Wanted to put this here so I didn’t have to re-type it in every argument, but even more so for friends and youth I work with who might be feeling frustrated or powerless when it comes to the upcoming election. The short version of this isn’t anything too surprising: real change comes from organized movements, and it makes sense to vote for Clinton in swing states in order to be able to continue that movement-building process. But I did want to share my reasoning, plus some links for further reading.

1. Maybe This Goes Without Saying, But Please Don’t Vote for Trump
It’d be easy to skip right over this point since almost everyone I know is either liberal or way-to-the-left of liberal. But it’s worth saying: Trump represents something ugly and dangerous, something that is already hurting people, and will only get worse if it is allowed to take root. I know that throwing the word “fascist” around is easy, but it’s been thrown at Trump so much this year because it truly fits. And that’s something we should all be taking seriously.

Read: Dawn Ennis: Black Lives Matter Labels Donald Trump a ‘Terrorist’ and a ‘Fascist’
Read: Amanda Taub: The Rise of American Authoritarianism
Read: Interview with historian Robert Paxton: Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

2. With Clinton vs. Stein, Let’s Start By Setting Our Egos Aside
I know smart, principled people who are voting for Clinton. I know smart, principled people who are voting for Stein. If we’re going to have a real conversation about the presidential election, it has to start there. Not every Clinton supporter is a DNC-brainwashed, talking-point-spouting footsoldier for neoliberalism (though yeah, some are), and not every Stein supporter is an ultra-privileged, holier-than-thou, former BernieBro with no tactical sense (though yeah, some are). There are valid, real-world, tactically-sound reasons for both positions; if you disagree with one or the other, remember that trying to shame people into supporting your candidate is probably not going to work. Erasing and/or using people of color as bludgeons (as both sides sometimes do) is also not going to work.

Read/Listen: Democracy Now Interview with Jill Stein and Ben Jealous
Read: Rosa Clemente: The Democratic Party Is Not What It Seems
Read: Andrea Merida: Why Dan Savage is Dead Wrong About Jill Stein and the Green Party

3. Change Comes From Movements, Not Politicians
I believe that the big problems in our society (including the ones that Trump has become a figurehead for) will be solved by organized, grassroots movements, not by politicians. No matter who wins the election in November, we will have work to do. No matter who sits in which office, it is up to the people to pressure them to do right. Change is the result of forces that are bigger than any single election. So organize. Join and/or support organizations doing the work. Use whatever power you have access to to push for change year-round.

Read: Ryan Williams-Virden: Electoral Politics in 2016; I Wanted to Believe
Read: Guante: Beyond the Benefit: Ten Ways Artists Can Help Build and Support Movements
Read: Guante: Resources, Links, and Readings Regarding Ongoing #BlackLivesMatter Protests

4. But Voting Does Matter
The previous point does not mean, however, that elections don’t matter. They do. Elected leaders are power bottlenecks. Electoral politics is about exerting some influence on the scene/stage/landscape. In other words, the actual battles will still be fought by organized movements, but getting one candidate vs. another in office may impact whether those battles are offensive or defensive in nature. Add to this the fundamental importance of local elections and referenda (especially here in MN), and it should be clear: voting is important. Go vote. Get your people to vote. It’s one of the easiest things we can do (at least those of us who haven’t been disenfranchised by a voter ID law or felony conviction), and can have a major impact on people’s lives.

Sign: NOC petition to restore the right to vote immediately upon release from incarceration
Read: Briana Bierschbach: A Preview of the 2016 Elections in MN
Read: Rachel Durkee: Ilhan Omar and Why We Need Legislators of Color (plus Ilhan’s website)

5. So For Whom Should We Vote?
When I am in the voting booth, the question that I will ask myself (in the context of the previous four points) is which choice helps build the movement?

Every election sees moderate liberals pressuring leftists and radicals into supporting the lesser-of-two-evils because “the other guy is really, really bad.” We can acknowledge that this is a tactic that serves to move the center of US politics to the right, while also acknowledging that it might actually be true sometimes. Trump is dangerous. So is Clinton, of course, but anyone paying attention to the conventions or the campaigns should be able to see that they are not “the same.”

Clinton is at least painted into a corner by the coalition that will get her elected, by her rhetoric and stated platform (which is getting more and more progressive, which also supports point #3 here: organizing works), and by us, the people who will hold her accountable. I may not trust her (not because of the misogynistic “she’s a snake woman” attitudes out there, but because she’s a politician and I don’t trust any of them), but I have more faith in our collective ability to organize offensively and keep building the movement under a Clinton presidency than a Trump one. There’s also the Supreme Court to consider.

That being said, I also hear my Green and radical friends who are saying that Clinton’s actual record should scare us as much as Trump’s unpredictability, and that Stein represents a chance to break from two-party politics and build a real alternative, not to mention that a strong show of support for Stein will draw Clinton (plus the 2018 and 2020 candidates)  further to the left. I also hear those who affirm that while Clinton’s policies will be better than Trump’s, many of them are still not worthy of our actual support.

So with all that in mind, here’s where I’m at with this.

If you live in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, or any other swing state, I would encourage you to consider casting a defensive vote against Trump and for Clinton. After hearing so many arguments on either side of this debate, this seems like one solid thing that just makes sense. Trump is worth defeating, and that will happen in those states.

Those of us in states that are safely red or blue may have more variables to consider (though, this year, I’d think critically about what “safe” means). Personally, I’ve yet to be won over by Stein (not so much in terms of the Green argument in general, but in terms of Stein’s campaign itself), and I’m sympathetic to the argument that Trump needs to be beaten badly, in every state, in order to send a message. But I refuse to outright dismiss people who disagree with me. I’m trying to read more, pay more attention, and stay engaged over the next few months (and beyond). I hope people check out all of the links in this piece, and feel free to add more in the comments.

In the end, I’d love if we could reject the kind of two-dimensional binary thinking that’s always so popular during convention season. After all, election time isn’t just about voting; it’s a time in which people are more engaged and interested in politics than usual. That’s a movement-building opportunity. No matter whom any of us vote for, let’s pay attention to down-ballot races, local referenda, and organizing efforts outside of the election. The challenges ahead of us don’t change. Keep working. Keep building.

(updated June 2018)

On a personal level, things are stressful right now. I know I’m not alone in that. A lot of us are trying to figure out how to best use whatever power, resources, or skills that we have to help make a difference. So I’m thinking about the artist’s role in helping to build a mass movement.

Of course, building a mass movement is everyone’s job, and everyone has to figure out how best to leverage their strengths, passions, resources, access, etc. to contribute to the larger struggle. I think of teachers shifting their lesson plans in order to talk about current events. I think of religious leaders doing the same thing during their sermons. I think of workers organizing anti-oppression committees or even just book clubs in their workplaces. I think of athletes wearing #blacklivesmatter shirts and refusing to be silent. I think of online communities. I think of students. I think of young people. Everyone has some kind of power or access to space that can help this movement grow.

When it comes to artists, this conversation usually begins and ends with our art. People talk about the power of narrative and framing, the power to make the abstract concrete, the power to touch people on an emotional level and transcend petty campaign politics. And I’m with that. But that’s not the conversation that I want to have here. Because I believe that as artists, we have more to offer than our art.

I’m not asking artists to take leadership roles in social movements they may or may not know much about. I’m also not asking anyone to radically change their style or preferred subject matter, or be someone that they’re not. I’m just saying that artists occupy strategically useful spaces in our communities, and have access to resources that can really help movements grow. In a perfect world, we’d all get directly involved in activist campaigns, but I know that reality doesn’t always allow that to happen. So I’m trying to think of spaces of synergy. We can cheerlead stuff when it happens. But we can also use our platforms to help make stuff happen.

What follows are ten ideas or potential starting points for how artists can support movements:

1. Commit and Get Connected
For me, this is first. This work has to be an intentional commitment, not just some stuff we maybe do if someone happens to ask us to do it. Look at your calendar, from the top of August to the top of November. Are there particular opportunities that stand out? Really big shows? Tours? Interviews? All I’m saying here is have a plan, even if it’s not 100% set-in-stone.

This also means getting connected. As artists, some of us have no idea what we’re talking about, and that’s okay. Some of us are super uncomfortable talking about things outside our comfort zone, and that’s also okay. I want us all to educate ourselves, but more than that, I want us to connect to people who already know their stuff: organizers. I posted this piece linking to a bunch of different local organizations doing racial justice work; there’s also this link which includes the info of a LOT of good organizations in the Twin Cities. That could be a start. Googling stuff could be a start. But find the people in your community who are doing the work, and get in the loop– whether by following them on social media, reaching out via email, or showing up to actions.

2. To Get This Out of The Way: Yes, Raising Money Matters Too
The title of this piece is not saying that artists shouldn’t play benefit shows; it’s saying that we can do a lot more than that. That being said, raising money for organizations, campaigns, and projects can be a very powerful action. So, if this is something you are able to do, get in touch with activist organizations and make yourself available; sometimes, that means playing a political fundraiser, and other times it means taking a space that isn’t political and doing the work there anyway. Here’s a piece I wrote a while back sharing some tips and tactics regarding how we put together benefit shows: Artist-Activist Partnerships: Five Tips for Booking Your Benefit.

3. Intentional Signal-Boosting
I think that the baseline here is to find people who know what they’re talking about, follow them on social media and/or in real life, and help boost their voices. Beyond that, though, the key word is intentionality. Retweeting people who know what they’re talking about is good. Posting links to articles we think people should read is good. But I think a lot of this is done haphazardly– we happen to see something, and then happen to RT it. But a little extra thought can go a long way. A few tactics:

  • Make more of an effort to signal-boost on-the-ground activists and not just media talking-heads. The latter group can have some great analysis, but boosting the voices of the people in the trenches is important. This also relates to making sure that we’re signal-boosting the people who are directly affected by the issue (for example, Matt McGorry might have something good to say about intersectionality, but so do a lot of Black women, who have been saying good things).
  • Create a Twitter list or activists and organizations that you can check regularly for good stuff to retweet.
  • Whenever an artist with a lot of followers speaks out about an issue, that’s good. But I also think that there is a continuum of value at play. Posting a statement or a rant is good. Posting a rant with a link to an article with more information is maybe better. Posting a rant with a link to an article and info on an upcoming action is better still. I wrote about this idea  the continuum of hot-takes, if you will here.
  • There are weeks when I don’t post anything self-promotional. Just links and resources. And yeah, I lose some followers who aren’t trying to hear that stuff, but I gain more. This isn’t just altruism. Especially with how Facebook’s algorithm works today (explicitly self-promotional posts are more likely to stay invisible to fans); posting about current events and struggles just makes sense.

4. Using Artist Space as Activist Space
The average club show is 4-5 hours long. If you have 3-4 acts on the bill, there is still plenty of time to be creative with how that space is used. The most obvious thing is to share the mic  invite local activists to speak between sets and promote what they’re doing. Set them up with a table next to the merch table. This should be a regular, expected occurrence at shows.

We can also be more creative. I mean, you can do a lot with an hour of stage time. Most of us just perform for an hour, maybe with some awkward banter between songs/poems. But what else can we do? Some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had on stage have been when I’ve decided to not just do my ten best songs or whatever, and really try to connect to the audience, to have a conversation, to do something together beyond “look at me for an hour because I’m great.”

At one show, we took a big chalkboard and I asked audience members to write down actions they could take regarding police brutality and the prison-industrial complex. This was during those twenty minutes at every show between the listed start-time and the actual start-time. By the time we did start the show, the board was full of ideas. I’m not saying that that’s the most transformative thing you can do on stage, but I think it is an example of how breaking the fourth wall and being more interactive can really add to the power of an event. Have a discussion. Play a short video. Stage theatrical disruptions. Be creative. We frown upon teachers who just lecture for an hour straight; I think we can hold performing artists to a similar standard.

We can also re-think the idea of the merch table. Yes, you have your CDs, vinyl and shirts. But it’s such a simple thing to also include handouts, literature, petitions, voter registration clipboards, or whatever else from local organizers. Again, this is not any kind of radical reconceptualization of how we do our work. This is easy, but stuff like this can make a difference– especially in the context of the next point.

5. A Tour Is Never Just a Tour
Let’s think critically about the power that we have as touring artists. To use my community as an example: we know that in elections, cities (especially the TC) generally vote progressive, and the suburbs and rural areas generally don’t. Obviously, a lot of this has to with demographics, but there’s also the fact that progressive campaigns are easier to organize in big cities. So who has access to thousands of people outside of the metro area? Touring artists. When we play shows in Bemidji or Brainerd or Winona or Duluth or Rochester or St. Cloud or Morris or wherever (including the Twin Cities, because we shouldn’t make the assumption that everyone here is “already down,” because they’re not), that’s a tremendous opportunity. We can connect to activists in those cities too, and figure out how we might help boost their efforts. Touring artists have the potential to reach and influence thousands of potential voters and potential activists– especially if the previous two points are involved.

6. Shoot a PSA
If you’re even a halfway-successful artist, people are paying attention to you. People like some aspect of what you’re about. Maybe they just think you’re cute. Maybe they think you’re brilliant. Maybe they just like you because their friends like you  it doesn’t matter. You can take advantage of your position by shooting a simple PSA, even just on your phone or laptop. It can be short and informal (just asking people to, for example, vote yes on the $15 minimum wage referendum), or super well thought-out like a speech or TEDx Talk or whatever. I’ve done this before, and plan on doing more. Where social media posts are somewhat transitory, a video might have longer “legs” in terms of getting seen by more and more people.

7. Remember that Networks Aren’t Just About Social Media
When we talk about signal-boosting and network-sharing, it’s easy to focus on social media. But as artists, our networks run deeper than our likes and followers. We can mobilize people. When we’ve made connections to organizations, maybe played a fundraiser or two, done some signal-boosting, etc. – these partnerships can evolve into something deeper and stronger. This will look different in different contexts; maybe the point here is that we have to be open to ideas, strategies, and actions that don’t fit neatly into a ten-point bullet point list.

Projects, initiatives, and campaigns pop up all the time, and being plugged in already is vital to being able to truly support them in ways that transcend signal-boosting. I know this point is a little more abstract than the others, but we’re talking about what it means to really be part of a community, as opposed to just applauding that community. I’ve also written about this before: “In Defense of ‘Local’ Artists.” Part of the work is being ready to answer when you are called.

8. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Timely Instead of Timeless
All of the points on this list can be acted upon even if you’re not a super political artist. From navel-gazing indie bands to party rappers to club DJs  everyone can do this work. Sometimes the most effective “political” events aren’t actually explicitly political; if you can get people to come to a show who don’t care about the issues, and then make those issues part of that show, you’re reaching a valuable audience.

Art is beautiful and important, but I really believe that it’s the relationships around the art, the community built by art, and the networks cultivated by art that matter even more. That being said, we are artists, and one thing that we can always do is make art about the issues that we care about. Especially if you’re one of those aforementioned artists who isn’t known for being politicalthat just means you can make a bigger splash when you do release a song that grapples with an issue.

It would be beyond the scope of this piece to really dig into what makes political art more effective vs. less effective (here are some thoughts on that). Use your style, your voice, your perspective. Don’t try to speak for other people; tackle issues from your own position. Think about who your audience is and how you might reach them. Those were all questions on our mind when we made the Post-Post-Race album. I’d love to see more artists doing project-length stuff like that, but even just a random soundcloud single is an option. Collaborate. Experiment. Have fun.

9. Lead by Example
This is a point that transcends election season, but how can we use our position(s) in the community to fight for lasting political and cultural change? What might it mean if artists refuse to play venues that have bad reputations in terms of their staff/security’s relationship with patrons of color? Or refuse to play venues that don’t offer gender-neutral restrooms? Or refuse to jump on a bill or sit on a panel when everyone is white? Or male? What might it mean to hold your local media, venues, radio, etc. accountable? This will look different in different scenes, of course. It can also be proactive instead of reactive: what might it look like to collaborate across genres and scenes on a community-oriented project? What might it look like to invest in alternative media or other local systems/structures? How can we do more to pass on skills and opportunities to the next generation? The possibilities are endless.

10. Dive In and Get Involved
This won’t be an option for everyone, but the best way to make a difference is still to just show up and get engaged. Join an organization. Go to meetings. As artists, we have a lot of useful skills (press/media relations, flyer design, web/social media management, systems thinking, speechwriting, event organizing, and much more) that might only get a chance to be fully activated if we’re down there in the streets with the activists and organizers who really fuel this movement. Make banners. Write chants. Write press releases.

Activism is about relationships. Even if you can’t formally sign on and attend weekly meetings, those relationships are vital. That kind of brings us full-circle back to point #1. Connect. If nothing else, connect. Shout to Ricardo Levins Morales, Juxtaposition Arts, TruArtSpeaks, Intermedia Arts, Voices for Racial Justice’s Youth Cultural Organizing Institute, Rogue Citizen, and everyone else doing cool work around the intersections of art, social justice, and movement building (feel free to add more in the comments).

Again, the key word in all of this is “intentional.” A lot of artists are on some “I don’t want to be preachy; my music encourages people to think for themselves.” But right now, in 2016, in the world we live in? That feels like a cop-out. It feels like wasted potential. It feels like, to paraphrase Howard Zinn, trying to stand still on a moving train. Sharing resources isn’t being preachy. Connecting your art to movement-building efforts doesn’t make you self-important. It’s just a concrete, effective way to leverage the fact that we have audiences, audiences that activist movements can’t always reach as easily. That’s power– and it means nothing if it isn’t acted upon. “Doing good work” is easy. “Building a movement” takes more than that, and I hope that the communities through which I move are up to the challenge.

illustration by Jon Hunt & Kahlil Brewington

Definitely open to hearing more thoughts and ideas in the comments. I’d also like to end this with an interesting example of an arts organization taking the initiative to help shift the culture, especially considering their audience: check out Pollen’s “In Memoriam of Philando Castile.” This project includes the work of many incredible MN artists, all using their art in different ways to respond to this injustice, imagine a better world, and call that world into being.

Like a lot of people in my community, I was out this past weekend at a couple of different actions/protests regarding the killing of Philando Castile (and others across the country). Rather than write my own big think-piece here, I thought a better use of this platform would be to collect a bunch of the links and resources that have been helpful to me over the past week (I also did this back in 2014, but it’s time for an update). I’m framing this around the question “BUT WHAT CAN I DO?” which has come up a lot recently.

I think it’s important to note that there’s no easy answer to that question. I want to say “organize.” I also want to say, though, that at different times, “doing something” will look different. It might be calling a jail to check on arrested protestors. It might be just showing up to whatever action is happening and standing in solidarity. It might be donating money to a bail fund, or dropping off supplies at an occupation, or filming a police encounter, or going to a meeting, or being there for a friend, or organizing a healing space or benefit concert, or a million other things. It doesn’t mean, however, sitting back and criticizing what’s going on when you have no skin in the game. It doesn’t mean emailing your one Black friend and asking them what to do (they probably have enough on their mind right now). And it certainly doesn’t mean business-as-usual. There’s always something that can be done, even if that “something” isn’t a big red button that fixes everything right away.

So here are a few starting points. Feel free to add more thoughts in the comments.

Follow: Activists and Organizers Doing the Work
No matter who you are or in what ways you want to get involved, I think the first step would be to follow the organizers on the ground– not just the media talking heads, or artists who support the work, but the actual activists and organizations on the front lines. I will list Twitter handles here, but many of these orgs are also on Facebook and other social media.

  • Twin Cities
  • National
    • Part of the strength of the #BlackLivesMatter movement is that it’s pretty local-focused. There are “chapters” in some cities, but there are also organizations and collectives that use the phrase as a rallying cry rather than a specific organizational relationship. That being said, a few accounts that tweet info regularly include @BreeNewsome@DeRay, @Nettaaaaaaaa, and the national BlackLivesMatter account. I also always appreciate @PrisonCulture‘s perspective on the broader project of abolishing the prison-industrial complex. Note that this is not a list of the “most important” organizers, or founders of the movement– just a few links for people interested in more information. Feel free to add more.

Learn: Readings and Resources
Here are a few links to readings that have been useful this past week, both in terms of learning and challenging myself, and in dialogue with others.

Organize: Get In Where You Fit In
I know that this is sometimes easier said than done. But it’s still the answer. Change happens when people get together and make it happen. What might this look like?

  • Joining, supporting, and/or donating to existing organizations. The links in the first section of this piece might be a good start.
  • Showing up. Rallies, marches, vigils, and protests don’t solve problems on their own. But the bigger they are, the more energy gets infused into the movement that will solve those problems. Apart from that, these are the places to go to get plugged in.
  • Think about your own positionality and the spaces you have access to. For me, since my job is to build with college and high school students around the country, it’s pretty easy to make sure that a racial justice focus is part of that. Depending on what identities you hold, what your job is, or what spaces you have access to, this will look different. But thinking about our peer groups, workplaces, places of worship, families, neighborhoods, and beyond is a good step. Make problems that are so often so huge and overwhelming local. The thing is, there’s no easy five-step checklist to do that. It takes critical thought, and work, and dialogue. But it can definitely be done.
I hope some of this can be useful. Feel free to add more thoughts or links in the comments.

Think Critically: Whose Narrative is Valued?
Thinking specifically of this past weekend, if you only listen to what the nightly news says, or what St. Paul’s mayor says, you’re not getting the whole story. Because where are they getting theirs? Often, the “official” police narrative becomes the story that gets repeated, even if that narrative isn’t entirely accurate. A few links:

  • While a lot of the local media’s coverage focused on the simplified narrative of “violent protestors,” this piece from HuffPo’s Black Voices gives a more nuanced report of what actually happened.
  • Do You Know the History of the Rondo Neighborhood? The march that shut down I94 had a lot of symbolic weight behind it. If anyone is going to be angry about a march shutting down a freeway, they should be a lot angrier about a freeway tearing apart a neighborhood. We need to know our history. Fadumo says it best.
  • Finally, the homie Abeer Syedah posted a firsthand account of what went down:

The narrative that’s being painted about last night’s protest is appalling. As someone who, in my work capacity, engages with mainstream media & with liberal/progressive public figures, I find myself sometimes frustrated with the way stories are warped and repeated by those who aren’t experiencing it. But it’s been a while since I’ve seen anything like this. 

Some of my role last night was to help people stay safe, peaceful, and resourceful. This means that I witnessed, or was involved in, some of the incidents being very much so warped in the storytelling of this protest. Yes, rocks, water bottles, and other items were thrown at the police. Majority of them were thrown by folks who identified themselves as attending the march “for myself” and disrespected Black Lives Matter. I personally confronted two of them on two separate occasions, before things were thrown, and they made it clear that they weren’t going to listen and their goal would endanger the entire crowd. Mica begged over the bullhorn for them to stop. Community members would ambush them and make them leave. On several occasions, I watched (and filmed) community members de-escalating folks ready to cause harm. I cannot put into words the DESPERATION in people’s voices & actions as they told agitators to “stop throwing shit, stop agitating, you’re endangering everyone, this isn’t us.” 

Before the march began, through the bullhorn during the entire march, and after, Black Lives Matter pleaded for nonviolence and non-agitation, even though the Black community has not been afforded that treatment. 

I counted at least a dozen firecracker-like items thrown at the crowd by the police. At one point we were gassed. I coughed so much, I vomited with blood. A woman next to me was heaving on the ground while folks ran over to her with gallons of milk to lessen the burn. Rubber bullets and markers were shot at the crowd. At this point, most major news media outlets, aside from the people of Unicorn Riot who livestreamed everything, had left the ground scene. 

All the while, before things started getting really poor, people were told to make sure kids were out of the crowd. They were put on the pickup truck used by BLM to drive them away from the situation and keep them safe. Instead, the cops blocked them from leaving and, eventually, maced this truck with kids on board. Mayor Chris Coleman grossly and falsely claimed kids were being used as shields. Was he there? Where are the kids’ stories? 

If you disagree with this protest style or the cause as a whole, that is a different conversation (that I had in 2014 and you’re welcome to use those Facebook statuses as my responss to critiques of protest styles and the BLM cause) but what I’m trying to make clear is that the stories being told are biased. Ignoring our words. Because, you know what I saw?

I saw hundreds of white people link arms and stand ready to defend the black community from danger or harm. I saw people whose cars got blocked on I94 raise their fists in the air with us, give us thumbs up, and chant ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ from their cars. I saw families, couples, friends, strangers, black people, white people, APIs, Latixs and/or Native people, queer/trans people, straight people, men, women, folks of all gender identities, old people, young people, parents, and kids, marching together. I saw people carrying pictures of Philando while singing and dancing to Purple Rain.

I saw, and joined, people grabbing empty water bottles from the ground so they could recycle them later because “we respect our streets.” I saw people, with tears in their eyes, chant “no justice, no peace,” and could only imagine which of their loved ones they saw in Philando, Alton, Tamir, Freddie, Walter, Jamar, Eric, Mike, Sandra, Akai, and hundreds more. I saw people making sure we never forget these folks who were LOVED, had FAMILIES, had ASPIRATIONS. I saw people who were demanding that people not forget, not move on with their lives, not be comfortable, with the executions of people who did not deserve to die at the hands of those sworn to protect them. I saw a lot of radical love.

Fuck violence against anyone. Stop provoking a war when we want it to be democracy. Tons of arrests happened last night. The agitators don’t seem to be among them. Students, young people, old people, people of all races, are. UMN students are among them. I support them & am requesting their release as a civically-engaged Minnesotan. If you want to donate to the bail fund, send via Paypal to blacklivesmattermpls2016@gmail.com. If you want to request the release of protesters, call Ramsey County District Attorney John Choi’s office at 651-266-3222. You can also contact St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

That might be a good thing to end with for now. Again, feel free to add more links, resources, or thoughts in the comments.