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Books To Read So That You Can Be A Better Ally Of The Black Lives Matter Movement

During this time of so much unrest and pain, you might be feeling relatively powerless but it’s important to know that there are ways to help. There are petitions to sign, groups to support and people to hug. But perhaps one of the most empowering things you can do to help right now is to educate yourself. To be a true ally to the Black Lives Matter movement you have to educate yourself about the history of systemic racism in our country.

To help, we’ve put together a reading list of books and poems by African-American writers to check out.

Freedom Is A Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

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Activist Angela Davis was a pioneer of her time and while you might see her various quotes about racism and race circulating around the internet in the wake of George Floy’s death, there is far more to learn from her. Freedom Is A Constant Struggle, which was published in 2016, shows her thoughts and insights on civil rights, racism, and feminism through a series of essays.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Amazon.com

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter will light up how you see the ways in which racism affects Black people of various classes. Carter lives in a poor neighborhood and goes to school at fancy suburban prep school where she juggles having to blend in and stay ahead of the educational curve. Starr’s life is thrown out of balance when the fatal shooting of her childhood friend Khalil occurs at the hands of a police officer.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Written in 1962, this classic about the Civil Rights Movement is divided into two parts both of which give a powerful reflection on Baldwin’s time Harlem. In his novel, writes “If we – and I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of others – do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world.”

They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery

Amazon.com

As a reporter for The Washington Post, Wesley Lowery spent much of President Obama’s second term in office traveling from city to city, covering the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers, including Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Freddie Gray. They Can’t Kill Us All begins with his own aggressive arrest during the Ferguson protests after allegedly “failing to disperse” quickly enough when police officers cleared out a McDonald’s – then goes on to recount the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement from the front lines. In short, it’s essential reading right now.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Amazon.com

For this story that sheds light on the collective trauma felt by slaves and their descendants, Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize. Morrison’s novel was inspired by a true reported piece written in the American Baptist in 1856 and follows a woman who escaped as a slave from a fictional plantation to live in the free state of Ohio. Despite her escape, she remains haunted by the ghosts of her pays.

Your Silence Will Not Protect You by Audre Lorde

Amazon.com

Everyone needs to read every piece by this poet who has described herself as a black, lesbian, mother, and warrior. In this collection of essays, speeches, and poems by Lorde there’s so much to learn from this brilliant keynote speaker and writer.

Transcripts Of George Floyd’s Death Find He Told Cops He Couldn’t Breathe More Than 20 Times: “Tell my kids I love them”

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Transcripts Of George Floyd’s Death Find He Told Cops He Couldn’t Breathe More Than 20 Times: “Tell my kids I love them”

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Over a month has passed since the death of George Floyd and while the aftermath of it seemed to spark a reaction that rattled those of us left behind to our cores, outrage over his death has slowed down. Likely you’re hearing less calls to end police brutality, seeing fewer signs that Black Lives Matter and most of your friends’ Instagram pages have likely returned to their usual blissfully ignorant states. Still, the fight for justice for George Floyd carries on and newly released transcripts of body camera footage show that Floyd had pled for his life and told officers at least 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before his death.

New transcripts from body camera footage of Floyd’s death have been filed in court.

Floyd (a truck driver, security guard, and father of five) told Minneapolis police officers over 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before he died. “I’m scared as fuck, man,” Floyd told the officers while they restrained them. “Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”

Transcripts of body camera footage show that Floyd told officers at least 27 times that he couldn’t breathe before passing out and dying.

“I can’t breathe for nothing, man,” Floyd told officers. “This is cold-blooded, man.” Ignoring Floyd’s cry for help, officer Derek Chauvin continued to pin Floyd down with his knee on his neck.

In the transcript, Chauvin can be heard saying to Floyd “Then stop talking. Stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

“I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Floyd continued. “I’ll probably just die this way.”

The transcripts were filed by former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane in a move to have charges against him dropped.

Lane is one of four former police officers to be charged in Floyd’s death. Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao are also being charged. Lane, Kueng, and Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin in Floyd’s death. Meanwhile, Chauvin faces second-degree murder charges.

According to BuzzFeed, “In the motion looking to have charges against Lane dropped, attorneys argue he was a new officer on the force and following the cues from Chauvin.” At the time of Floyd’s death, Chauvin was not Lane’s field training officer. He had however been one in Lane’s precinct and had provided the Chauvin with instructions on how to deal with calls. Attorneys have pointed out that in the transcripts Lane called paramedics to the scene and asked if they should roll Floyd on his side while he was holding onto his legs.

In the transcript, Chauvin says “No, he’s staying put where we got him.”

According to transcripts, after Chauvin passed out bystanders pointed out Floyd was unresponsive. Still, Chauvin pinned him to the ground.

St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

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St. Louis Protesters Return To The Area Where A White Couple Drew Guns At Activists

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In another display of a peaceful protests, activists returned the site of a St. Louis mansion owned by the white couple who drew out their guns during a calm demonstration last month. On Friday, chanting protesters returned to the home of Patricia and Mark McClosky, stopping just outside of their gate to protest for nearly 15 minutes.

During the peaceful protest over a dozen men in plain clothes walked the area inside of the gate.

According to Time Magazine, “One protester briefly straddled an iron gate as if he was going to jump over, but did not. No one threw anything and no one behind the gates showed aggression. One man on the McCloskeys’ balcony clapped along with the chanting protesters.” The crowd of protesters included a racially diverse crowd carrying signs calling to “Defund the Police” and underlining that “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.” Chants included calls like “when Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

According to reports, it is unknown if the McCloskeys were home. Soon after, the protestors left and marched to Interstate 64. Police had closed off the roads to traffic in both directions to allow protestors to march onto the highway. There the protestors sat on the highway for several minutes to honor the life of George Floyd who died on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee to his neck for over eight minutes.

The recent rally was organized by the group Expect Us and is among various demonstrations in St. Louis that have taken place in the weeks since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

The McCloskeys first came to national attention in mid-June after they had been spotted aiming guns at protesters outside their home in St. Louis. Soon after the images of them began circulating Twitter dubbed them “Ken and Karen” and the stars of the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” remake no one asked for. The incident occurred as protesters marched their way towards the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson who declared in a Facebook post that she would not support rising calls to defund the police. She also reportedly shared activists’ full names and addresses while reading off suggestions on how to better spend the city’s funds. After users ridiculed her online, Krewson apologized for her actions saying “Never did I intend to harm anyone or cause distress,” Krewson tweeted. “The update is removed and again, I apologize.”