GoFundMe has suspended Candace Owens’s fundraiser for an Alabama cafe whose co-owner criticized the George Floyd protests. The political commentator was also criticized while speaking about Floyd with Glenn Beck.
GoFundMe has suspended Candace Owens’s fundraiser for an Alabama cafe whose co-owner criticized the George Floyd protests. The political commentator was also criticized while speaking about Floyd with Glenn Beck.
Cities including New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Boston have answered calls to reduce police funding as Black Lives Matter protests continue.
It’s been over a month since Black Lives Matter protests started after the police killed George Floyd in May. Since then, protesters in Minneapolis were able to push the city council to disband the police department and begin to reimagine what their security systems will look like. But the protests — and the actions that have come out of them — are not isolated to the city where George Floyd was suffocated and killed: Across America, protesters have continued to demand that officials defund and abolish police forces and change the country’s systemized racism altogether. But one month of civil unrest later and it doesn’t seem that the movement to take action is slowing down by any means. On Monday, June 29, Democrats in Congress proposed legislation that aims to end excessive use of force by police, and get rid of protections that shield police officers who are accused of misconduct from being prosecuted. While laws that protect police officers have already been undone in places like New York, a federal law would be an expansive intervention in the way policing works across the country. In cities like Portland and Minneapolis, student-led campaigns have pushed public school boards to cut ties with the police and take officers out of schools. For Portland schools, that means freeing up $1 million to be used on much-needed social services and more.Despite individual wins and federal policy proposals, protesters and organizers in most cities are still fighting for officials to take real action around the main demand from protesters: defunding police departments and reallocating the funds to underfunded services like education and housing. In Seattle, New York, Baltimore, Portland, and elsewhere, budgets remain in the high millions and billions even after cuts that might seem substantial at first glance. In Seattle, for example, protesters rejected a recent proposal by Mayor Jenny Durkan to cut the police budget by $20 million, which would only be a 5% reduction in funding. And in Los Angeles, council members approved a budget cut of $150 million to LAPD’s $1 billion, still a small slash.Advocates are also asking for real change, rather than symbolic gestures. While officials like D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have named plazas in honor of Black Lives Matter and had “BLACK LIVES MATTER” murals and words painted on streets, activists have said and shown that they want much more than PR stunts that don’t provide any material change. Still, the ever-growing size of the movement has continued to ignite people’s passion to keep protesting and organizing for real justice.Most recently, protests have taken the form of staged sit-ins at government buildings in response to moves for reforms and adjusted budgets rather than defunding plans. In New York, protesters have camped out at City Hall, waging Occupy City Hall for more than a week, in an attempt to pressure de Blasio and other officials in charge of the budget to cut NYPD funds by at least $1 billion, and reallocate it to social services.On top of cutting the police budget, the DefundNYPD campaign also demanded the city not increase NYPD budget lines in 2021, that no new policing-related initiatives are created, and more budget transparency. On the day of the budget vote, June 30, those occupying City Hall in Manhattan stayed the whole night watching the budget meeting from screens outside, with many disappointed in the budget outcome that failed to cut the $1 billion demanded, provided $13 million to the NYPD for “Special Expense,” and further defunded necessary services like healthcare, affordable housing, and more.“The City Council failed New Yorkers today. Instead of shrinking policing, the Council moved cops from the NYPD to other agencies, refused to institute a hiring freeze on police and failed to take meaningful steps to shrink the NYPD’s massive and abusive presence in our communities,” Communities United for Police Reform said in a statement released on July 1 after the budget vote. “We will continue to fight for true justice for our communities, and for a budget that provides New Yorkers with the resources and services that we deserve.”In Philadelphia, protesters have similarly asked city officials to reallocate police budgets into community services, homeless services, and libraries by holding a sit-in at the Municipal Services Building. This came as a last-ditch effort after weeks of protests achieved only a 4.3% reduction in the Philadelphia Police Department’s proposed 2021 budget.Philadelphia has already proposed cutting the city’s $19 million increase to the police budget to $14 million. But according to Flan Park, an organizer in Philadelphia, this falls far short of what organizers demanded. Park said that allies called for at minimum, a $120 million reduction to PPD — an amount equivalent to the total increase to police operating budgets since the current mayor began his first term in office, while other coalition organizations called for things like a 50% reduction and immediate abolition of the police department.“Groups like Philly for Real Justice, Black Lives Matter Philly, and Black and Brown Workers Cooperative have been organizing around the connections between police brutality and economic injustice toward Black Philadelphians for years before this summer,” Flan says. “Their leadership has been pushing these issues for a long time. I don’t think that even a flat or no increase budget for the PPD would have happened this summer without years of groundwork coming to fruition as people rapidly mobilized. But this fight far from finished.”The protests and demands won’t be dying down anytime soon. Over the last month, there have been protests in every state in America, with protests in major cities spanning Seattle to New York continuing each day since May 29. What started as individual protests to call for justice for those killed by police — including George Floyd, Tony McDade, and Breonna Taylor — has quickly shifted into a nationwide movement to fundamentally end policing and transform communities. Kandace Montgomery, an organizer with MPD150 in Minneapolis, who has been pushing to defund the police for years, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that this moment feels different from the early days of Black Lives Matter, as more people are joining the cause. “Folks in a very decentralized way are mobilizing to the streets to demand justice. Organizers have been clear on this forever, but the general public is more clear that we need to eradicate systemic racism and abolish the police, and that is what feels different now.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?When Police Reform Isn't Enough, We Must DefundWant To Defund The Police? Here’s How To HelpCopaganda: How Police Continue To Ask For Sympathy
One fund, which received the most donations — about $35 million— faced backlash after sharing it had only used $200,000 to bail out jailed protestors.
As coronavirus cases in the US reach 2,545,250, Arizona broke the record with the highest single-day increase, with 3,591 new cases on June 27th. Meanwhile, Scottsdale Councilman, Guy Phillips made headlines last week when he announced, “I can’t breathe” — the last words of Eric Garner and George Floyd that’s become a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement — before removing his face-mask during an anti-mask rally. This falls in line with a worrisome trend of public leaders speaking out against the use of protective face coverings, something that experts say is vital in slowing the spread of coronavirus. “What bothers the healthcare workers is mixed messaging from our leaders,” traveling critical care specialist Dr. Luis Rosario tells Yahoo Life, “Why do you have to politicize a mask? I will never understand that.” Rosario is currently working 12-hour night shifts in a Miami ICU, but since late March he has traveled to hospitals throughout the U.S., wherever critical care is needed most. Rosario tells Yahoo Life that while watching the virus travel from state to state, he has seen it devastate already struggling communities disproportionately.
When the pandemic hit, Thrilling, an online marketplace that offers vintage and secondhand clothing from small businesses around the country, cut its commissions for the first two months. After brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close their doors, and thus lose their main source of income, founder and CEO Shilla Kim-Parker knew that those owners needed every dollar they could make. Thrilling then released custom-printed vintage T-shirts to raise money for the 100+ stores it carries (you can still purchase them or donate to stores here). When protests started around the country, following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, Thrilling curated a collection of clothing from Black-owned vintage stores — although, as a Black woman, Kim-Parker had amplified these businesses since the start of Thrilling, giving them the exposure they desperately need in a fashion industry that still prioritizes whiteness.Kim-Parker, whose prior careers were in industries ranging from finance to media and nonprofit arts, founded Thrilling as a way to support local businesses. “My grandparents started the first Black-owned business in the small town of Kinston in North Carolina in the 1940s, and it was a dry-cleaning business. At the time, the world was against them, and they suffered a lot of harassment and abuse and trauma and violence, but managed to survive and thrive for 50 years,” Kim-Parker told me over a Zoom call last week. “I’ve always had a lot of kinship for small business owners and helping support their place in the world.” A vintage lover, Kim-Parker grew up secondhand shopping in New York City. “It’s my favorite and only way to shop. I think it’s where you find high-quality, well-made, one-of-a-kind items that are also truly environmentally friendly,” she said. She saw Thrilling as a way to not only support these stores but also broaden their customer base by making the offerings available online: “Secondhand and vintage business owners have been very frustrated about the lack of support from the tech community in helping get their business out to more customers around the world. I started this business to really partner with them and help bring them more revenue, so that they can continue to build their business and continue to be cornerstones of their communities.” Kim-Parker says that the hardest part of the pandemic has been seeing these businesses face real fear about the future of their livelihoods. “It has been enormously stressful for our stores. They have had to shut their doors. In-person sales are the primary way that they earn revenue, and many of their landlords are unforgiving. They were shut out of a lot of federal grant programs, and so they’ve been under an enormous amount of strain,” she said. “There’s magic to the environments that a lot of stores have created in their stores that’s really important to preserve. There’s a real physical element, and social element, of being part of a neighborhood that I think is super important.” There is also, of course, the thrill of finding a one-of-a-kind gem after physically going through the racks.Not only does Thrilling carry fashion from vintage stores around the country but it also curates collections by categories and themes, and offers a large range of sizing — still, unfortunately, a somewhat rare occurrence in vintage fashion (Kim-Parker says she is “proud that we work with some of the best plus-size vintage boutiques across the U.S.”). Prior to the pandemic, Thrilling also worked with the stores to photograph the clothing and upload it online, as well as help process the order. With COVID-19 putting a stop to physical visits, Thrilling pivoted to working with the stores to provide digital solutions so the owners could do it themselves. “The most rewarding part has been how much we’ve stuck together, how much we’ve sacrificed for each other to ensure our collective livelihood. I am sure our investors may have wondered about us giving up our commissions for two months, but it was undoubtedly the right thing to do because we’re a values-first, mission-oriented, and humanity-oriented organization,” she says. “Thrilling is about community first and business second.”That sentiment is infectious: When, in April, Thrilling partnered with Banana Republic — which, interestingly, started as a small mom-and-pop shop selling vintage — on a collection of vintage pieces from the stores on the site, the clothing giant (owned by Gap since 1983), in response to Thrilling giving up its commissions on sales, also decided to give up its commission; every dollar of that collection went to the stores.As Thrilling’s sales have grown month over month since the pandemic began, Kim-Parker says it’s been exciting to see customers respond to the business. “Something that’s been really nice is that people are becoming activated, so they’re realizing that they can be part of progress and activists in many different ways, including voting with their dollars,” she said. “We’re so grateful for support from people who not only just love fashion but also love supporting Black women-, people of color-owned businesses and are really passionate about supporting small businesses and really passionate about mitigating the impact of the apparel industry on the environment. We are seeing a lot of people aligning their consumption choices around their values.”It’s to make it easier for people to further vote with their dollars that prompted Thrilling to curate the Black Vintage collection, though Kim-Parker notes that — given that most of the stores Thrilling carries are not only woman-owned but Black-owned and people of color-owned — every collection supports them. Still, she is happy to see others in the industry focusing on supporting and highlighting Black-owned businesses and committing to making the industry more diverse — a movement that’s long overdue. “There’s an enormous amount of important work to do ahead. It’s not a flash in the pan moment, it doesn’t go away with surface solutions and press releases. There is important work to be done about changing the nature of systemic racism in our institutions, including fashion institutions,” she said. “We embrace it, look forward to being a part of the solution and seeing how other organizations and leaders, who have expressed support for the movement, address these issues, not just in the heat of the moment but a month from now, a year from now, 10 years from now.”In the meantime, Kim-Parker won’t stop doing her part to support small, women-, and Black- and people of color-owned businesses, as well as customers who want accessibly priced and sized clothing that won’t hurt the environment. “I come from a family with generations of persecution and trauma, and so much of what we encounter today and what our greater family and community encounter today is still problematic and unjust,” she said. “You have to fight for all of us or else you stand for none of us. And I’ve been given the privilege of starting my own company and being able to define who we are and what we stand for from day one, and so we are going to do just that.”With businesses like Thrilling, the future of fashion — and the world at large — is something to be excited about. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Black In Fashion Council Develops Equality IndexYour Online Thrifting Questions, AnsweredBlack Queer People In Fashion To Support Now
Nationwide, police officers have responded to recent uprisings against police brutality with force, attacking protestors with batons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. But even as viral videos have shown officers beating protestors senselessly one day, the next day there have been others that show officers taking a knee or giving an impassioned speech about standing united with protestors. This kind of cognitive dissonance continued during Pride Month, as New York’s police department politicized rainbow logos by putting them on cop cars in a seeming show of support for pride, before then showing up at the city’s Queer Liberation March with pepper spray and a brutal show of force. But, over a month into this latest period of mass civil unrest, and one thing seems to be clear: The police that continue to brutalize protestors are also trying to appeal to them. As cities around the country entered the fifth straight week of demonstrations following the police killing of George Floyd, the Metro Nashville Police Department in Tennessee released a country music ballad of a “good cop” who is deeply emotional about Floyd’s killing.“I’m angry and sad. I’m a whole lot confused,” Sergeant Henry Particelli sings along with his guitar. He later continues, “I’m just trying to get a grip on what happened that night. I’m sure you never wanted this kind of fame, I’m so sorry that’s how we know your name.”The music video for the song includes people holding signs with slogans like, “Peace,” “Unity,” and “Embrace everyone’s differences.” Most of the people featured in the video are other MNPD officers, a spokesperson said. While the intention behind the song, according to Particelli — who doesn’t reveal he’s a cop until the end of the video — was to demonstrate how people in law enforcement and across the country feel about Floyd’s death, it’s actually a pretty classic example of cop propaganda, or copaganda. Copaganda typically encompasses things like fictionalized, positive TV depictions of police officers, heartfelt social media posts made by police departments, and videos of cops kneeling with anti-police brutality protestors; it is all the media made in an effort to show police as being uncomplicatedly friendly, heroic, and good. But these one-dimensional displays actually do harm by presenting cops as being solely friends and allies to the public at-large, rather than offering a truthful depiction of the deeply violent and racist nature of police work in America. Despite the MNPD’s supposedly “feel good” video of a cop singing about George Floyd’s death, the department also engages in a more insidious form of copaganda on social media. The MNPD has used its Twitter account to push a mix of content, including feel-good photos of cops posing with children wearing badges of their own, followed by mugshots of people who participated in anti-police riots. This bizarre social media binary makes it clear that the department wants the public to think they’re solely a force for good, who like to hang out with little kids, while protestors are all criminals, who belong behind bars. This isn’t unique to just one police department in one city, though. Since the national demonstrations have started, those in power have employed their own counterinsurgency tactics, which include various forms of copaganda. Most prominently, officers have performed faux solidarity with protestors by making speeches and taking knees. In Bellevue, WA, Police Chief Steve Mylett got on his knee in the middle of a crowd of protestors, saying, “What happened to George Floyd is a crime.” After a passionate speech to the sounds of cheers, Mylett told protestors, “We are with you, we are not against you.” A month later, the same police department reportedly arrested 23 protestors. In NYC’s Washington Square Park, on June 1, the highest ranking NYPD officer was filmed on his knees, linking arms with protestors and hugging them in the street. But in the days before and after, NYPD officers in downtown Manhattan were reportedly kettling crowds, using batons, and pepper-spraying demonstrators. These police-led actions are not only meant to assuage a public that’s uneasy about brutal police tactics, but it also serves to discredit the demands of abolitionist and Black liberation movements, and to make them potentially complicit in copaganda. I watched firsthand at a recent protest in Louisiana when several activists urged police to march with them, while others on the frontlines questioned this demand, arguing that whether or not cops march or kneel with activists, they’re still in uniform, wearing their badges, and have the power to continue killing people. When cops coerce activists into allowing them to kneel with them or join marches, it becomes easier for them to push their “good cop” narrative, at the expense of the march’s true goals. The recent wave of copaganda aside, a deep dive into the history of policing shows a corrupt system that doesn’t leave much room for sympathy. Police have always been “a force of violence against Black people,” as the abolitionist organizer Mariame Kaba wrote for The New York Times. Modern police departments first emerged as slave patrols in the South in the 18th and 19th Centuries; they have always been an adversary to labor movements; and they regularly terrorize communities and kill people with impunity. It’s no coincidence that in a moment of national unrest, when demands to “abolish the police” are gaining widespread popularity, that cops would ramp up propaganda to paint themselves in a different light. Forms of “feel-good” propaganda pull on American nationalism, too. One such example is a video that made the rounds earlier this month of a cop fixing a fallen American flag.Regardless of these copaganda displays, though, the abolition movement is not about singular officers and their intentions. Rather, the movement is about reevaluating the systems that have put those officers in charge of deciding whether certain people deserve to live or die. It’s quite possible, and probable even, that Sergeant Henry Particelli, who sang how sorry he is to George Floyd, was sincere. But Particelli, and all the other officers who have engaged in forms of copaganda, are missing the point. The problem with the police is not simply about individual officer’s intentions; it’s not about the “good guy” narrative. Instead, it’s about an authoritative policing system that has oppressed Black and brown people for centuries, a system that needs to be dismantled now.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Police Conspiracy Theories Put Workers At RiskPolice Are Going On Strike. Should Anyone Care?NYPD Pepper Sprayed Queer Liberation Protestors
The $1 billion cancels the incoming class of officers, and will be reallocated to services like summer youth programs and broadband in public housing.
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