WEDNESDAY in America saw the aftermath of five days of spontaneous uprisings all over the country in both urban and suburban regions, that spanned across racial and ethnic lines in the aftermath and in reaction to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Although the early days were marked by violence, looting, militarized police aggression, and outside agitation by both radical right wing white supremacists as well as an AntiFa call-to-action, by Tuesday night most had settled into peaceful, family oriented protests with little or no violence and property damage.
May cooler heads prevail in the coming days.
Photo above: Kiley J. Winn in Poughkeepsie, New York.
JEZEBEL JEFFREY posts from my hometown of Poughkeepsie where thousands of residents from the Hudson Valley gathered for a peaceful protest in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis writes on Instagram: “Big big love. Denounce the evil. Trump is standing in front of catholic and episcopal churches. They are denouncing him and his incitement of violence and incitement of white nationalists nazis to do his bidding.” #antinazi #justiceforgeorgefloyd#voteallracistout #votethemout#blacklivesmatter #poughkeepsie#justiceforahmaud#justiceforbreonnataylor#berniesanders #fucktrump#poughkeepsieny #killnazis#destroyfascism #iamantifa#iamantifascist #nazisgohome#goodnightaltright #goodnightaltright🖕
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Big big love. Denounce the evil. Trump is standing in front of catholic and episcopal churches. They are denouncing him and his incitement of violence and incitement of white nationalists nazis to do his bidding. #antinazi #justiceforgeorgefloyd #voteallracistout #votethemout #blacklivesmatter #poughkeepsie #justiceforahmaud #justiceforbreonnataylor #berniesanders #fucktrump #poughkeepsieny #killnazis #destroyfascism #iamantifa #iamantifascist #nazisgohome #goodnightaltright #goodnightaltright🖕
FERGUSON TURNS A NEW CHAPTER Ferguson, Missouri elected Ella Jones as the first African-American and first woman elected mayor nearly 6 years after the city erupted in protests after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager.
Above: Credit…David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, via Associated Press
MOTHER’S LOVE This sign is everything.
ZOOM FATIGUE? The Wall Street Journal reports, “Social scientists say “Zoom fatigue” is the result of the sudden mass adoption of technology that’s disrupting the normal, instinctual and finely-tuned way of communicating that developed to help humans survive.”
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE BRANDED Companies that cavalierly and tone deafly responded to the initial advent of the Coronavirus pandemic are struggling even harder amidst the social unrest following the brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Vulture reports: This weekend, as protests against police brutality triggered disproportionate responses from law enforcement that only seemed to prove the point of the movement, the platitudinous word soup deployed from various brands online felt even more at odds with reality than usual. Companies wanted people to know that they were on the right side of history, regardless of their own histories: L’Oréal tweeted that they stood “in solidarity” with Black Lives Matter; Amazon did the same, releasing a statement that they “stand in solidarity with the Black community — our employees, customers, and partners — in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.” The Target CEO said they are a “community in pain.”
“The dissonance is mind-melting — the language of coalition-building contorted into a very immodest fig leaf brought to you by communications strategists. After all, it was just a couple of months ago when Amazon readied a smear campaign and fired one of its workers, Chris Smalls, for organizing for safer conditions in their Staten Island warehouse. Same with L’Oréal, which dropped model Munroe Bergdorf after she spoke out againstthe white supremacist march in Charlottesville in 2017. ViacomCBS sent an internal memo siding with the Black Lives Matter movement while simultaneously allegedly allowing the LAPD to use its studio lot to stop those very protesters. Obscured around the outrage of the looting of the Target store in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd is the fact that the company gave $300,000 to the police department’s surveillance operations. The other word for this, of course, is hypocrisy. Even well-intentioned efforts like the Black Out Tuesday initiative started by two music-industry executives, Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, spun out of control as record companies from Virgin to Atlantic to Interscope said they would suspend business for a day, coupling the hashtags #TheShowMustBePaused with #BlackLivesMatter. The empty black square became a meme that spread with celebrity amplification and clogged the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag with empty squares instead of potentially critical information for protesters.”
One notable exception was Reebok who posted on Instagram: “To the black community:
We see you. We stand in solidarity with you. This can no longer be the status quo.”
AGAINST TUESDAY’S BLACKOUT Lil Nas X wrote on Twitter: I just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever. I don’t think the movement has ever been this powerful. We don’t need to slow it down by posting nothing. we need to spread info and be as loud as ever.”
i just really think this is the time to push as hard as ever. i don’t think the movement has ever been this powerful. we don’t need to slow it down by posting nothing. we need to spread info and be as loud as ever. https://t.co/9nvy3HodjD
— nope (@LilNasX) June 2, 2020
And on Instagram.
BRITTANY PACKNETT CUNNINGHAM on #BlackOutTuesday posts a thought provoking video on Instagram: “If you are BLACK, think twice about #BlackOutTuesday<EDITED W ADDITIONAL INFORMATION>: I have asked multiple organizers around the country who’ve been doing this for a long time and NO ONE knows anything about #BlackoutTuesday. NONE of us organized this. If I am wrong, I will pull this post down and correct it! It appears that the righteous efforts of 2 Black women in the music industry who created #TheShowMustBePausedfor their industry to learn and develop real plans for racial justice got coopted (see next post 😩) to create digital protest suppression.
I’LL BE ARCHIVING THIS POST EVENTUALLY (originally planned to at the end of the day but i realize there’s still info in it folks are asking to have access to re: social media as a tool of resistance) Why? Because ultimately we need to REDIRECT the energy sinister forces tried to snatch from us (again, see my next post!) and funnel it into the places that need our amplification & support: @theshowmustbepaused#AmplifyMelinatedVoices@CampaignZero
@blklivesmatter & more. ❤️✊🏾”
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<EDITED W ADDITIONAL INFORMATION>: I have asked multiple organizers around the country who’ve been doing this for a long time and NO ONE knows anything about #BlackoutTuesday. NONE of us organized this. If I am wrong, I will pull this post down and correct it! It appears that the righteous efforts of 2 Black women in the music industry who created #TheShowMustBePaused for their industry to learn and develop real plans for racial justice got coopted (see next post 😩) to create digital protest suppression. I’LL BE ARCHIVING THIS POST EVENTUALLY (originally planned to at the end of the day but i realize there’s still info in it folks are asking to have access to re: social media as a tool of resistance) Why? Because ultimately we need to REDIRECT the energy sinister forces tried to snatch from us (again, see my next post!) and funnel it into the places that need our amplification & support: @theshowmustbepaused #AmplifyMelinatedVoices @CampaignZero @blklivesmatter & more. ❤️✊🏾
STIMULUS Kamala Harris [who is being vetted as Joe Biden’s potential V.P. running mate] and Andrew Yang renew call for $2,000 a month stimulus check.
Forbes reports: “At a virtual town hall this week hosted by The Appeal, Sen. Harris (D-CA) and Yang, both of whom were 2020 presidential candidates, championed a monthly stimulus payment for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Harris and Yang have supported monthly stimulus checks, and Yang, in particular, centered his presidential campaign on the idea of universal basic income. Harris and Yang said that given more than 40 million unemployed and a struggling economy, now is the right time to create a “safety net” so Americans don’t fall into poverty or further into poverty.”
THE NEW PRIDE FLAG is this. But Quartz questioned the new flag when it debuted ion 2017 saying, “Is literalism killing our symbols? In the quest to appease LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) communities seeking representation, Portland-based designer Daniel Quasar has proposed an update to the iconic rainbow flag.
In a project called “Progress: A PRIDE Flag Reboot,” Quasar introduces four extra symbolic hues in the existing six-color pennant. Designed in 1978 by artist-activist Gilbert Baker, the rainbow flag was a conceived as a unifying symbol for LGBTQ communities to “proclaim its own idea of power,” as Baker recounts in the book, Stitching a Rainbow.
It was admitted to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in 2015
BLACK AND BLUE What’s it like being a Black police officer in America right now. WJLA reports, “Outside of this uniform, people still look at us like they look at y’all,” Davis went on to say. “People would never know that we’re police officers outside the uniform. I still have the piercings in my face, I still have tattoos just like everybody else. I still go out to the club just like everybody else. I drink like everybody else. So it’s like, we’re still human beings just like everybody outside this uniform.”
Ballinger asked how they deal with anger from civilians.
“I was on social media today, literally before we had to come out, I was on social media,” the other officer said. “I really had to breathe. Because a lot of my friends and my family know… I’m an officer. But I had to breathe because of some of the comments. And I understand where the hurt comes from because I’m feeling the same hurt… I’m feeling the same emotions… but at the same time I have a job to do and that’s to protect. So when I see people like ‘Kill cops’ and stuff like that, I’m like ‘Bruh I was just at a cookout with you.’
POLICE STATE TARGETS THE FOURTH ESTATE U.S. police have attacked journalists more than 120 times since May 28. Nieman Lab, a non-profit think tank, that tracks violence against the press reports: “As Black Lives Matter protests spread across the country one week after a white police officer allegedly murdered a black man, George Floyd, it’s becoming clear that attacks by police on journalists are becoming a widespread pattern, not one-off incidents. While violence against press-credentialed reporters covering the protests may still be dwarfed by violence against the American citizens who are protesting, incidents are piling up — and are getting more attention in part because the journalists being attacked include those from large mainstream news organizations. A number of efforts are underway to try to track the attacks on journalists, which are often first documented on Twitter. Bellingcat senior investigator Nick Waters had documented 124 incidents by 3:30 PM ET on Tuesday afternoon. (#101 occurred outside the White House, when federal law enforcement attacked a group of protestors and journalists with tear gas, allowing the president a clear path to walk to a photo opportunity in which he held a Bible in front of St. John’s Church.) A story on Bellingcat’s site, “U.S. Law Enforcement Are Deliberately Targeting Journalists During George Floyd Protests,” provides more insight into some of the incidents, and notes:
Although in some incidents it is possible the journalists were hit or affected accidentally, in the majority of the cases we have recorded the journalists are clearly identifiable as press, and it is clear that they are being deliberately targeted. This pattern of violence against journalists is replicated in several cities, but appears most intense in Minneapolis.
The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker counts 192 total press freedom violations, which it categorizes like this:
You can see our spreadsheet tracking this data below. Please note these are preliminary numbers, so please let us know if anything is accidentally mischaracterized! (Also, some journalists were assaulted multiple ways.) https://t.co/73e9qJ0uLp
— U.S. Press Freedom Tracker (@uspresstracker) June 2, 2020
TWEET OF THE DAY Amber Ruffin writes, “Technically my profile picture IS a Black square.”
Technically my profile picture IS a Black square.
— amber ruffin (@ambermruffin) June 2, 2020
THE OBAMA PLAN Barack Obama wrote an essay on Medium Monday identifying a path forward for the country. ABC news reports:”Reform agendas will vary from place to place but should be tailored to each community and that it’s up to organizers to educate themselves of what strategies work best. “The more specific we can make demands for criminal justice and police reform, the harder it will be for elected officials to just offer lip service to the cause and then fall back into business as usual once protests have gone away,” he wrote.
Obama concluded his letter by acknowledging the pain in America, amid protests and a pandemic.
“I recognize that these past few months have been hard and dispiriting — that the fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and hardship of a pandemic have been compounded by tragic reminders that prejudice and inequality still shape so much of American life,” he wrote. “But watching the heightened activism of young people in recent weeks, of every race and every station, makes me hopeful.”
I wrote out some thoughts on how to make this moment a real turning point to bring about real change––and pulled together some resources to help young activists sustain the momentum by channeling their energy into concrete action. https://t.co/jEczrOeFdv
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 1, 2020
Be safe out there folks.