Film: John Lewis: Good Trouble

I just watched the great documentary about civil rights icon John Lewis, and half of my ticket goes to my local movie theater, The Roxie.

It is remarkable to know how much work and self-sacrifice effective mass movements require, and how deeply impressive it is that heroes and heroines dedicate so much of their lives so directly to making things better for all of us.

John Lewis: Good Trouble | John Lewis: Good Trouble – Virtual Cinema

Using interviews and rare archival footage, JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE chronicles Lewis’ 60-plus years of social activism and legislative action on civil rights, voting rights, gun control, health-care reform and immigration.

Also: MASS MOVEMENTS WORK.

News: Happy Loving Day!

Yes, inter-racial marriage used to be illegal in many parts of the USA. Until 1967. Which is SUPER RECENTLY.

Hooray for Loving v. Virginia!

Loving Day

Loving Day is an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen U.S. states. In the United States, anti-miscegenation laws were U.S.

From the Wikipedia Article, above:

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

-Mildred Loving, June 2007, on the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia

News: Black Lives Matter (to more people, finally!), and Current Events Remain Current

I feel like I watch three genres of video now:
(1) videos of peaceful demonstrators out in public somewhere in the world (I like these!)
(2) police violently attacking peaceful demonstrators (these upset me), and
(3) police violently attacking journalists (these anger me).

(There is a subgenre of (2) that involves police violently attacking passersby and people standing on their own property while watching (1) or (2), but I haven’t made a habit of watching that content yet.)

There are THOUSANDS of films in these genres now, and so I’m only going to share a few links to solid compilations of those last two. The novel and interesting thing about the compilations I like best are (a) they are from overseas, from the UK Guardian, and (b) they are from a mainstream news organization! The US domestic press used to refer to peaceful protesters as “violent,” even while showing their own videos of people peacefully sitting on the ground being beaten by police, because it fit their narrative that the authorities are always inherently good. Now that everyone has phone cameras and can see with their own eyes, that approach is only working with people who want to believe that protesters are bad and deserve violence.

Category 2, from June 6, 2020:

Protests about police brutality are met with wave of police brutality across US

The nationwide anti-police brutality protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US have been marked by widespread incidents of police violence, including punching, kicking, gassing, pepper-spraying and driving vehicles at often peaceful protesters in states across the country. The actions have left thousands of protesters in jail and injured many others, leaving some with life-threatening injuries.

The Guardian’s compilation a 260+ link compilation of police brutality videos within Twitter, which started on May 30, 2020. (The links are not all in chronological order, because: Twitter). It feels like calling this “criminal justice news” is ironic, considering the overt police riots (click the image of the tweet below):

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One more, out of many I could have posted, for Category 3, from June 6, 2020:

Teargassed, beaten up, arrested: what freedom of the press looks like in the US right now

Caught in the middle of a scrum covering protests in Minneapolis on Saturday, photojournalist Ed Ou could feel his hands and face were wet. For a long time, he didn’t know if it was teargas, pepper spray, or blood – in the end, it turned out to be a combination of all three.

I’ve read notes from people who watch television, saying that the TV stations TRIED the “protestors bad, police good” line at first, but when no one was falling for it, actually started reporting the news. I don’t know if their own journalists had to be attacked for them to ‘get it,’ or if the scales suddenly fell from their eyes. But: what a remarkable turn of events.

News: more than I can process easily

I want to write briefly about the remarkable time we are living in.

I’ve been trying to process even more murders of black Americans by police on the news, events which have become all too common throughout my life. The era of cell phone videos changed this, but only to the point that we could bear witness to the horror more directly, and observe that the stories the police used to justify the killings never withstood scrutiny, even to the (surprised!) eyes of people who previously willed the news away with hazy implications of guilt, as if hazy implications justify spontaneous, extrajudicial executions.

As with US school shootings, it seemed that no amount of loss could make anything change. Each time, there would be hope that THIS would be the event that bent the arc of history toward justice. Each time, it seemed THIS would be the day when people stood up and said that we are NOT A COUNTRY that allows this to happen, and it would end. But each time wasn’t that time.

But now, unexpectedly, there seems to be… a sort of reckoning.

I’m afraid to get my hopes up that it will be that time. It could be! But I’m afraid to hope.

This reckoning arose not only over the original event, namely the recorded murder of a man named George Floyd who was suffocated by police kneeling on his neck, but grew dramatically over the outlandish assaults by police against people peacefully protesting against police brutality.

The police have been shooting journalists with rubber bullets. The police have been been arresting news crews on the air. The police have been tear gassing members of the clergy.

Individually they may have been thinking: police are never punished for brutality, even if the brutality is recorded, so this won’t matter. Collectively, they were surely also thinking this, because they were all choosing to behave the same way, and this is how structural racism works.

Yet…. this is playing out differently.

The automatic deference is gone.

Diplomatic complaints are being lodged over attacks on credentialed press from other nations.

Police officers are being fired for misconduct (which had previously just been deemed regular conduct).

British youth with ADORABLE British accents are having mass solidarity demonstrations, and hearing them chant, “Black Lives Matter!” so Britishly delighted me on every level, even before looking at the other solidarity demonstrations around the world.

I don’t know where this is going, but I know I want to bend it toward justice. I want us ALL to bend it toward justice.