Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Everybody's Got A Right To Live!

Join us on June 20 for the biggest digital event of the century! The Poor Peoples' Campaign--A National Call for Moral Revival will gather folks from all over to proclaim this is the year we will not forget those who are oppressed, those who are imprisoned unjustly, those who are struggling to simply survive in America 2020. Be there!  june2020.org

What "Kneeling" Offends You More?

Words fail at a time like this. How can one possibly write anything uplifting about another sadistic white cop killing a defenseless black man? So, this week we're sharing a variety of voices, memes and photos taken at a local police accountability rally to highlight the zeitgeist of America 2020. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but can a photo ever provide an adequate explanation of why We the People are being terrorized by overly militarized local police departments? Possibly nothing can, but the wealthiest classes seem to weaponize the cops as fast as they can get their failed banks bailed out by the government. 

For until we scrap the immoral system that helped create these monsters in uniform who murder their fellow citizens in cold blood, we can expect a lot more protests. We can expect more rioting. And scapegoating. And bloodshed. As the song says, it's going to be "a cruel, cruel summer."  And a long one at that.

Warning: If you're easily offended by Colin Kaepernick taking a knee at a football game to protest police brutality, it's guaranteed that you will be offended by some of the following words and images. If you scream "All Lives Matter!" but still don't give a shit about the plight of your brothers and sisters of color, then you're going to be highly offended by the following, because we're fixing to rain on your little racist parade. 

You know what? It's high time you were told to shove your "offense" up the back passage where your head currently resides. You're a part of the problem and not the solution. It's time you woke up to the harsh reality that is America for the majority of its inhabitants. Because any country that has the money and where-with-all to provide numerous armored Humvees and rubber bullets and tear gas to dozens of cities to shoot at peaceful protesters, but somehow doesn't have enough money to provide enough coronavirus testing and establish free health care during a pandemic, isn't "great" by any stretch of the imagination. It's time to burn those MAGAt caps and start working in harmony with your fellow human beings to build a better world.
This peaceful police accountability rally in Toledo, Ohio, would later turn into a short march through downtown streets where riot cops appeared out of nowhere to shoot tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and wooden plugs at protesters. Several were taken to local hospitals for head injuries, cuts and bruises. (first six photos by Adrian M.)
Police watched the proceedings from the top of surrounding buildings while drones buzzed the crowd while they were listening to area BLM activists. Witnesses said snipers were positioned atop the Lucas County courthouse opposite the "Safety Department" (a.k.a. Cop Shop) building as well.
After the rally speeches were over, the crowd started its march around the block, only to be confronted by riot police who tossed tear gas canisters into the marchers to disperse them.

Police drove into the crowd and divided them into smaller groups, scattering the marchers through nearby areas, mostly African-American neighborhoods.
Here's a protester's story about their photo (above):
"That's some serious gear for people marching through a neighborhood. I don't recall this being the standard gear when a bunch of white people showed up fully armed at the Statehouse, do you? And btw, this was taken as they started tear gassing and shooting pellets at everyone, AGAIN. I went to take video right after this photo and they threw tear gas directly at us. Needless to say I didn't get my video."

Protester Josh W. states:
"I began filming right after they were shooting randomly into the crowd. The abrupt end was when my hand holding my phone in front of my face was shot by the officers not even ten feet away. If you’re upset that I was yelling, pleading with the cops to stop, keep in mind I had just been shot three times with wooden/rubber bullets. I had been watching them shoot at people for no reason. I had just watched them shoot my friend in the back of the head with a rubber bullet while she was giving someone first aid and she had to go to the hospital to get ten staples!

I saw one cop car being vandalized by a white guy. Multiple black people stepped in to stop him. Every time anyone got really angry and picked something up to throw because they were being tear gassed and shot at, people stepped in to stop them. The police overreacted and escalated. They shot into the crowd. They shot at children. They shot people with their hands up, shot people in the back at point blank range. They were fully armored and I did not see one cop get hit with anything. None of us were armed or had armor on. They just opened fire with wooden and rubber bullets. They shot tear gas canisters at people. They hit my fiancé in the back with one. They shot people as they ran away."

Protester Sierra W. shares her story:

"I want to bring to light a few things that most likely none of you who just watched the live videos saw. Even if you did, I need to explain the unknown context. Things I experienced with my own eyes about the peaceful protest yesterday here in Toledo.

Around 4pm, the beginning of our March and Protest. We're chanting and walking. The first round of tear gas was thrown. I was far away from it, but people began running. In front of me were two women with their children, one in a stroller. They began running and I ran behind them, we were all just taking precaution and weren't hurt. We come up to the first police officers I had seen, standing their ground. Shields on, behind or near their vehicles, guns drawn. One of the women and I looked at each other with confusion and fear. People behind us are chanting, " HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT". I immediately put my hands out to cover their babies and stand in front of their stroller. "PLEASE DON'T SHOOT US. We are leaving," the woman said. The cop turns to us, gun still drawn. I yell, "They have children!" One of the four officers laugh and say. "Don't worry, I wasn't gonna shoot," as we pass by. That family was Black and we were running. We all worried... the tear gas was unprovoked.

As I make my way around the block to join the rest at the safety building, I notice above the line of officers, on top of the safety building, and behind us, on top of the jail, were 4 snipers- two on each building. At least one, gun drawn, ready to shoot. They had drones flying above us. As the protest went on, we Marched through the streets. We came up to the next blocking of officers. Some people threw water bottles. At this point, I only saw white individuals throwing them. POC immediately bombarded them. "STOP. THIS IS A PEACEFUL PROTEST". Followed immediately by "HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT." The first few police did nothing and let us pass. They looked away as I stared at them and passed with my sign and hands up. Within a mile of that walk tear gas was thrown again. Because we were going to close to their barrier and they wanted us dispersed and in a certain area. Our March split up at this point.

We come around eventually to a halt. Something clearly happened up the street after we split, which was later reported to be vandalism, again by a white individual, to a cop car. They got away as far as I know. Our crowd stopped in front of the waiting officers. We were across the street from them. Probably 40 to 50 feet away. A water bottle was thrown. Protesters yell, again, "STOP. THIS IS A PEACEFUL PROTEST". Followed immediately by "HANDS UP, DON'T SHOOT." The police did nothing. We stood there and kept chanting, trying to keep the peace. SWAT pulls around and we begin to disperse afraid of getting tear gassed. The front line protestors stayed, unafraid. Within minutes as SWAT was driving by, they threw off 3-5 rounds of tear gas and multiple wooden bullets. We dispersed and those of us who were far enough away to be unaffected began first aid to help relieve the burn of the tear gas on others. In this same moment a woman, who was peacefully holding her sign across the street, was shot by what was confirmed to be a wooden bullet at her leg. She needed immediate medical attention and couldn't walk. She did absolutely nothing. A group of protesters covered her as she began trying to crawl her way to safety. She got far enough away to meet a fireman who took her to get medical attention. She's okay now but is clearly shaken and didn't understand what she did wrong to get shot.

We began making our way back to the safety building. I was mainly lost from the crowd just finding protesters who might need water or help with relief from tear gas. A few things happen in the duration of this time, but I cannot speak on them as I was not there. At least two more incidents of tear gas. I don't know why. At least one time was reported by other protesters as unprovoked. Eventually the majority of us make our way back to the safety building. The first thing we do is reconvene and let the First Aid stand know what happened so they can begin making runs towards people who need more milk to relieve the tear gas. They also had free snacks and water. The people who didn't break took a knee in front of the line of police officers in front of the safety building. They were also protected by their gear, behind their cop cars, guns ready. We waited for the rest of the protesters to make their way to this spot and we cheered as they arrived.

It was peaceful. The worst that I experienced happen is a few water bottles were thrown and those people were yelled at to stop.

I witnessed it with my own eyes. I don't care what ANYONE says. We were ultimately peaceful. We had the support of our Mayor, Governor and other prominent community leaders to protest. Nothing we did, in my experience with the majority of the crowd deserved for anyone to be tear gassed or shot with rubber and wooden bullets. They feared us, and didn't even try communicating with us. I must ask: what might have happened if they joined us, asked what we wanted from them or took a knee with us. WHY did they tear gas and shoot when we were PEACEFUL.

I can admit some officers did absolutely nothing when this happened. And some of them reacted just from us marching forward past their boundary.

(This is before any rioting began and I left, so I cannot speak to that. But from what others have told me, the riot was induced by a firecracker being set off. At this point some military vehicles of some sort showed up. DeWine stated he would send the National Guard to help support the people. They stood against us. Just for some clarification.) I've never experienced anything like this in my life. I'm disappointed and outraged. If my experience alone doesn't explain why we protest, I don't know what much more can.

Let's not forget the fact that we were there to speak of Justice in the name of our Brother, George Floyd- MURDERED by a police officer. The police believe they have the control. They are taking our tax dollars and using it to tear gas and shoot us for demanding justice for our Black community.

That's all I have to say. PLEASE unfriend me if you cannot understand this. I don't want to argue anymore. My Black Brothers and Sisters are TIRED of explaining themselves. TIRED of living in fear. TIRED of losing their loved ones. I am TIRED of trying to understand and convince those who are ignorant to these facts. We might get tired, but we will still show up and do this work that so clearly needs to be done.

We were peaceful.
It was our constitutional right.
We were peaceful.
We were peaceful.
And WE still were attacked.
We still did not have the support of our police officers.
This is NOT power to the people.
We were peaceful."

Toledo Fire Chief Brian Byrd wrote this touching poem and posted it on Facebook, summing up his feelings as an African-American father:

Last night....
Last night my soul was torn....
Last night, as I do EVERY night, I faced the fact that I was a black man BEFORE becoming a civil servant.
Last night, as I do EVERY night, I faced the fact that I AM a black man WHILE I work as a civil servant.
Last night, as I do EVERY night, I had to face the fact that I WILL BE a black man AFTER I am a civil servant.
Last night...
Last night, I felt the same anger and rage over the very issues being protested...because those same recurring issues affect me, my sons, my family...
Last night, while trying to manage the chaos sparked by the same anger that I FEEL, I have to beg my son to not take part because I see the potential consequences of not only his actions, but the actions of others...as I watched the night unfold.
Last night, I had to balance the responsibility of my duty with praying that I don't see the face of my son looking at me in disappointment because I asked him not to participate...when he knows that I really want to stand beside him with my fist raised...because he knows that I know his pain.

And now a meme for those who are offended by those who shout "Black Lives Matters!"
From R.P.: "Anyone who continually tries to cover for the police's racist behavior is pretty much of the same mindset. They believe there are two levels of justice--one for white entitled people and one for everyone else. You can't win arguments with anyone who can't see their white privilege because they are steeped in the systemic racism of the predominant culture that glorifies white oligarchs and demonizes poor people of color."
From an anonymous Facebook post making the rounds:

"Imagine being pressed down onto concrete with a solid 200 lbs sitting directly on your neck. This man begged for his life. This grown man asked for his mom, for water, for mercy once he realized he was slowly being killed. His nose bled and he lost control of his bladder. Yet he remained trapped under the weight of the officer’s knee. In handcuffs crying because he could not breathe. Onlookers tried to intervene only to be threatened with pepper spray. Then he lost consciousness. 

 The weight of that knee stayed firm while a first responder demanded they check for a pulse. They refused. The weight stayed on his neck. Off duty medical personnel begged for the officer to get up. We watched a man being killed. For 10 agonizing minutes. 

Imagine dying that way.

His name is George Floyd. I understand people will dig through everything he’s done wrong in his life. I understand that people will roll their eyes at this. We will see his mug shot and he will become a villain. There is no crime that justifies this punishment. Whether he has a criminal history or mental health issues, there is no justification for this death.

The cop should be charged with murder."

The following is an eye-opening video. It's perfect for refuting the idea that it's only a handful of "bad apple" cops escalating the violence, because in reality there's an orchard full of rotten apples out there.

This short video will give you some hope: Flint, Michigan cops laid down their gear and started marching with protesters-- https://www.reddit.com/r/MadeMeSmile/comments/gttn56/cops_in_flint_laid_down_all_their_gear_and_start/

Related articles:

Colin Kaepernick is Paying the Legal Fees for  Protesters in Minneapolis

Top 6 Reasons Authorities Are Cracking Down Hard on Black Protesters While Treating White Supremacist Reopeners with Kid Gloves

Trump's "When The Looting Starts, The Shooting Starts" Is Classic Fascism, Classic Racism

A Journalist Blinded, A Child Maced and a Congresswoman Pepper Sprayed: Police Violence Explodes Across the Country

Police Violence in America: Six Years After Ferguson, George Floyd's Killing Shows Little Has Changed


From Color of Change:

Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman announced that Officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged for the murder of George Floyd.1 This is why folks protest. Because even when a violent murder of a Black person is captured on video by an officer with a long history of misconduct, public officials drag their feet in securing justice for our communities. 

Without the brave people of Minneapolis putting their lives on the line by hitting the pavement and protesting every single night, Derek Chauvin may have NEVER been arrested. Still, this announcement hardly goes far enough. The other three officers involved in the murder need to be held accountable as well.

This is why we are calling on County Attorney Freeman to hold ALL four officers, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng accountable for the murder of George Floyd. They ALL have a hand in George’s tragic death. 

Our communities are tired, outraged, and fatigued over police officers murdering Black people with impunity. This is why over 2 MILLION people have signed our petition demanding justice for George Floyd. The protesting and anger you see on TV is a direct response to the systemic failures that have plagued Black communities for decades. We did not create this problem. The police officers who abuse our communities and prosecutors who fail to hold them accountable created this problem. Time and again, justice is denied when killer cops are not charged, or even arrested for their misconduct.

It's time for a change. We can't give up. Let’s keep fighting.

Sign the petition demanding County Attorney Freeman to do more than just the bare minimum. All four officers must be charged NOW.

Until justice is real, 

-- Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Marybeth, Leonard, Madison, Cheryl and the rest of the Color Of Change team

1. "Former MPD Officer Derek Chauvin In Custody, Charged With Murder In George Floyd’s Death." CBS Minnesota News.


  1. Didn't Lincoln say "A house divided against itself cannot stand?" This is what I'm seeing here.

    1. I think you're right. We have a government that doesn't want its people to be safe in their own country, that doesn't care if we live or die (provided we show up to do our underpaid job and make big profits for the CEOs), that doesn't listen to our demands for health care, clean air and water, adequate education and recreation for all... The government has started a civil war against its own citizenry, only this time it's the entirety of the country (not just parts of it) and we vastly outnumber the government and their lackeys. These are "interesting times" indeed.


Please feel free to share your thoughts with us. Just one rule: Be polite. This means no profanity or cursing. No shaming or hate speech. No threats or silliness. This is a family friendly blog. Thank you.