If you are one of my Facebook friends who is not from Minneapolis and is white, this post is for you. If you are trying to process the murder of George Floyd and the ongoing protests without seeking guidance and information from the Black community, you are doing it wrong. Our role is not to make this movement about us, nor is it to try and speak on behalf of the Black community. Our role right now is to listen and learn from the stories and experiences of non-white people. Our role is to amplify the voices of those who have been calling for change for decades. Our role is to call out any of our white friends who are not supporting the Black community or are attempting to do so but in the wrong way. Our role is to reflect on how our whiteness is a part of the problem and what we can do to use our privilege in meaningful ways. Our role is to act when called upon by non-white people to do so. And please, before any of this, educate yourself. This is a good starting point: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#educate

If you are able to, you should donate to organizations like Black Visions Collective (https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/) or Reclaim the Block (https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home).

Now, for any of my white friends from outside of Minneapolis, I would like to share what I witnessed last week and this weekend. I saw countless peaceful protests and sit-ins. I saw Black leaders reminding the crowds every 5 minutes that we were to remain peaceful and persistent. I saw white allies stepping up and putting themselves between the police and people of color. I saw Black leaders taking us through the streets, and I saw hundreds of cars being blocked but honking and raising fists in solidarity.

But what I also saw was a militarized police force at every corner and street, following Black-led movements. I saw the fear and intimidation that the police were trying to cause, the same tactics that have constantly been used to try and silence Black voices for centuries. I saw peaceful protestors, with their hands in the air, standing in place, even sitting down, shot at with rubber bullets, tear gas, and smoke bombs.

And I was outraged.

Outrage and guilt are important for us, as white people, to feel. But what we cannot do is let our guilt paralyze us. Nor should we use our guilt to overstep the real leaders of this movement. If you feel guilt and outrage too, good. But be sure to channel that outrage into supporting the leaders of this movement to end police brutality. Channel your anger and sadness into supporting the communities that have been terrorized by police forces for decades. And when the dust settles, and people start to go home, Do. Not. Stop. It is far too easy for us, as white people, to feel outraged during moments like these, and simply walk away as momentum slows. Our tendency to do this, to only be involved when convenient, is why there has not yet been substantial change. So continue fighting and continue supporting the Black community.

The images I am sharing are from multiple protests, and I have also included a graphic video that shows my reaction to tear gas. I felt the need to share them, however, because this was eyeopening for me, and so I hope it is for you too. The last 3 images and the video attached are from a peaceful protest where police decided to unload about 20 tear gas canisters on the crowd. Look at these images, feel the discomfort, and recognize that there is something deeply, deeply wrong with the police system in our country.

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