face. they were ~30 feet from each other and it looks like the officer aimed directly at his face pic.twitter.com/m9vxaSQbwI

— Rachelle D’nae (@heyydnae) May 31, 2020

The protests taking place around the U.S. are a response to the inaction black people feel by governments at every level. The rioting and looting a processing of those pent-up feelings. If you’re not a black person in the U.S., your job is to listen and try to understand, not judge people for acting as a force for change. If you feel that George Floyd, and so many other innocent black citizens over the past few years, didn’t deserve to die, your job is to be an agent for change in your own way, by donating to good causes — in the short-term, bail funds and longer-term, the campaigns of those running in elections at every level looking to subject the current policing system to severe scrutiny.

This shouldn’t be a partisan issue. The abuse of power at any government level shouldn’t be tolerable, and what’s happened — and captured on video again and again and again — over the past few nights is sickening. It’s horrifying. And it has to stop.

Black lives matter.

  • Donate to the Minnesota Black Visions Collective
  • Donate to your closest bail fund through the National Bail Funds Network

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