What Happened In Portland Could Happen Anywhere. Here’s What To Know

During a peaceful march on Tuesday evening in New York City, an unmarked Kia minivan pulled up alongside protesters before random men in NYPD T-shirts, khaki shorts, and sneakers jumped out to grab 18-year-old Nikki Stone, dragging her into the van.

The protestors went mad, charging the white van, trying to rescue the girl. One bystander yelling, “What the f— is wrong with you pigs?”

Video of the incident went viral, racking up over a million views.

AOC went off. The New York congresswoman tweeted, “Our civil liberties are on brink. This is not a drill. There is no excuse for snatching women off the street and throwing them into unmarked vans.”

She’s right: Unmarked cars, clandestine arrests, nameless officers—oh, my! 2020 has taken a hard left (or right), and it’s all very sketchy.

Who Had Clandestine Cops On Their 2020 Dystopia Bingo Card?

Clandestine state law dogs and federal tactical teams have been targeting protesters in major cities, seizing people and using force without identification or markings. Portland has taken center stage, as videos of shadow officers striking, grabbing, and gassing citizens have gained national attention.

These covert acts by law enforcement raise a host of issues that impact your constitutional rights—primarily the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and state constitutions says you have the right not to be searched or seized by law enforcement unless they have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. This requires more than a hunch or suspicion. Probable cause is about having articulable facts.

Basically, the Fourth Amendment means five-O needs concrete info to justify ransacking your stuff or hauling you away in handcuffs. Boundaries aren’t just the cornerstone of mature relationships, but also a functioning democracy. (Quote me on that.)

This has been the law for centuries. But even though the agents know the law, they may not always abide by it. Law enforcement is usually backed by the powers that be, so they rarely suffer any consequences for violating your rights.

In his spirited testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General William P. Barr (the nation’s top cop) agreed that your Fourth Amendment rights must be protected—but he also made clear that he’s not backing down from sending agents into cities to aggressively police protesters.

You may be seeing more law enforcement soon. In fact, since sending agents into Kansas City and Portland in early July, the Trump Administration announced last week that it was dispatching officers into other major cities, claiming that federal troops are necessary to combat “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.” 

Sounds scary, right? Fortunately, criminologists confirm that we shouldn’t be sounding the alarm, as crime isn’t a big issue.

Across the board, crime rates are lower than they were last year. This recent spike in crime is a product of governors lifting the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders—basically inviting people to return to their typical shenanigans, which unfortunately includes crime.

Don’t let the fear-mongering get you. Even though crime isn’t something you should necessarily be concerned about right now, it is imperative to protect your constitutional rights by continuing to protest.

“A lot of people got scared off of joining the march after cops grabbed protestors, but that’s exactly when people should gear up and join in,” says a 30-year-old writer who attended Tuesday’s march in Manhattan. The avid social justice warrior, who prefers to remain unnamed, noted, “You have to operate from a cautious optimism: prepare for the worst but hope for the best.”

Stone likely hoped for the best upon being seized Tuesday by the unmarked officers. After spending the night in police custody, Stone was told that the NYPD arrested her for allegedly destroying surveillance equipment. We’ll have to see how those charges play out in court.

In the meantime, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio indicates that he doesn’t want what happened in Portland to happen in his city, adding, “I think it was the wrong time and the wrong place to effectuate that arrest” of Ms. Stone.

Whether or not you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, know your rights and continue to unapologetically exercise them. No one needs the final stretch of 2020 to end with dystopia.

Images: Spencer Platt/Getty Images; Naddleez/Twitter

What Type Of Activist Are You: Weekly Horoscopes June 8-11

If you’re like me, your feed has been flooded with opportunities to get involved in the cause of social justice lately. (If not…get a new feed.) People across the country have marched, defied curfews, written letters, donated, marched some more, and even offered to send nudes, all for the cause of human rights. With so many options for how to get involved with the cause of police reform, it can be hard to figure out what direction to go. Luckily, each zodiac sign has its own strengths it can bring to the cause of social justice to help them be a better activist. Because we all have to be activists now, btw. Apathy isn’t cute.

Aries – The Leader

Fiery Aries has no problem activating “get sh*t done mode,” or leading a dedicated team to victory. You’re the one who is organizing friends to go to the march and making sure everyone has their cell phone charged, water bottle, emergency phone numbers, and alphabetized list of call-and-response chants you printed. Just remember, if you’re a white ally it’s best not to actually lead those chants yourselves. It’s a bad look.

Taurus – The Low-Key Changemaker

Movements can take a long time to actually see change (the Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 382 days!), but luckily, like with everything else, Taurus is in it for the long haul. Taurus has the determination to do the less glamorous work of activism, like writing their city councilman, calling their state senators, and showing up (either in person or by mail) in every damn election they can. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Gemini – The Great Debater

Gemini are known for their amazing communication skills, so they’re the ones most likely to be taking on the delightful task of having hard conversations around race with friends, family, and the occasional stranger on Instagram. Gemini’s superpower is translating complex ideas into more digestible ones, and your genuine love of debate means you actually have the stamina to continue the conversation until Aunt Elaine kind-of-sort-of sees why “all lives matter” is an unnecessary statement. Baby steps.

Cancer – The Group Mom

Cancers are the caregivers of the zodiac, and feel most fulfilled when they are directly helping their fellow humans on the ground. Given that hugs are kind of not a thing right now, you’re the person handing out water bottles to protesters or opening your doors to marchers who need to refuel and recharge. And yes, you are more than happy to share your homemade protest trail mix recipe with the group.

Leo – The Public Relations Master

Leos know a thing or two about the spotlight, and you’re using your expertise to shine it on Black voices and racial injustice. You’re the most likely to be using your social media to amplify the message of the movement, and being very visible in your support for the cause without fear of losing followers or “messing up your brand.” (Ew.) If a follower can’t handle you at your “Black lives matter” they don’t deserve you at your “check out this cute picture of a dog.”

Virgo – The Smart One

Meticulous Virgo is all about solving problems, so you’ve already probably started educating yourself on the nitty gritty of police reform, local and federal legislation, and the entire history of policing in the United States. It’s been a week. You’re that friend who knows all the legislation that’s on the table and what people are saying about it, from the new Justice and Policing Act of 2020, to the 8 Can’t Wait campaign and 8toAbolition. Oh, and did I mention you can recall important statistics about racial inequality in policing at the drop of a hat? What? Like it’s hard?

Libra – The Peacemaker

I mean, considering the symbol for your sign is literally the scales of justice, you’ve probably been pretty interested in what’s been going on in the world. Diplomatic by nature, you’re particularly gifted at helping bridge divides between people. Pair this up with the fact that you tend to be aesthetically minded, and you’re the sign most likely to be creating helpful, shareable infographics on social justice issues, like how to talk about systemic racism, or how to discuss the protests with Aunt Karen without going f*cking insane.

Scorpio – The Truth Seeker

Scorpios are natural truth seekers and are always asking questions. Recent events might have you going back and re-learning history that was taught to you wrong, or learning Black history that was never taught to you at all. You’re that friend who has low-key watched every social justice doc on Netflix and took all those “social justice book club” posts to heart. Just don’t forget to share what you’ve learned once you’re done!

Sagittarius – The Philosopher

Sagittarius is basically the wise old owl of the zodiac, so you’ve probably found yourself drawn to social justice TED Talks, writers like James Baldwin, and anti-racist activists like Audre Lorde. You’re the one sharing poignant quotes and helpful context on social media, while also basically teaching yourself your own little Racism 101 class at home. Hopefully you pay a little more attention than you did in college…

Capricorn – Mr. Moneybags

Known for their hard work and determination, Capricorns are a great ally to any cause. Also like, you write the checks. Capricorns are the most likely to have budgeted in space for charitable donations, meaning you’ve spent the last week putting your money where your mouth is. Literally. For those who don’t have the expendable cash right now (there is a pandemic, after all) Capricorns are also the most likely to organize fundraising efforts like GoFundMes and mutual aid efforts. And God forbid if you discover one penny out of line…

Aquarius – The Revolutionary

I mean, talk about the dawning of the age of Aquarius. You are a natural activist and the rebel of the zodiac, meaning you’ve probably been out on these streets since day one. You have no problem challenging the status quo (or your city’s curfew) to make your voice heard, and you are the sign most likely to engage in riskier forms of activism. So yeah, let’s hope that friend who always said they’d bail you out of jail actually means it.

Pisces – The Hugger

As the most sensitive and empathic sign in the zodiac, you’ve been deeply affected by the pain being expressed across the globe right now. You’re the sign most likely to express yourself through art or to write about your feelings and post about them online. Though please, no interpretive dance TikToks. It’s not needed.

Everyone Should Read Halsey’s Protest Tweets

We’ve reached the point where it’s basically a requirement that everyone acknowledges the current protests against police brutality on social media, and unsurprisingly, some are doing it better than others. While some Real Housewives (and a lot of people in Seth Rogen’s comment section) are clinging to their All Lives Matter bullsh*t, more and more people are interrupting the aesthetic of their grid to get mad about what is, and has for decades been, happening to black people in our country.

This goes for celebrities too. We’ve seen many sharing amazing, educational posts, and even joining the protests themselves. Halsey has definitely been one of the best celeb follows on Twitter recently, sharing personal protest stories, important safety information, and general thoughts about this current situation, and the larger issues that caused it, that everyone should read. Halsey has always spoken out about the issues and microaggressions she has faced as a biracial woman, while also acknowledging her privilege as a white-passing woman of color.

Whenever protests like this get a lot of attention, there are inevitably those who are critical of the methods used. It’s easy to suggest a peaceful protest when you’ve never actually had to protest for your own rights, and when you are not being antagonized by people who are not part of the peaceful protest. But if you’re a true ally, you know that it’s not your place to question or critique the response to pain you cannot understand.

if you are not black, you couldn’t possibly understand the grief, fear and anger of black people right now. don’t condem folks expressing their outrage. don’t tweet “what you would do” if it were you. because it’s not you. it never has been you. you don’t know. #BlackLivesMatter

— h (@halsey) May 29, 2020

it’s not black peoples’ job to educate you on how to not be a fucking racist. be a fucking grown up and a decent human being and let people focus their energy on their community not on babying you. holy fuck.

— h (@halsey) May 29, 2020


It’s fine to have questions. It’s great to want to educate yourself. But right now isn’t the time to burden your black friend or coworker with the responsibility of explaining things to you. Read a book. Watch a documentary. Have conversations with allies in your life who have already done this work. There are many other ways to educate yourself.

Like many others, Halsey went out to protest this weekend in Los Angeles. But unfortunately things didn’t remain peaceful at these protests, and Halsey documented firsthand the unprovoked aggressive behavior of police officers toward protestors. On Saturday, after leaving the protest, she tweeted that she was not arrested, but had left because police were making arrests, and she was with people whose immigration status would be at risk if they were arrested.

I WAS NOT ARRESTED.

Im safe. There were ppl I had to get to safety as many of them have VISAs. Myself + many of my peers were shot, gassed + antagonized. The frontline was calm + did not provoke
BUT MANY ARE NOT SAFE + MANY ARE IN CUSTODY
DONATE TO BAIL ORGS!!!
I AM CURRENTLY
— h (@halsey) May 31, 2020

While she was safe, she reiterated that many others “were shot, gassed + antagonized,” despite the protestors remaining calm and not provoking the police. Judging from videos of protests in different cities, unprovoked aggression seems to be a common theme at these protests, and Halsey experienced the same thing the very next day.

On Sunday night, Halsey posted more tweets about “the horrors” of the protesting experience, saying that the National Guard and the LAPD were firing rubber bullets into crowds of protestors kneeling peacefully. She stressed that people are getting seriously injured, and there aren’t enough people with medical training to help them out. This sounds like something you would expect in a war zone, but not in the streets of Santa Monica.

I dont know how to articulate the horrors of today. NG + officers firing rounds into kneeling crowds. We dont have enough medics on the ground on our side. I was treating injuries I am not qualified to. So much blood spilled. If you have med training pls go + standby outskirts.

— h (@halsey) June 1, 2020

fired rubber bullets at us. we did not breach the line. hands were up. unmoving. and they gassed and fired. pic.twitter.com/K8YauF0APn

— h (@halsey) May 31, 2020

 

She also posted several photos and videos of police officers moving toward peaceful protestors and tear gas exploding in the middle of the street. While Halsey wasn’t injured, she warned about the danger of rubber bullets, saying that she “had to bandage a man who looked like his entire face had exploded today.” She specifically directed this point at people who think the protestors are exaggerating, or that the police aren’t contributing to the violence here.

do not underplay these rubber bullets bc you have been told they are “not lethal”. I had to bandage a man who looked like his entire face had exploded today. So before you say, from the comfort of your home, that we’re exaggerating, please consider the injuries some have suffered

— h (@halsey) June 1, 2020

She also called out non-black people at the protests, saying that “allies are there to help when help is needed. Not take control of the narrative.” On my own social media feeds, I’ve seen many white people wondering how they can get involved without overstepping their boundaries, and this is an easy way to boil it down: just listen.

And fucking listen to the black people speaking. You are not there to speak over them. If they are venting their pain and anguish out loud do not speak over them. Allies are there to help when help is needed. Not take control of the narrative. there’s enough of that already.

— h (@halsey) June 1, 2020

And it seems like this should go without saying, but if you see Halsey, or any other public figure, out at a protest, don’t f*cking ask for a picture.

don’t even ask me, I won’t say yes. that’s not what this is about.

— h (@halsey) May 30, 2020

Is it great that celebs are out there getting involved? Absolutely. But a protest is not a meet-and-greet, this is f*cking serious.

Halsey gets this, and because of her posts, there’s no doubt that she’s helped many other people start to understand this situation better. Her dedication to giving her millions of followers a real look at what’s happening right now is so necessary, and I hope her followers are listening.
Images: JStone / Shutterstock.com; halsey / Twitter

Scenes From The Protests Against Police Brutality That Every American Needs To See

Trigger Warning: Violence, Explicit Language, Police Brutality

If you’re paying even a tiny bit of attention to the world around you, you’re probably aware of the protests spanning the nation over the past two weeks. These protests were sparked by public outrage over the graphic murder of George Floyd. However, they take place with the backdrop of a global pandemic that has disproportionately killed Black people, who are often quite literally sickened by America’s systemic racism. The protests also follow the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Both instances only came to national attention months after they’d taken place, with no evidence perpetrators would have faced consequences otherwise. Indeed, Breonna Taylor’s killers are still free. 

View this post on Instagram

From all walks of life. From every race, gender and nationality: the people of this city are what truly makes it such a beautiful place. And in solidarity, we continue to peacefully protest in the tens of thousands in support of #blacklivesmatter. ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Photo by @lauraskills

A post shared by New York City by Liz Eswein (@newyorkcity) on

A second weekend of protests remained largely peaceful with seemingly fewer violent clashes with police and incredible scenes of peace and solidarity around the country.  But throughout the first week of June, militarized police forces and curfews that criminalized simply being outside resulted in thousands of arrests and countless accounts of police misconduct during what were initially peaceful demonstrations.

These scenes unequivocally show how police have continued to act violently and dangerously, even at peaceful protests… peaceful protests against police brutality and violence, no less. This is by no means a definitive list, but it should be a wake-up call that we are far from where we need to be as far as justice, progress, and equality are concerned.

A News Crew Flagged The Police To Stop Looters. They Handcuffed Black Community Members Instead.

This is one of the most absolutely insane moments I've ever seen on live television. pic.twitter.com/Uvzig8YGSa

— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) June 2, 2020

In this video filmed in Los Angeles, some people are attempting to loot a number of local businesses, leading to a reporter attempting to flag down law enforcement to protect the store and stop the looting. Instead of arriving calmly to the scene and taking literally 30 seconds to listen to those involved and actually, IDK, do their jobs, the police seem to go straight for the Black community members who were trying to protect their community from looting and damage. The officers largely ignore the reporter who is trying to explain that the individuals being put in handcuffs did not instigate the situation. As drivers in the area become concerned for the protesters, several exit their vehicles. They also appear to be held by police. 

Law Enforcement Trap Protesters On Highway Embankment While Launching Pepper Spray

While this video looks like a scene out of a movie about the end of the world, it was actually taken in Philadelphia and couldn’t be further from fiction. After a march was broken up by police officers spraying tear gas, protestors were forced to move up towards a highway. 17 seconds in, you can hear the unmistakable phrase we have become all too familiar with: “I can’t breathe.”

Park Police Push Through Allies

BREAKING. Some protesters have jumped the gated barrier at Lafayette Park. US Park Police push them back. The White House is behind the US Park Police l & the Secret Service. @MSNBC @nbcwashington #GeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/RzJgnvv7Vq

— Shomari Stone (@shomaristone) May 31, 2020

Here, park police in DC rush a Black protester who is kneeling with his arms up. Another person who is clearly aware of their privilege joins him, trying to act as a barrier between him and the police. Despite his overwhelmingly non-aggressive actions, a group of officers rush them, forcibly pushing them back and forcing the protester to stand up. The young man’s name is Monte, and when questions were raised about the circumstances of the encounter, he shared additional footage showing an officer threatening to “hurt” him. 

Police Push Elderly Man To The Ground Who A Bleeds From The Head As They Walk Away

In this shocking scene, an older man can be seen approaching police, but clearly poses no threat. An officer shoves him violently, causing him to lurch backwards several feet before falling to the ground with great force directly on his head. The 75-year-old man, later identified as Martin Gugino, instantly bleeds from the head. The officers ignore him as bystanders plead to get him medical attention. Gugino was hospitalized with a head injury. Both officers involved have been charged with assault. They have plead not guilty.

Man Opens Door To Protesters To Protect Them From The Police

@ABC7Kristen asked Rahul Dubey "what made you open your door and say 'get inside?'"
He describes the chaos, tear gas and pepper spray. pic.twitter.com/2t3MHaFDzu

— Adrianna Hopkins (@AdriannaHopkins) June 2, 2020

Heavy law enforcement presence throughout American cities didn’t just intimidate protesters. Residents in communities where protesters were cornered and threatened were so concerned for their safety that they sheltered them in their homes. A man in DC opened his doors to close to 100 protestors who were blocked in the area by police spraying tear gas and pepper spray. The man in the video explained that there was a “human tsunami” and recounted seeing police wands and batons out. 

President Trump Forces Tensions Between Police And Protesters So He Can Walk Across The Street For A Picture

As I’m sure most of us are aware, the President of the United States will do quite literally anything for a photo op. Last week, tear gas and flash grenades were released on protestors to clear a path so that Trump could have a 17-minute photoshoot on his walk to the church. Trump has not even attempted to appear like he gives a sh*t about the Black Lives Matter movement, George Floyd, or the systemic racism in our country. The result: a picture of him holding the bible the same way someone would carry a bag of dog sh*t.

The building, the St. John’s Episcopal Church, had been damaged in unrest nights earlier. Rev. Mariann Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said she was not notified of the photo op and denounced the president for using the church as a prop.

NYPD Arrest New Yorkers Sitting On Their Stoop After Curfew

In this scene shared to Twitter by singer/songwriter Shaina Taub, she and her boyfriend are arrested while supporting peaceful protesters from their stoop. As law enforcement takes a man away, bystanders state with alarm that he lives in the building (cops have often attempted to storm city buildings where residents have sheltered protesters. see above.) Taub notes she was arrested with an essential worker grabbed from his bike and detained before he could show officers a note from his employer allowing him to earn a living this week.

last night my husband and I got arrested on the stoop of our building on the UWS just after 8 pm. we were cheering on a peaceful protest on our block. this was my small visceral window into the police brutality black folks have experienced for centuries. #DefundThePolice pic.twitter.com/SIbMxgekwi

— Shaina Taub (@shainataub) June 5, 2020

Police Trap Peaceful Protesters On Manhattan Bridge

 

Multiple times this week, law enforcement has implemented a “kettling” strategy, which means they literally wrangle protests like cattle into tight spaces to contain them. Not only does this force large groups into small spaces (during a pandemic, no less), but it also leaves protesters vulnerable to stampede, medical emergencies, dehydration, and more. Kettling also allows officers to make mass arrests, forcing hundreds if not thousands of peaceful protesters into an already crowded jail system during a global pandemic.

Groups Of White Men Roam Philadelphia With Baseball Bats

There are now two all white armed vigilante groups roaming Fishtown with the blessing of the @phillypolice pic.twitter.com/csGWCDZ6Nw

— Josh Albert (@jpegjoshua) June 1, 2020

This horrific footage shows an all-white vigilante group roaming Philly’s streets with baseball bats and other weapons. They only got more aggressive when the group was met by a peaceful counter-protest of individuals, many of whom were holding signs that read, “I can’t breathe.” When the police were called to disperse the incident, they immediately moved towards the peaceful counter-protest instead of apprehending the white guys holding literal weapons. One reporter was attacked by the white group for filming the incident and posted the gruesome images on his Twitter.  

Police In Kansas City Attack, Tear Gas Peaceful Protesters

This is one of the most egregious ones of these I’ve seen, and that’s saying a lot https://t.co/pQgRsc0bzF

— Danny Gold (@DGisSERIOUS) June 2, 2020

This disturbing video was taken in Kansas City when cops rushed a Black man who was literally peacefully exercising his First Amendment rights. The officers spray him and a woman standing next to him with mace before three police officers grabbed the man and tackled him. Following this, officers began spraying the entire crowd with mace. 

Black Journalist Arrested For Doing His Job

Journalists nationally have been targeted by police for doing their jobs and reporting from massive protests. Many of us have seen the clip of Omar Jimenez, a Black man and a CNN reporter. Jimenez was arrested with his crew during the Minneapolis protest. In this video, cops were shooting rubber bullets at Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for NBC’s Louisville affiliate station. 

Young Man Begs For Unity And Calls Police His Family. They Arrest Him.

View this post on Instagram

@pharaohalmighty This world breaks my heart everyday of how much hatred we have for one another on both sides of the field. “I Cry At Night Because I Feel Everyone’s Pain” Sometimes it feels like a movie to me and I just want people to understand each other, respect each other, and care for each other; because then and only then can we truly connect as one nation and move forward together to provide a better world for ourselves and for generations to come. We Can Do Make More Progress Together Than We Could Ever Do Alone ✊🏽💯🖤🙏🏼 #blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter #mylifematters #peacefulprotest #martinlutherking

A post shared by Pharaoh Almighty (@geejordan1221) on

Protesting in Charleston this week,  Givionne Jordan Jr., emotionally exercised his First Amendment rights. He literally said the words “I am not your enemy” and seems to have expressed no intention to incite any violence. Nonetheless, two minutes into the video Jordan was grabbed, arrested, and held overnight. Many on social media remarked they thought the office was approaching to grab Jordan’s hand, not detain him. 

A Night Of Mourning For George Floyd In Minneapolis

There also were moving images of healing and solidarity across the country reminding us of who we could be. Minneapolis residents defied the city’s curfew this week to hold an all-night vigil for George Floyd.

The motto “to protect and serve” seems to no longer hold any weight among police forces. While there are cops who don’t actively target BIPOC and aren’t outwardly racist, as we see in this video, there are far too many who sit idly by while their coworkers continue to prove that no progress has been made in the fights against racial injustice and police brutality. From where I stand, those sitting idly by are complicit in the violence and guilty of violating their sacred oath to “protect and serve.” 

As a white woman, I have an extremely limited ability to fully grasp these situations. My voice also has very little importance here. What these videos and images and situations like the ones depicted teach me is that it is not enough to post about racial injustice. It’s not enough to simply be against racism, we have to be better allies and we have to work at active, conscious anti-racism.

Donate to groups like Campaign Zero to fight to end police brutality.

To stay up to date on the protests, subscribe to the Sup newsletter.

7 Celebrities Who Have Joined The Protests

It’s been just over a week since George Floyd’s death, and millions of people across the country have used their voices to demand justice. There have been huge protests in every major city, and while some have broken out into violence, the vast majority have been peaceful demonstrations. It’s so important that we use our voices and platforms right now, and many celebrities have gone beyond just social media posts and joined the protestors in the streets.

Ariana Grande

hours and miles of peaceful protesting yesterday that got little to no coverage.
all throughout beverly hills and west hollywood we chanted, people beeped and cheered along.
we were passionate, we were loud, we were loving.
cover this too please. #BLACKLIVESMATTER https://t.co/vD90CEtF94 pic.twitter.com/GZ6uKDfPM7

— Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) May 31, 2020


On her social media, Ariana Grande highlighted the peaceful protest on the west side of LA over the weekend. She shared photos from Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, pointing out that, compared to more violent incidents, this peaceful demonstration got “little to no coverage.” When all you’re seeing on the news are images and videos of looting and fires, it’s easy to think that all the protests end up in violence. That’s not true, and the fact that Ariana Grande is showing a peaceful protest to her 74 million Twitter followers is huge.

Tinashe

Show up pic.twitter.com/jl9fkEh4eU

— TINASHE (@Tinashe) May 30, 2020


If you noticed, Ariana Grande’s tweet about the protest she attended was in response to Tinashe’s thread, where she also posted pictures of a peaceful protest in Beverly Hills. She posted inspiring pictures of huge crowds gathering and marching in solidarity. As one of many artists who’s had to cancel tour dates due to COVID-19, she’s also encouraged her fans to donate their ticket refunds to important causes like bail funds.

Madison Beer

Madison Beer been outspoken about police brutality for years, and she’s been out protesting in LA multiple times in the last few days. While at the protest on Sunday, the group Madison was with got tear-gassed by police, despite the fact that they were being completely peaceful.

In addition to attending protests, Madison has been sharing lots of important information on her social media, including curfew information, numbers to call in case of unlawful arrests, and locations where police are using tear gas. In a post on her story, she acknowledged all the thanks she’s gotten for her work, but made it clear that “it should be expected.”

John Cusack

Cops didn’t like me filming the burning car so they came at me with batons. Hitting my bike.
Ahhm here’s the audio pic.twitter.com/tfaOoVCw5v

— John Cusack (@johncusack) May 31, 2020


John Cusack, who is a huge Bernie Sanders supporter and posts constantly about his progressive politics, joined protestors in Chicago on Saturday night. Judging from his tweets, things were mostly peaceful, but at one point he came upon a car that had been set on fire. When he started filming the car, police officers came toward him with batons, hitting his bike and screaming in his face. This short video of the encounter is terrifying, so I can only imagine what it was like to actually experience it. In another tweet, Cusack added that he “would be very surprised if this is a one or two day event,” and that it feels like “many streams of outrage coming to a head, a wave peaking.”

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to controversy lately, and despite joining protests over the weekend, she still got herself into hot water. She posted a series of images from the protests on her Instagram story, which is fine, but one of them was a video of a store being looted, in which people’s faces were clearly visible. This is the exact kind of thing you’re NOT supposed to post from a protest, and people understandably got very angry.

@LanaDelRey thank you for removing your post!!!!!!!!!!!

— TINASHE (@Tinashe) May 31, 2020


Lots of people tagged Lana on social media asking her to take the image down, which she did pretty quickly. An issue with posting pictures of videos of protests is that showing someone’s face could potentially lead to them getting arrested, deported, or otherwise targeted by law enforcement. It’s okay to make mistakes and learn right now, but everyone needs to be extremely careful about what they’re posting.

J. Cole

J. Cole has joined the protest in downtown Fayetteville, NC. So remember all the rappers who were out here donating and supporting when its time to buy albums. pic.twitter.com/OjJWRLFtJy

— OBJ said ask about him (@evelynvwoodsen) May 30, 2020


J. Cole has been out protesting in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina, along with NBA player Dennis Smith. According to reports from those at the protest, they declined to do any interviews or take photos with fans, not wanting to pull any focus from the cause at hand. It seems like most celebs at that protests have done the same, and it’s great to see them just doing something because it’s the right thing to do. Also?? If you’re at a protest, it is NOT the time or place to try to take a selfie with a celeb for clout. Read the room.

Halsey

Halsey has done so much that she’s getting her own article, but we’d be remiss not to mention her here as well. She was at a peaceful protest over the weekend, when police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the crowd. She warned her followers about the danger of rubber bullets (which are way more intense than they sound), saying that she “had to bandage a man who looked like his entire face had exploded today.”

fired rubber bullets at us. we did not breach the line. hands were up. unmoving. and they gassed and fired. pic.twitter.com/K8YauF0APn

— h (@halsey) May 31, 2020


These are just some of the celebrities who have gotten out to join the protests recently, and surely this list will continue to grow this week. We’re at a major moment in this movement, and it’s more important than ever that we all show our support in whatever way we can. Whether this means attending a protest, making a donation, or working to educate yourself and become a better ally, we all have to do something.

Images: DFree / Shutterstock.com; arianagrande, tinashe, johncusack, evelynvwoodsen / Twitter; madisonbeer, halsey / Instagram

UPDATED: No Charges Filed Against A White Man Who Killed A Black Protester This Weekend

UPDATE: There may still be justice for James Scurlock. On Wednesday, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced that a Grand Jury will be convened to investigate Scurlock’s death, and decide whether charges should be filed against Jake Gardner. Kleine’s announcement on Monday that no charges would be filed was met with heavy criticism from Scurlock’s family and the Omaha community, and received national attention. While Kleine maintains that he “would not change” his decision based on current evidence, he said in a press conference that he is “not afraid of having a decision that I’ve made reviewed by others.”

Over the weekend, thousands of people protested across the country in response to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. While most of the protests began peacefully, some escalated into dangerous scenes. On Saturday night, 22-year-old James Scurlock was shot and killed by bar owner Jake Gardner in Omaha’s Old Market neighborhood.

On Sunday, it was reported that Gardner, who hadn’t been identified publicly at the time, was in police custody and being questioned in connection with Scurlock’s death. In a Monday afternoon press conference, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine announced that no charges will be filed against Jake Gardner. While Kleine called Scurlock’s death “so senseless,” he said that based on video evidence, they have determined that Gardner acted out of self-defense.

Based on a video that was shown at the press conference, it appears that Gardner became involved in an altercation with a group of protestors (including James Scurlock) in front of his bar. At some point during this time, he fell to the ground, at which time he fired his gun twice, hitting Scurlock. After more of a struggle, he fired a third, fatal shot. Some outlets have reported that, before shooting Scurlock, Gardner directed racial slurs at him. In his press conference, Kleine urged anyone with further evidence to come forward, but reiterated that based on current evidence, he’s unable to press charges against Jake Gardner.

BuzzFeed News reported that witnesses said the man who shot #JamesScurlock used racial slurs before firing, and that Jake Gardner had a history of racist and bigoted behavior. https://t.co/QOJalUR1bk

— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 1, 2020

When asked why a manslaughter charge is not being pursued in this case, Kleine said that the issue lies with whether there was “justification” for the killing. While questions remain about what happened moments before the 22-year-old was shot, there’s only one person who fired a gun and killed another person. This suggestion of “justification” implies that killing someone is an appropriate response an uncomfortable situation or altercation — an issue at the heart of the protests themselves.

It’s an alarming thought, and I can’t help but think that the decision may not have gone this way if this was a case of a black man shooting a white man.

On Sunday, Scurlock’s father spoke to the press, saying that “Last night I lost a son, my wife lost a son, my kids lost a brother. His daughter lost a father. All because he decided to protest against racism. There’s a lot of speculation and rumors about how this happened. I don’t really care to be honest. My family wants closure and peace. What we want is for this to go to court and get a full prosecution. We want this to go with justice and go peacefully.”

Sadly, Scurlock’s family won’t get a full prosecution at this time, but his name won’t soon be forgotten by the protesters in Omaha and around the country. Protests in response to the court’s decision are expected in Omaha today, and as word of this situation spreads across social media, demonstrators in other cities are likely to add James Scurlock’s name to the list of reasons why these protests are so important.

SHUTTERSTOCK

The Most Ironic Signs At Social Distancing Protests

As you may have heard, some people are getting sick of social distancing. Well, I mean, we all are, for the most part, but some people are so tired of it that they are gathering to protest.

Across the country last week, people gathered in places like Michigan, Ohio, and D.C. in protest of the shutdowns, aka breaking social distancing rules and sharing germs in the middle of a pandemic, all in the name of freedom and our right to hang out at Outback Steakhouse.

It’s important to note that a majority of Americans are not on the street violating social distancing guidelines to protest stay at home orders. Polling shows that most Americans are in favor of extending social distancing protocols as long as experts advise, and curves throughout the country show such measures are working.

In short, we have the right to gather and protest, it’s just not the wisest tactic right now, given the circumstances. And neither is reopening things. These are short term releases and solutions for a long time problem. While I understand people’s frustration and sympathize with those who need work to survive rn, it is hard to feel bad for some of the people who held up signs that were problematic at best, and absolutely toxic and f*cking stupid at worst. Here are some of the most unforgivable signs from the social distancing protests.

Ah yes, the best way to protect the vulnerable is to bring a child to a crowded space during a global pandemic.

Mmmmmm…what?

The mental gymnastics for this is outside of my athletic abilities.

White people using references to slavery in the US to describe their current situation of politely being asked to stay at home for a bit?  We absoluteeeeeeelyyyyyyy hate to see it.

Again. Let’s maybe not compare this to slavery. 

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” – D*nald Tr*mp

Conservatives: Maybe you should have used protection

Also conservatives: pic.twitter.com/geelTRbE26

— The Betches Sup (@Betches_Sup) April 19, 2020

Liberty is kinda futile when you’re dead, no?

Well, in that case shut it down!!!! People are dying, but *this* woman wants a haircut!!!!  

then pick up some scissors Karen! no one should have to risk their health and families for your bob upkeep https://t.co/Qap1RyBOgZ

— 🌘 STINK 🦇 (@cethsain) April 21, 2020

Op, looks like they’re down with socialism. Let’s draw up the paperwork and get this party started!

Well, thanks to #COVID19, the absurdity has now come full circle. After years of US right-wingers smearing Sweden as a radical feminist, globalist, cultural Marxist, Islamist-loving hellhole…Trump's MAGA army are now holding up signs reading "Be Like Sweden!" pic.twitter.com/7gkTW7ApfL

— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) April 18, 2020

I….

For anyone who doesn't think the protests are about privilege…#COVIDIOTS pic.twitter.com/PfAkCd6ZeG

— ProVaxx Mom says Stay the F home! 🏡👩‍💻 (@ProVaxx2) April 19, 2020

Just gonna leave this one here.

It's a wee bit ironic, he's in scrubs and she's hanging out the passenger side of her best friend's ride trying to holler pic.twitter.com/T2g2UeafA8

— shawn (@nwahs086) April 21, 2020

(Image: Alyson McClaren)

 

These McDonald’s Workers Are The Real #MeToo Heroes

If you were craving a Big Mac on Tuesday in Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Kansas City, Missouri you were probably only able to get a supersized side of #MeToo. That’s because McDonald’s employees staged a walkout to protest sexual harassment in the work place. It’s no shocker that McDonald’s working conditions are less than ideal, but the mega-corporation has had multiple sexual harassment complaints filed and nada has been done about it.

WTF MacDos?

Low wage workers are especially susceptible to sexual harassment in the work place, that’s no secret. Often workers choose to keep quiet because they need the income and can’t risk losing their jobs by reporting incidents. Female McDonald’s employees say they have been groped, propositioned, and dealt with inappropriate behavior too many times to count. Luckily women don’t put up with that sh*t anymore and female workers have been filing complaints with some lawsuits pending. Workers still feel that policies have not been changed, so they took off their golden arch uniforms and are taking to the streets.

^^ probable instance of McDonald’s harassment caught on tape

Why This Is V Important?

The protest organizers are saying this is one of the first multi-state protests of its kind against sexual harassment in the workplace. The Mc Pick Two Me Too movement has primarily been an elite movement. That’s the diplomatic way of saying that only financially stable and usually white women have been the ones speaking up. Fair because the movement did start in Hollywood, but this protest marks a turning point where everyday Americans are participating. Finally people are forced to acknowledge that sexual harassment is everywhere, not just in Hollywood (or possibly the Supreme Court.)

Not only are McDonald’s employees making history with their widespread protest, but they are coming up with some of the best protest chants to date! Protesters in St. Louis chanted, “Hold your burgers, hold your fries. Keep your hands off my thighs.” Actually amazing. Other protesters have incorporated the golden arches into “M” of #MeToo and a spokesperson said that sexual harassment is no longer on the menu. All joking aside this is a v important cause and maybe Americans will finally listen when it means they can’t go get a McFlurry. Change is on the horizon and hopefully people keep speaking up, marching, and real change will happen.

Heads up, you need to keep up with the news. It’s not cute anymore. That’s why we’ve created a 5x weekly newsletter called The ‘Sup that will explain all the news of the week in a hilarious af way. Because if we weren’t laughing, we’d be crying. Sign up for The ‘Sup now!