I’ve lost count of what day of the protest it is, I only know that it is thriving in my city and it is welcome on my doorstep, where it arrives nearly nightly. There’s a constant, low drubbing of helicopters, streets are routinely rigged with spike strips, and my neighborhood has been littered with undercover cops who do a very poor job of blending in. Their comrades in uniform have been equally shameful in their ability to keep their composure, openly agitating marchers, ripping them off of their bicycles, launching tear gas without provocation, and peppering the crowd with rubber bullets while the crowd is literally on their knees chanting hands up, don’t shoot.
On her way to deliver supplies to a peaceful protest, a young woman in my neighborhood was accosted at gunpoint by police, brutalized and humiliated, and held without charges overnight. The clothing she wore to protect herself from aforementioned tear gas and rubber bullets was dubbed “riot gear” and used as justification for her unlawful detention. She was taken to a precinct on the opposite side of town from where she was arrested. Over 14 hours she was never read her rights and thus had no access to exercise them, including accessing an attorney.
A sheriff’s deputy openly assaulted one of the leaders of a major nonviolent march in our city, live on video, breaking from his line and barreling directly for this black man, club raised, with no concern for how many cameras were on him. This organizer was also held with no charges and the sheriff refused to reveal where he was being held or why. Despite this open act of agitation by a uniformed officer, the march still remained peaceful—and continued for hours more. One leader being detained can’t stop this movement. Because everyone in this movement is a leader. Everyone in this movement is the future. And there aren’t enough police on earth to suppress the future’s arrival.
So if you are a white person like me, you have a duty to stand up with and for our black neighbors during this moment, otherwise you too are complicit. Your silence perpetuates the violence. Your heart may be in the right place, but as it is an organ locked deep inside your body, it really can’t do much good for the rest of the planet if you take no further action than your thoughts and your prayers.
It is our responsibility as white people to become educated and remain informed, to humble ourselves fully to this movement, to participate in honest truth and sincere reconciliation, and to use our inherent socioeconomic privilege to help dismantle a system that does not work so that it can be rebuilt for the benefit of all people. Take it from me, an end times blogger: our planet’s not worth saving if it is not made safe and hospitable for all its citizens.
You have four tools to be of service: your Time, your Voice, your Resources, and your Vote. Picking one of them is not enough. You must do something in all four of those categories. If you can’t be in the streets, then write checks to fund the organizers, supply legal relief, and empower black-led community leagues to advance policy changes successfully. If you can’t write checks, write letters to the people you know of means who can, write to your elected officials, write to your appointed chiefs and attorneys. Sign every petition you can. Have some tough conversations with other “good” white people you know who are standing by and doing nothing.
Work now. Weep later. And vote in November.