Community: Meet a Black Activist in Chicago, IL
Interviewer: Derrik Chen; June 5, 2020
Interviewee's name has been removed for privacy.
Protestors stand in solidarity at a Black Lives Matter protest (Variety).
What were powerful moments for you in BLM protests?
It was powerful seeing everybody come together to support BLM, specifically people of all ages and backgrounds. The media doesn’t show a lot of the powerful moments of protests, such as when people were lying down, chanting “I can’t breathe!" It’s horrifying that the media only focuses on violence and nothing else because it alters the message of the movement. It’s horrifying that the media only focuses on violence and nothing else because it alters the message of the movement.
"It’s horrifying that the media only focuses on violence and nothing else because it alters the message of the movement."
How do you think people can more accurately portray protests?
I think that it’s concerning that my main source of information regarding the protests is from Twitter and other forms of social media. I think it's essential that people post more videos of police abusing protesters because it’s widespread but not many focus on the issue. The media is purposely choosing not to include videos of police inciting violence, which is altering the message of the movement and leading many to think the protesters are at fault for everything.
How can non-black people best engage in allyship and reporting?
Listen to black people and call out your racist friends/family. If non-black people attend protests, there are a couple of baseline rules. First, don’t start any violence because Black people will take the blame. Second, your job is not to be there to take pictures, it’s there to protest. Don’t try to get the glamour shot for your Instagram page. Lastly, stand between the police and protesters. Use your privilege to protect black people. There’s other things, but I think that these are some of the larger ones.
"Use your privilege to protect black people."
Show your support for black folk during times like these! Donate, sign petitions, and reach out to your black friends to see if they’re okay. It’s important to support one another in times like this.