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I was scrolling through my Instagram stories when I watched Winston Duke’s brief video, which he posted Friday night at about 10pm EST. It moved me and I wanted to talk about it. At that point we were watching protesters clash with police after peaceful protests of George Floyd’s murder had turned to riots and destruction in cities throughout the US. People are fed up with the police targeting and murdering people of color. I still remember the riots in ‘92 after Rodney King’s beating was caught on tape. It’s been almost 30 years and not much has changed except police brutality has gotten worse, more black Americans are incarcerated, more prisons are privatized, and the president is a white supremacist telling police, the military and his racist followers to target people of color. At least we can now record and share footage of the unlawful arrests and murders, but the more we see the more hopeless and systemic it feels.
I’m so upset by the violent treatment of protesters, and my stomach hurts and I’m having trouble sleeping. However I can leave my house and not have to worry. I can travel without looking up whether people will treat me poorly in that area. I don’t have to coach my son how to act with police. He can get up in their faces and challenge them, and so can I, with hardly any repercussions. We can call the police when we need them and not have to worry that they’ll treat us like criminals. So when Winston tells people to guard their hearts and protect their mental health, he’s talking to the people who are living under this weight every day, and who feel it now more than ever. Here’s what he said:
It’s been a very heavy week on all of us. Just remember to keep working through. Prioritize progress. Make sure you keep working on your own self growth, you protect yourself, protect your energy, protect your heart, protect your soul, protect your mind. You need all your faculties at this time. Prioritize mental health. Prioritize progress, whatever that means to you. Make sure you focus on that.
I’ve heard that people are afraid to leave their homes, that they need to take mental health days from work, and that they can’t sleep. I wish this national nightmare would end and we would finally have fair, competent leadership again, but more than that I wish this wasn’t all on the people affected by racism to silently take it. This isn’t the protesters’ fault, they’re asking for basic civil rights and the right to feel safe in their homes. The police, government and court system have been destroying communities from the inside for decades. Plus there are so many reports that white supremacist organizations are coming in to destroy property and agitate people, so it can conveniently be blamed on peaceful protesters. The chief of police of Atlanta confirmed that it’s happening in her city and I’ve seen footage from other cities where it’s happening and protesters are trying to stop it.
He also wrote a statement on how we can contribute:
I know that a lot of us may be feeling helpless and/or unsure how to positively participate. Donating to frontline organizers and bail funds is particularly encouraged right now. Bail support is needed because police are arresting protesters and taking them to overcrowded facilities, some of which have confirmed Covid-19 cases
Winston shared these links to donate to help bail out protesters out. I’m including his tweet with the screenshots below and here are the links:
Help protesters post bail in NYC
Support frontline organizers in Minneapolis
Donate to Reclaim the Block
Donate to the North Star Health Collective
Thread of bail funds across the country
New York: https://t.co/KC7LJL9wkX
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) May 31, 2020
Chrissy Teigen has said that she’s donating to bailouts too, but I wanted to focus on Winston because he had more practical advice and I’d rather listen to him any day.
In celebration of whatever the fuck maga night is, I am committed to donating $100,000 to the bail outs of protestors across the country.
— chrissy teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 30, 2020
Stop telling people protesting, specifically these young Black kids, to register vote instead of raising up. They are registering the pain, frustration, anger, and angst that their votes have ignored.
— Tarana (@TaranaBurke) May 30, 2020
Thanks VV for alerting me to this tweet:
Torn between needing to stay present and connected so that I know exactly what’s going on & needing to unplug to catch my breath because I am extremely overwhelmed
— aaliyah (@notevenalli) May 29, 2020
CALL TO ACTION pic.twitter.com/ISc5OLgYWf
— Winston Duke (@Winston_Duke) May 30, 2020
photos credit: Avalon.red and WENN