Black Lives Matter

Resources:

Anti-Racism Media:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcnXnOhM*YNlgMgo4D07mNyOtlVctmg

Another Resource Guide:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hpub-jkm9cLzJWqZSsETqbE6tZ13Q0UbQz–vQ2avEc/edit?usp=sharing

If you’re white, this is an org you can join and support to talk to and hold other white people accountable in the fight for racial justice: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/

7 Ways To Support Black Lives Matter: https://www.timeout.com/things-to-do/how-to-support-black-lives-matter

A full transcript of this episode is below:

Black Lives Matter

Callie: [00:00:00] Hi friends. I apologize for this episode being late, I’ve been going out to the protests a lot and trying to juggle that with client work, can’t fight the fasc if I can’t pay the bills, you know? This week’s episode is a compilation of tape that I collected when I was at the protests in Cincinnati last Friday and Saturday, I think it’s important to hear what’s happening on the ground.

I had originally thought to present it completely without my voice in it, because, I’m a guest in that house. It’s a fight that I’m supporting, but it’s not necessarily my fight, but as a white person speaking to a mostly white audience, I do think it’s important for me to try to contextualize this moment  and what I saw, I believe that now is the time to speak and act boldly, and at the risk of overstepping and to just be ready to accept the gift of critique when it’s given to me, the stories you’re gonna hear today are important, but they are only a piece of a whole, Cincinnati is one city. It’s a little smaller than some of the others, but these stories do matter. The Cincinnati police department and the Black community here have a nasty history, just like a lot of others do. In particular, our community here is still pretty raw from the murder of Sam Dubose and 2015. We’ve also not forgotten Timothy Thomas who was murdered in 2001.

Neither of the officers responsible for that wherever held accountable. In fact, the officer who killed Sam Dubose ended up winning a $350,000 wrongful termination suit against the police department that fired him. But so many more countless unnamed have had their lives uprooted and destroyed by police brutality without being killed.

And this is for them too. And you’re actually going to hear some of those folks’ voices. In this episode. And obviously anything I could share here will not be the full story, any editing decisions I make are decisions to exclude one part of the story in favor of another, right. I had like five hours of tape to go through and I didn’t want to post a five hour podcast. Being aware of these things and my biases that come from my whiteness, doesn’t make me immune to getting things wrong. And I want to emphasize that here I am, one white person who was present in one city telling this part of the story. you’re gonna hear some things here you may or may not agree with. The point is that it is Black folks, time to speak and our time to listen. And I’d encourage you to sit with this, listen, learn about what’s happening locally for you and get involved where you can before we get into it, I will warn you that toward the end of this episode, there is a scene with lots of angry yelling, which I know is triggering for some people.

And there are sounds of weapons being fired and flash bangs exploding. None of it to my knowledge is real gunfire, in terms of actual bullets being shot. My understanding is that the, they were like pepper rounds and flash bangs. Still not great, but they weren’t firing live actual bullets. We started the day at the Cincinnati courthouse and we could hear people chanting as we approach.

Speaker: Heads up, Cincinnati! Tell these terrorists that they aren’t going to control us anymore! We’re tired of injustice! We’re tired of the police being over the law!

[Crowd crying in agreement]

Callie: There were about 50 people there when we arrived. 

Speaker: If anyone in this crowd — if anyone in this crowd were to murder a police officer today, would it take four days to arrest them?

Crowd: No! Fuck no!

Speaker: If anyone in this crowd helped the other people murder the police, would it take four days to arrest them?

Crowd: No! [inaudible]

Speaker: They’re trying to tell us people to go home! Because they already arrested one of the cops! They’re trying to pacify us! They want us to give up! They want us to sit down!  We want justice! No Justice!

Crowd: No Peace!

Speaker: No Racist!

Crowd: Police!

Speaker: No Justice!

Crowd: No Peace!

Speaker: No Racist!

Crowd: Police!

Speaker 2: How y’all doing? My name’s [REDACTED]

(Transcriptionist note. Names other than Callie Wright will not be written in this transcript for obvious reasons. Stay safe, friends.)

Let me say that again. My name is [REDACTED]. Fuck it, man. Y’all know me. Y’all seen me everywhere. I appreciate you coming [inaudible]. Getting people off the street. Hey, look here. 2017. Can you hear me? Okay, I’m sorry. 2017 I was assaulted by Officer [REDACTED] of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. Okay? This is not just a Minnisota thing. This is an everywhere thing. A United States thing! I’m serious!

[Crowd cheers]

If you look at my forehead, I’m Black! If you look at my forehead you’ll see two scars. The one that’s the hook, that’s the assault. That’s the assault. For being on the bus! For being on the bus! I’m going to say it again! For being on the bus! Trying to make a difference in the community! Trying to make money! [inaudible] I like Cincinatti! I love Cincinatti! This is my second home! Born and raised in Kansas City. Been here in Cincinatti since what, 1992, y’all!

[Crowd cheers]

It’s real. I come back and — I go back and forth. I go back and forth, but I’m trying to make a difference. This is not a white / Black issue! This is not a Cincinatti issue! This is a right / wrong issue! 

[Crowd cheers]

This is a right / wrong issue and that’s the truth! [inaudible] Jail the rest of them! Jail the rest of them! They’re out in Missouri, righteous as hell!

[Car honk, crowd cheers]

They act like they ain’t but they are! I’m just being real! Kansas City [inaudible]. We break out [inaudible]. I came all the way back from Houston, Texas to visit my family! My Cincinatti family! No Justice!

No Peace!

No Justice!

No Peace!

No Racist!

Police!

We’re not having it! You can’t do your job then get your ass home or somebody will!

No Justice!

No Peace!

No Racist!

Police!

Let’s take it to the police! Let’s Go!

Callie: [00:06:37] after some marching, we end up in front of Cincinnati’s district one police station. There is a barrier covering the front door and lots of bike cops standing outside.

Crowd: Police!

Speaker 1: [00:06:54] Let’s say their names! George Floyd!

Crowd: George Floyd!

Shawn Reed!

Crowd: Shawn Reed!

Breonna Taylor!

Crowd: Breonna Taylor!

Ahmaud Arbery!

Crowd: Ahmaud Arbery!

George Floyd!

Crowd: George Floyd!

Shawn Reed!

Crowd: Shawn Reed!

Breonna Taylor!

Crowd: Breonna Taylor!

Ahmaud Arbery!

Crowd: Ahmaud Arbery!

[Indistinguishable Crowd Yelling]

Let’s stand up and give these people some hell! What do we want?

Crowd: Justice!

When do we want it?

Crowd: Now!

What do we want?

Crowd: Justice!

When do we want it?

Crowd: Now!

What do we want?

Crowd: Justice!

And we want it right now! Everyone that’s here right now is standing in solidarity. [inaudible] or we’re just coming together like this on the regular.

Crowd: Yeah!

I’ve been here ten plus years doing a lot of political shit out here and I like the crowd that we’ve got out here today! This is solidarity! This is what we need out here! This is what we need every day!

Crowd: Yeah!

Because these cops, they don’t do shit but keep trying to kill us!

Crowd: Yeah!

So therefore stand in solidary and see what the fuck these cops are doing.

Crowdmember: By any means necessary.

By any means necessary!

[Crowd cheers]

[Inaudible]

Speaker 3: [00:08:28] Hey. I just had a few words. Martin Luther King was wearing a suit. It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing baggy pants. It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing a suit. They going to shoot us If they don’t want, if they don’t want us to live. And they don’t.

Crowdmember: Fuck yeah!

So it don’t matter. Hey. They burnt down churches!

Crowdmember: Yeah!

The KKK burnt down churches! They burnt down houses!

Crowdmember: Yeah!

They burnt down our community!

Crowdmember: Preach!

And they want to complain about Target?! Target’s going to be fine. Target gon’ be fine.

[Crowd Cheering]

It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing baggy pants! It doesn’t matter if we’re wearing a suit!

Crowdmember: Malcolm X!

They going to shoot us. So, with that being said if you’re not a person of color and you witnessed this shit happened you better speak the fuck up.

[Crowd Cheering]

Right here, right now you better speak the fuck up! Because I am so tired! I am traumatized! I don’t even want to have a son because I can’t explain this shit to him.

Crowdmember: That’s heavy! That’s deep!

That’s fucking sad! So with that being said, Black lives matter.

[Crowd Cheering]

Crowdmember: Right on, right on.

Y’all hear us now?

Crowd: Yeah!

Are you listening?!

Crowdmember: We are fucking here now! It’s gonna take more! They still won’t hear us!

Let’s say why we’re here! We’re here cause of George Floyd’s murder! It is what it is! It is what it is!

Crowdmember: Fuck ‘em. We’ve got guns too.

I don’t know if these guys heard us. 

[Indistinguishable crowdmembers speaking]

Speaker 1: [00:10:27] If we went back into history, when we look at our state of Ohio, right. This was supposably a symbol of freedom. When we crossed that Ohio River, we were free! Right?

Crowdmember: That’s what they said! That’s the lie they told!

I don’t feel feel free!

Crowdmember: That’s the lie they told us, that we were free! That’s the lie that they told us! They lied to us and told us we were free!

And who brought us back across that river?

Crowdmember: It’s the slave masters! Them right there!

These people in this building right here.

Crowdmember: Ask them a question! Does my grandson have a right to grow up?

Crowd: Yes he does!

[Crowd cheering]

Crowdmember: Does my grandson have a right to be his own man in America? 

Crowd: Yes he does!

Crowdmember: Does my grandson  have a right to any life in his country that his ancestors built? That’s my questions! Can my grandson grow up and take its place among the men? 

Crowd: Yes!

Crowdmember: Can he be a man? 

Crowd: Yes!

Crowdmember: Just a man. Can he be a man? 

[Crowd cheers. Crowd chants indistinguishably] 

Speaker 1: Very good for convictions, all of y’all. What do we want?

Crowd: Justice!

When do we want it?

Crowd: Now!

What do we want?

Crowd: Justice!

When do we want it?

Crowd: Now!

Now I’m not talking about justice over there in Minneapolis. I’m talking about justice all over this country! Right now there’s people over in [inaudible]. Right now we’re getting no justice! They ain’t getting not fair trials over there. They ain’t getting fair convictions. They ain’t getting equal justice, son. We want justice for everybody. Every single person in this crowd, if you white or Black, has been affected by these police and the majority of us I’m sure it was in a very negative way.

Crowdmember: Absolutely!

I’m sure they brought a lot of pain to you and your family. Let’s stop that right now. Do you guys feel guilty for what you guys do to us?

[Crowd jeers].

Crowdmember: In order to get rid of the [inaudible] in the white house, the [inaudible] in the white house, who oppresses all people, who hates women, who hates most of us. We have to go! We have to get out and vote! This is not a political matter! This is a people matter!

[Crowd cheers]

Crowd: Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out! Vote Trump Out!

Speaker 1: [00:13:37] I want to talk about something and I want everyone in this crowd to remember this, cause I don’t want you guys to forget. Because I’m about to talk about us getting some real justice and exposing these punk ass cowards for who they are. All these people want to make excuses for the police. And act like the police is our friend and only there’s only a few bad apples. Right? That’s a joke? We know that.

Crowd: Yeah!

So let me share a little story with you guys about something that happened recently here in Cincinnati. And one, when I’m done, I’ll give you the, go ahead at the bit. I want to talk about a young man that was murdered and went in tears a couple of weeks ago. I sat there and I watched him die, looked into his eyes and I watched him die. I offered to get my trauma bag. My homeboy, over here. He got it on the back right now. Right here. We got this bag right here and this bag is anything you need to save the wound that man had. Standing over him when we went over there and he’s still breathing, what Cincinnati police officer. 

[Crowd boos]

All right. Standing over him was one — he was still breathing. Right? That was a Cincinnati police officer. More officers started showing up. We’re trying to help. They’re trying to push us back. Just like we saw in Minneapolis. They push us back when we try to help. Right? They sat over his dead body and watched him die. And so did the paramedic over his dead body, They both jumped over his dead body. His kids and his girl — his wife, right there. They jumped over his dead body. Cop footprints just over the crime scene.

[Crowd jeers]

We ran them out that crime scene about five hours later when we posted them, they ran out that crime scene. Cause they didn’t want to have to answer for what the questions were asking him. The whole time on our neighborhood out here grieving because our kids outside playing and we just lost one of our neighbors, He was lost, lost right in front of his kids, right in front of his girl. And we all got to watch that. What did these people do? Go and tell jokes over his dead body, and if you don’t believe me, let’s ask city council for the body cam footage cameras.

[Crowd: Yes sir!]

We want to see the body cam footage of what happened. We want to know why the police was telling jokes over a dying body. Now you want to know, you want to know where the story get a little more messed up? How does it get a little more messed up than that you asked, right. This is where the story get a little messed up. Hey, open up your phone. If you want to go to WLT, what did the police tell the nurse when they came? That he was dead on arrival. When they came to the scene he was dead. Let’s have the body cam footage for real and see them watch him die.

Crowdmember: They’re fucking lying!

Lying bastards!

Crowd: Liars! Liars!

Just like they had a plan! Just like they had a plan! Whenever we have these injustices. Don’t never forget that. And the news is here right now. We want answers to that. We want to see the body cam footage and wonder why the police was telling jokes at a body, as the man died. We want to know why the police statement saying that he was dead when they game. That body cam will sure show something different.

Crowdmember: Yes sir!

And I’m sure because when I post that shit on Facebook, a whole lot of people came to me and they said, you know, Jordan, they did the same thing to us too. They took their time and they let us die. They sit there and they let us die. Just a lot of the news and things. Oh but there was nothing we could do. Is that the people protecting our community?

Crowd: No! Hell no!

Is that the people you want riding around here, that’s supposed to be protecting us?

Crowd: No!

They ain’t protecting us! They protecting the state!

Crowd: Yeah!

We want answers! And when all these injustices are happening to your boy, we need to bring this shit to city council. And we want those fucking body cam footage. We gon’ call 911 [inaudible].

Crowdmember: [inaudible]. Black women [inaudible] gas masks. It’s ridiculous! We’ve got to stop with this police! Everybody else!

You see these tears! Use your voice! You see this, you see these tears when she —

Crowdmember: It’s our movement! [inaudible] I’m Black!

Crowdmember: It is.

Crowdmember: It’s a real movement! Look it up! They getting us before we’re even here! They getting us before we adults! It ain’t just them! It’s not just the police! It’s the teachers! They getting our kids before they hit the age of 13!

Crowdmember: [00:18:45] I just want to say something, bro. I’ve been in Cincinnati now about three and a half years. I’ve been there for three and a half years born and raised in South Mississippi. I’ve seen and heard it all. My first protest I was seven years old, I was at a Klan rally.

Crowdmember: I’m sorry, bro.

Daddy, loaded up the shotgun and said we’re going to the parade. I didn’t know what he was talking about, but when we got there,

Crowdmember: All right, going to that parade. Yeah!

I didn’t understand that there was, there was something wrong with the color of my skin for the longest time, I grew up thinking that there was a problem. That I had to be a certain way. I had to talk a certain way. I had to act a certain —

Crowdmember: There ain’t nothing wrong with you.

My skin color is not a threat! And it ain’t white. Don’t talk about proper English.

Crowdmember: Skin color is not a threat.

And seeing these little kids up here, like knowing that these parents going to tell a certain kind of story to these kids that, Hey, you gotta act a certain kind of way, but you go out here. You got to be a certain way. That’s bullshit. Y’all we, we gotta make a change and I cannot say thank you enough my non people-of-color out here standing with us in solidarity. Like for real.

[Crowd Cheers]

Speaker 1: I’m going to keep this brief. Thank you to all the non people-of-color out here supporting, but we need to understand that Black people fight this fight every day. We’ve been fighting this fight since we got here.

Crowdmember: Say that again!

And we shouldn’t need to —

Crowd: And again!

We need to make sure that even when Black people are not here y’all still stand up right here —

[Crowd cheers]

Speaker 3: [00:20:38] It was on Saturday night, Saturday night at Washington park. I saw two Black men, men. Two white men get into a fight at Washington park. I called the police. Multiple people called the police. They said, well, send somebody down there. Two hours later, I go to my car. They have two Black boys sitting on the ground.

Crowdmember: Fuck that!

They have two Black boys sitting on the ground, questioning them about a fight. They say, I have no idea what you’re talking about, sir. I have no idea what you’re talking about, sir. I’m just walking home. I am just walking home. Two boys said, please, please let me call my mom, please don’t shoot me, please. Please let me go home and call my mom. Do you want to know what the police said?

Crowd: No, What did they say?

To those two boys? Get in the car. You’re you’re you’re going with me.

Crowd: Oh hell no.

They arrested those two little boys that they had no right to arrest. Should we be pleading for our lives in this city?

Crowd: Hell no!

Should we be pleading for our lives in this city?

Crowd: Hell no!

Should boys be pleading for their lives?

Crowd: Hell no!

Should any of us be pleading for our lives?

Crowd: Hell no!

What are you doing to protect us? 

Crowd: Nothing!

What are you doing to protect us?

Crowd: Nothing!

You need to stop! Do you job and find the people instead of just finding anyone! We should not have to beg for our lives!

[Crowd Cheers]

Speaker 1: [00:22:27] I want to share a story too. And this one is a little personal because it happened to me last year, I visited my family and all in Clermont County right? Now we all know [inaudible]. I’m kind of known around here for speaking out against the police and people who are policing, who used to be police don’t really like that, that much. 

Crowd: Right

So the person that lived across the street from my mother’s house —

Crowd: Freedom of Speech! Freedom of Speech!

where I was at right. He’s seen me, he knows that we bring guns out here sometimes. And we act as if you know what I’m saying, we have the right to be armed, right?

Crowdmember: Man, say it again!

So when he seen me and my family come here, he called the police and said, “I heard a gunshot.” He know I got a gun, “I heard a gunshot.” So the police come, right and they rushed my mother’s backyard and they aimed they rifles and they pistols at us. They filled the whole street. This is Miami township police. They point their guns at my mother. Thinking that they was that it was me. Cause the person who supposedly saw me fire this gun, that’s described, my mother is me. I was wearing a suit, the giant afro. My mom don’t look nothing like me. 

Crowd: Right! Right! Shame! 

Anyway, When I was out there they supposedly called saying that I shot a gun. Well, then police show up, you know, They pull everyone at my house at gunpoint. My little son didn’t even get to make it past one years old without the police pointing guns at him and telling him to get down on the ground. Right. 

Crowd: Fuck that!

You want to know what’s fucked up. They ain’t never found no evidence of a gunshot at my house, man charged me for that. But when they were there, one of the officers, [REDACTED] is his name fired his AR-15 and the round hit — We had a negligent discharge. And the round hit right next to the car that my mother, my son, my wife, me, my daughters, everyone was in. 

Crowdmember: Fuck them.

When they came there, they’re ready to arrest me for shooting a gun. Did [REDACTED] get arrested?

Crowd: Nope. No!

No, he got counseled they said. He needed — they didn’t even send him home. They still sent him in my house with a gun. My mom’s house with a gun to clear the house. His own fellow officers had to ask him if he’s okay. I see it on the body cam.

Crowdmember: Fuck [REDACTED]!

Fuck [REDACTED]!

Why didn’t [REDACTED] get charged for shooting a gun? Go ahead ask Miami Township for that body cam. Last summer. Are the police above the law?

Crowd: Hell no! They think they is! Nobody is above the law! They think they is! They think they is!

We need to hold these people accountable! Start bringing this footage. Start bringing these stories to your city council and your city representatives. We was talking about voting earlier! It’s deeper than the presidential vote. All this starts right here in Cincinnatti.

Crowd: For sure for sure for sure!

Put the people in city council who actually care about Cincinnati! Vote for the people who are actually gonna make a difference in Cincinnati and ain’t there to collect a check and take our money. They got how many millions of dollars out of our tax money for a soccer stadium, but they ain’t got it for our schools?

Crowd: Right!

Crowdmember: [inaudible] street corner! They ain’t got no money for our schools!

Yeah, they need to fix these roads, but we got money for a soccer stadium, but guess what? That’s not going stop them to be here. We got to get out the neighborhood, right. 

Crowd: Right!

We need to vote on a city level. Vote for people who are going to take care of Cincinnati. We need to take care of Cincinnati as a people. It’s up to us to hold these people accountable. It’s up to us, to put all leaders in office.Right. Let’s get educated! Let’s get active! No more sitting around and just being like, Oh, that’s fucked up. Let’s do some shit about it. Just like she was saying back there, what we fixing do about it? We going to hold them accountable. And when we hold them accountable if there ain’t no justice there won’t be no peace.

[Crowd applauds]

It pretty much what that means, man, all of us got to get out here and vote. All of us got to do what we gotta do. Like I said, I’ve been in this field 10 years. Hey, and I’ve been in this field 10 years. I became a great party, central community representative for Hamilton County. We need people that’s actually going to get out of here and make a change. I’m tired of the bullshit that go on out here. We got a lot of these paid politicians that it should be out here right now that ain’t doing nothing. 

Crowd: For real!

And the only way we’re going to get them out of office. It’s getting out here voting. Anybody asked me to run. I say, Oh, yeah I’ll run. As they asked me to run, I said, yeah, I’ll run. I went out and I got all my friends to vote. Green party boats went up. So therefore, if we get out of here and we vote. We can get these motherfuckers out of office that don’t need to be there. We got a lot of people who are in this office that should be out here. [inaudible]

[Crowd applauds]

His ass ain’t out here right now. [REDACTED]. Ain’t out here, Black brother. Ain’t out here. We got lot of people that should be out there right now that, ain’t. So therefore why are we voting for these people? That should be that, that we put in an outfit. That ain’t doing nothing.

Crowd: Saying they hear and supporting us.

So, If they ain’t doing nothing, if they ass at home. If they doing something, keep them in office. But the main thing y’all need to do? Y’all need to research who y’all getting into office because if you ain’t researching who y’all getting into office, [inaudible], y’all ain’t doing nothing but fucking the community. So you need to get out here and [inaudible]. We need to get out here and vote! We need to make sure that we’re doing our thing out here with these votes! We need to do it, y’all! Alright y’all, we’re going to keep moving around the city and hopefully we can pick up some more people! We’re going to start moving towards the square.

Crowd: Let’s go! Let’s do it!

We’re going to tell everyone ‘bout y’all!

Crowdmember: Take to the streets!

Fuck the police!

Crowd: No justice!

No Peace!

No Justice!

No Peace!

No Justice!

No Peace!

Callie: [00:29:06] The next day we showed up again. I met up with the protest crowd near Washington square park in the most gentrified part of the city. The night before the police had let us march mostly unchallenged protestors even shut down a section of interstate 75 for a time without being directly challenged. Friday night ended with some windows broken at the Hamilton County justice center. And some of the businesses in the area. Given the stories I’ve heard about how they treat people in the justice center, I feel like the broken windows, there were a small price for Hamilton County to pay. Frankly, but the next day the police were more visible. The tension was higher. We’d seen what happened in other cities when police responded to peaceful, protesting with violence, and most people in the crowd knew that could happen here too. I kind of assumed it would later in the evening, but it happened almost immediately. The police decided we were done marching down this particular street and set up a barricade with our bikes to stop us from moving to this point today, there had been nothing but a lot of chanting and marching through the streets, nothing more. The police had just decided we were done moving in that particular direction.

[Crowd yelling]

Crowdmember: Keep it peaceful! Keep it peaceful! Keep it peaceful! Keep it peaceful! We’re not doing that here. We’re not doing that! We’re not doing that, son! Calm down!  

Crowd: We will not give them what they want!

Crowdmember: Don’t touch. Don’t touch him. We ain’t doing that. Look, they ragged. We ain’t gon’ touch him.

Crowdmember 2: He was ready to spray them in the face.

Callie: [00:30:42] The Black women organizing the March were protecting the police. A bunch of us white allies did too. You could hear in their voices and their words that attacking the cops was a threat to their, and our safety. It wasn’t an act of solidarity. It was about making sure everyone left that march alive. 

Crowdmember: [00:30:57] Can we not go in the park? Can we not go in Washington park anymore? 

Police: Nope. 

Callie: [00:31:01] They were trying to figure out where to tell the crowd to go, but the cops wouldn’t tell us where was okay.

Crowdmember: [00:31:09] Can we go in the park?

Crowd: Push through!

Crowdmember: We don’t do it this way!

Crowd: Push through!

Crowdmember 2: Shut up, listen to her! 

Crowdmember: We will not hurt our people! We will not do it this way!

Crowdmember 2: Do not push through!

Crowdmember: We do not touch them! They do not touch us! They want to disperse us, they are not touching us! C’mon! We have been talking to them! We’ve been communicating with them! That’s why we got in front of them! C’mon!

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

Crowdmember: This is not about you! We’re here to make them listen! We’re not here to hurt them! We’re not here to hurt them!

Crowdmember 2: You’re not here to scream in the face of Black organizers! Get the fuck out!

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

Crowdmember: We’re not touching them so they don’t touch us! If you jeopardize that you jeopardize our lives!

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

Crowdmember: Don’t worry about it right now. Don’t worry about it right now, we have more important things. Don’t worry about it right now. We have more important things.

Callie: [00:32:57] People eventually did move. So to recap, the police decided to stop us from marching, peacefully, escalating the situation of their own accord. The people organizing the march, deescalated the situation at great personal risk to themselves. When a few of the white punk kids there decided to start agitating, we eventually did move into the park like the organizers asked. We marched through the park, back out into the city and we stopped at the place for Timothy Thomas was killed in 2001. If you saw that photo circulating on the internet of a bunch of white people, sitting at a brunch table, looking across the street at a tree and a park, that photo was taken in Cincinnati that day at that march.

Crowdmember: This is where Timothy Thomas was killed. Shot and killed for pulling out a wallet. We stopped here for [inaudible] protest as well. This is exactly where Timothy Thomas was killed. Everybody quiet down and listen!

Crowdmember 2: Come over here!

Crowdmember: Everybody gather around here! Okay, let’s do a moment of silence for Timothy Thomas, George Floyd and everybody else that’s been killed by the neighborhood police officers unjustly. Let’s keep fighting the good fight! Let’s go!

Callie: [00:34:48] We approached the spot where the first confrontation had happened. I have no idea how long it was in between. Maybe an hour. This time, there were twice the bike cops and there were cruisers and SWAT vans. Again, they decided we were done marching, I guess.

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

Crowdmember 2: Get away from me!

Crowdmember: This ain’t the way! 

Crowdmember 2: Don’t touch the bike!

Callie: [00:35:11] I watched the police officer reach in and violently grab and yank a woman who was protecting him just a minute earlier.

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

Crowdmember: What did she do?

Callie: I turned my head to the right just in time to watch mace fly into the face of a Black person, sitting in a motorized wheelchair with his phone out, filming the cop.

Police: Get Back!

Crowdmember: What the fuck! Fuck you! Fuck you!

[Crowd yelling, indistinguishable]

[00:35:54] He started yelling for water as two or three of us ran over to try to cover the man and push him back in his wheelchair to get them off the line of the cops. I took a deep breath in and my face and my mouth started burning. I realized that I’d taken like some side spray from a shot of Mace.

Police: Hands up! Hands up! Hands up! Hands up! Keep your hands up!

[Crowd yelling, police sirens]

Callie: [00:36:34] Suddenly I’m staring at a line of those same bike cops who maced and beat people that were protecting them just moments earlier, SWAT cops with semiautomatic rifle, strapped to their chests and a line of riot cops with their shields, walking at us from the other direction. The bike cops start picking up their bikes and pushing us back further into the street.

[Crowd chanting, inaudible]

Police: Move back! Move back! Move back! Move back!

[Weapons fire]

[Tear gas canisters fire]

Crowdmember: Fuck!

[Tear gas canisters fire]

Callie: [00:38:13] It got real fucking serious, real fast just now. Oh my fucking God. 

Oh my fucking God. 

Callie: [00:38:22] Shout out to my friend, Heath first sheltering me, making me coffee, feeding me dinner and giving me a place to clean up that night. I sincerely appreciate it. I didn’t see what set the whole thing off. All I know is that I watched people protecting the cops and I saw them repay us with violence. A protest doesn’t have to be peaceful to be valid, but this one was, and I can’t imagine a world in which the right answer is meeting a peaceful protest with violence. 

The police escalated the situation into what it was. It did not have to be that way. I saw some water bottles fly, maybe? Yhen you’re wearing body armor helmets, you’ve got shields, guns, Mason, bikes to protect you, is that what you got to do? Clearly the answer is no, that just plainly fucking didn’t have to happen. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever genuinely feared for my life. And I am 35 years old. Now imagine knowing what that fear looks like from childhood and living it every day. My friends, I encourage you to get into this fight in whatever way you can. Protest are awesome, but obviously in this environment, they can be dangerous too. So I get it. If that’s not the place you can be.

In the show notes for this episode, there’s going to be a very long list of resources that almost anyone should be able to take action on. Go to queersplaining.com/blm and they will be there. In solidarity, I’ve donated all the money I’ll make from this episode to bail funds in Cincinnati, Nashville, Columbus, and Louisville. I want to tell you to stay safe. But my friend, Stephanie has said that what we really should be wishing each other to do is to take meaningful risks in this situation. I think we’re beyond safety.

There are thousands of people, risking catching, coronavirus, getting arrested, getting injured, getting killed. Everyone who is doing this knows the risks send is deciding to do it anyways. And that’s a calculation that every person has to make for themselves. So what I will say in all of this is to take meaningful risks, because I think that’s the only way that this thing ends in positive change.


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