Tag: Violence

Anti-Asian Violence: Readings and Resources

Anti-Asian Violence: Readings and Resources

A man shot eight people in Georgia this week, six of them Asian Americans and seven of them women. This is yet another tragic reminder of the devastating effects of gun violence—but those who think this is an isolated incident against Asian Americans haven’t been paying attention.

Storm clouds
Not only were the majority of victims Asian American women, but the spokesperson for the county sheriff’s office dismissed the seriousness of the incident by saying the shooter was “having a bad day.” The same spokesperson had posted an image on his Facebook page of a t-shirt blaming China for the pandemic, reported BuzzFeed News.

According to the “Stop AAPI Hate National Report” (PDF),  released Tuesday, there were 3,795 incidents of anti-Asian hate received by the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center between March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021—before this week’s shooting. They note, however, that “The number of hate incidents reported to our center represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur.” Women reported incidents 2.3 times more than men.

And according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, 2020 saw “a near-doubling of white supremacist propaganda efforts,” including the distribution of racist, antisemitic, and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to see this as nurtured by Donald Trump’s consistently bullying, racist, remarks and his encouragement of white supremacist groups. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition aimed at addressing anti-Asian discrimination, was in fact formed because of the anti-Asian rhetoric spouted by Trump and many of his followers, who blamed China for the spread of COVID-19. That rhetoric and those fears were picked up by many, in Georgia and elsewhere; I’m not going to repeat any of the incidents here; they’re vile and could be triggering. If you want to learn more, however, look at Stop AAPI Hate’s “Georgia Report” from last December.

One read I found thoughtful, as a White American wanting to be a better ally, is “What This Wave of Anti-Asian Violence Reveals About America,” by Anne Anlin Cheng in the New York Times, which was written at the end of February (before the shooting!) and discusses anti-Asian violence in the broader context of race in America. She notes, “Thanks to the ‘Model Minority’ myth … Asian-Americans have long been used by mainstream white culture to shame and drive a wedge against other minority groups…. They are persistently racialized, yet they often don’t count in the American racial equation.” She observes, “There is something wrong with the way Americans think about who deserves social justice—as though attention to nonwhite groups, their histories and conditions, is only as pressing as the injuries that they have suffered.” Democracy, she says, is not about identifying with others like yourself nor about giving up your self-interest, but rather “about learning to see your self-interest as profoundly and inevitably entwined with the interests of others.”

How can we do better at that? I’m not sure I have any answers, but I think we all need to ask ourselves the question.

Those of us who are not Asian should also try to understand more about anti-Asian hate in the U.S. Try “Asian-Americans Are Being Attacked. Why Are Hate Crime Charges So Rare?” by Nicole Hong and Jonah E. Bromwich of the New York Times, and the Angry Asian Man blog’s latest “Read These Blogs” post, which rounds up a few additional pieces. Additionally, author Malinda Lo, whose latest novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club is both a lesbian coming-of-age story and a look at anti-Asian and anti-queer sentiment in the 1950s, recommended a few items in this Twitter thread (click the timestamp to see the whole thread):

Need to report an incident of hate or want to take action against it?

I have lost track of the number of shootings I have written about since starting this blog in 2005. Some have been acts of violence in schools; some are in other public places; many have targeted specific marginalized communities: the LGBTQ community; the Jewish community; the Sikh community; the Black community, and many more. Some of the shootings are communities of which I am part; others are not, but all are all equally horrific. My heart goes out to those in the Asian community today. We as a country have to do better.

Extra! Extra!: Making Sense of a Summer Shaped by Violence

Extra! Extra!: Making Sense of a Summer Shaped by Violence

This week’s Extra! Extra! brings news from yet another grim week of police brutality in America. The state-sanctioned violence continues, people protest peacefully and are attacked and even killed by law enforcement and vigilantes (who are also, more or less, supported by law enforcement). We also bring a brief update on the state of the US election after both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions wrapped up, an update on some of the situations we’ve been following in Lebanon and Russia and, finally, on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another Day In America, Another Story of Police Brutality

Fatal Police Shooting Of Black Man In Louisiana Sparks Outrage And Protest

Natalie: Today, you will be reminded that it is the 12th anniversary of Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination for President. Today, you will also be reminded that it is the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Activists from across the globe are converging on Washington, DC — both physically and virtually — to echo King’s clarion call for civil and economic justice.

But what you might not hear about is that today is also the 65th anniversary of the murder of Emmett Till. For the sin of saying “bye baby” after purchasing bubble gum, the teenager was dragged “from his bed, beat…to the point of disfigurement, and shot…before [his body was tossed] into the Tallahatchie River with a cotton-gin fan attached with barbed wire laced to his neck to weigh him down.” Till’s mama, famously, left his casket open on the day of his funeral so America could see what it had wrought. It happened 65 years ago…we’ve never been so far from Till’s death and yet the environment that provoked it feels as alive today as it ever has during my lifetime.

After video shows Wisconsin police shooting a Black man multiple times, National Guard is called to Kenosha

Natalie: Last week, in this very space, I urged folks to do more to protect black and brown trans women. I castigated those who stood by and did nothing while three trans women were getting beaten. Then, because irony is so especially cruel, the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin kill Jacob Blake for doing something… he is paralyzed from the waist down and (!!) handcuffed in a hospital bed for breaking up a fight.

I don’t know what to do or say except that I’m tired. I’m heartbroken and I’m so, so tired.

Rachel: The unspeakably violent and brutal attempted murder of Jacob Blake absolutely knocked the wind out of me; after a summer of such intense and inspiring organizing, it felt unbearable to know that even with a once-in-a-generation moment of unity and outrage, police still felt comfortable doing this. I’m also so, so glad that Blake has survived, and am infuriated that he remains under arrest (for what???) and hope he can be reunited with his family soon. I also want to note that after his injuries, Blake joins a multiply marginalized group as a Black disabled man, and it’s all our duty to support him and other Black disabled people in the specificity of what they experience; we can’t forget about Blake as a person either because he survived the attempt at murdering him or because we think of him as somehow no longer a participant in our world because he’s disabled. Standing against the police violence enacted on Blake means continuing to support his needs as a disabled person in the long-term, especially knowing that we live in a state that won’t. Blake and other disabled folks are actually at greater risk of police violence now; disabled people experience extremely disproportionate rates of police violence, and Black disabled folks are at high particular risk. The pandemic we’re living through will also leave generations of people disabled in ways that they weren’t prior to COVID, and it’s a pandemic that’s disproportionately impacting Black folks in the US — it’s an extremely important time for able-bodied and non-Black people to really prioritize how to materially support and act in solidarity with Black disabled people.

FBI: Police fatally shoot man on North Dakota reservation

Natalie: Unbeknownst to most, the group with the highest rate of deaths from police brutality aren’t Black or Latinx; they’re Native Americans. Their communities are, historically, overpoliced and, far too often, the consequences are deadly. Native lives matter…and we should say their name too: Brandon Laducer.

Phoenix police held man on hot asphalt for nearly 6 minutes before he died, video shows


Himani: Every time I read a headline about another person (almost always Black or Native American) shot by the police (or someone who thinks they are the police, because really it doesn’t matter either way), I think to myself, “And how many more people are there who were shot by the police that I don’t even know about?”

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say, and this violence doesn’t shape my life the way that it does for Black and Indigenous people. I want to try to be hopeful that change is on the horizon — somewhere — because, as a friend so powerfully pointed out to me recently, it’s not my place to be hopeless when my life isn’t the one that’s on the line. But really, truly, what will it take to change this? I can’t understand how anyone supports law enforcement or those who think they’re acting in the spirit of law enforcement after all of this. And yet somehow, I’m still walking by houses and businesses with the police flag hanging outside. How can a person be so cavalier?

The people who commit these acts of brutality truly lack humanity. And the people who abet them also clearly do, as well.

There Is No Debate To Be Had: Police Reform Does Not Work

When “Police Reform” Came to Kenosha, Wisconsin

“Most Cops Are Good”

Himani: How many times have we heard this story? A city invested in police reform and the police violence continued. But as Natalie discusses in greater detail below, law enforcement has a white supremacy problem. How can you give so much power to people who are so clearly adherents of violent extremism and then think a couple of aluminum guardrails are going to keep them in check? The real question is why anyone has that much power in the first place.

White supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across US, report says

Natalie: Remember in 2009 when the Obama administration released a report called, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” and Republicans proceeded to lose their shit? The administration stuck it quietly back on the shelf to quell the backlash. In the decade since, the tide of violence it portended has come to pass.

The Brennan Center’s report, “Hidden in Plain Sight: Racism, White Supremacy, and Far-Right Militancy in Law Enforcement,” echoes a lot of that 2009 DHS report…only with a greater focus on law enforcement. We’d be fools not to listen this time.

Police Brutality Is Horrific. And It’s Just One Part of the Problem.

Black Homeowners Face Discrimination in Appraisals

Natalie: This is egregious and offensive — it’s stunning how blatant this is — but, as someone who grew up in a multi-racial home, it completely tracks with my experience. Even today, I’m nervous about accompanying my white mother into certain spaces where my black skin might prove disadvantageous to her.

Black Workers Are More Likely to Be Unemployed but Less Likely to Get Unemployment Benefits

Himani: I’m not really sure this comes as news to anyone. But somehow, amazingly, stereotypes about who “exploits” social services abound.

To Reappropriate Orwell: “All Protests Are Equal, But Some Protests Are More Equal.”

Unmasked Protesters Push Past Police Into Idaho Lawmakers’ Session

Natalie: A few weeks ago in Tennessee, the state legislature passed a law cracking down on protesters. Under the new law, if Tennessee protesters illegally camp on state property, they face a Class E felony, punishable by six years and prison and the loss of the right to vote. Before the bills passage, State Rep. Jason Hodges spoke the quiet part aloud, “We seem to not worry about protesting when we as white people show up to our capitols with AR-15s, but when black people show up with signs, it just seems like all of a sudden we want to pass legislation.”

It is impossible to see these scenes out of Idaho and not think about that…about who the state allows to protest and whose voices are welcome on the public square and whose are not. This report from NPR notes that six years ago, activists advocating for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to be added to the state’s Human Rights Act were arrested, despite being relatively silent. But these people, who carry weapons to intimidate the people around them and who vandalize state property, are just allowed to do so…without any repercussions.

Rachel: I’m reminded of the history of American gun control (“gun control,” such as it is) here — to the extent that we have laws regulating what kind of firearms one can own and who can own them, much of that is due to the Black Panthers’ (legal) open carrying of firearms for their self-defense and defense of their communities in the 1960s. This Buzzfeed piece goes into much more detail (very worth reading!) but as the head summarizes: “when Black people carried guns, conservatives supported gun control.” A bill aimed at restricting the open carry of loaded firearms was actually introduced by “a conservative Republican in the California legislature named Don Mulford, who sought to prohibit the public carrying of loaded firearms in the state — a move clearly targeted to disband or weaken the Black Panthers by criminalizing their signature tactic. The NRA supported Mulford’s bill, which was consistent with the moderate stance the organization had taken on gun control legislation throughout most of its history up to that point.” Since then, (limited) gun control measures have passed into law in the US; however, we can see from the unspeakable violence Kyle Rittenhouse was easily able to unleash that they’re enforced in a racially disparate way (Rittenhouse’s open carrying of firearms was no problem, but we’re supposed to agree that Blake’s allegedly inside his car somehow was?). Much like legally mandated COVID precautions, much like laws aimed at protesters, drug offenses, sexual assault offenses; much like everything. It’s a sobering reminder both of how entrenched anti-Black racism is in our infrastructures as well as the limits of trying to legislate our values if we don’t change our culture.

17-year-old charged with murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings

Natalie: There’s a continuum of how we allow whiteness and white supremacy in this country…which begins with insolent rage and allowing whiteness to assert its ownership over space that doesn’t belong to them, as in Idaho…and this feels like how it ends, with two dead at the hands of a whiteness that could not, would not, be contained.

The police welcomed Kyle Rittenhouse and his weapon of war to Kenosha. They gave him water and made him feel like one of them…the very thing he’d always wanted. Then he kills two people: the first because of a plastic bag apparently, the second because someone dared try to hold him accountable. That’s how fuckin’ fragile whiteness is: it can be sent into a murderous rage by a fuckin’ plastic bag.

Rachel: It’s truly impossible at this point to even pretend not to be aware of the obvious epidemic of radicalized, murderous young white men. The pattern is literally always the same: indoctrinated in extremist, violent communities on the internet linked to white supremacist, conspiracy theory and/or incel movements (the overlap between which is not coincidental!); usually early signs of intimate violence enacted against women in their personal lives, and culminating in a violent public outburst with a high-powered weapon, generally including a callout or public claiming of their extremist online communities, which then galvanizes those communities all over again, heightening and perpetuating the cycle. This is undeniable; it has happened constantly for… decades? now, from the École Polytechnique massacre to Elliot Rodger to the recent shootings in Hanau to Kyle Rittenhouse. The list goes on.

It’s not mysterious or even difficult to figure out how to address; police recently identified a protester through a blurry photograph of a t-shirt that they tracked the Etsy purchase of. Simply put, if they wanted to identify and monitor the people who are causing this, they absolutely could; they have chosen not to. These shootings keep continuing because their victims are women (often sex workers), Black people, and immigrants: people whose lives the state doesn’t care enough to try to protect, in the most generous reading. Before he started shooting, police in Kenosha welcomed the militia Rittenhouse was a part of, offering him a bottle of water; he was arrested in his home state of Illinois, after returning home freely, not at the scene where he murdered two people. Do we think it’s somehow just an unfortunate accident these attacks keep happening?

Himani: I agree with everything Rachel has said above. I also want to add this angle: America is so utterly hypocritical in how it thinks about “terrorism.” Message boards with white supremacists explicitly talking about harming civilians and elected officials? No problem, the FBI doesn’t care. Brown person taking a picture of a bridge? Quite possibly a terrorist, law enforcement better go check that out. (This did actually happen to someone I know in the wake of 9/11.) It’s just… I honestly don’t have words. Every time someone tries to make an argument that none of these things are about race, I really don’t have the patience any more. Everything. Every damned single thing in this country is about race and proximity to whiteness. That’s all it comes down to.

And what’s also disheartening is in the same breath we talk about how the future lies in the hands of Gen Z, we have indoctrinated young white supremacists of the Millennial and Gen Z age. We saw this in Charleston, and we saw this in Charlottesville, and we see this again now in Kenosha. So, what exactly is the future we have to hope for?

Facebook chose not to act on militia complaints before Kenosha shooting

Natalie: Facebook has already shown itself to be a threat to democracy and now it has blood on its hands.

Himani: Isn’t it amazing how Facebook just blocked Thai protest groups under pressure from the monarchy, and yet somehow white supremacists inciting violence in America fly under its radar — even after being tagged as violating Facebook policies?

US Election 2020 Update

We Now Know How Much Trump’s Postmaster General Slowed Down the Mail

Two women say they didn’t know their naturalization ceremony would be used at GOP convention

Natalie: Of course they didn’t ask…of course they didn’t.

Himani: The really fucked up thing about this is that even if they had asked, what could any of these people have said? Who is going to pass up a naturalization ceremony when greencards and visas have been basically ground to a halt.

And speaking of the RNC:

Natalie: It is amazing the sheer number of lies one man can fit into an hour-long speech. Both Rachel Maddow on MSNBC and Daniel Dale on CNN exhausted themselves addressing just a small portion of them.

Earlier this week, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, suggested that Joe Biden not debate the pathological president ahead of November’s election. She said, “I do not think that the president of the United States has comported himself in a way that anybody has any association with truth, evidence, data and facts.”

After Trump’s display last night, it’s hard to argue that she’s not right.

Voting Is Broken. It’s the Only Way Out.

Why We’re Voting

Himani: With so much broken in the world, with so much broken in America specifically, with a primary election that was so disappointing to so many people, it is so easy to feel hopeless. I understand that, really I do. These five LGBTQ+ activists have no illusions about the choices before us: the man currently in office who openly supports white supremacists and the man who is stuck on the idea that “there are a few bad apples.” But they also have no illusions about which of these two men can actually be held accountable and which of these two administrations is more dangerous.

There’s so much that can be said and that will be said about this election. But this roundtable is definitely a powerful read.

And Other Things That Are Not Looking So Hot

Mexico’s Government Can’t Find 70,000 Missing People

Tortures and Enforced Disappearances: The Bloody History of Bangladesh’s Elite Paramilitary Force

Beirut’s devastating blast has not shaken the ruling class’s grip on Lebanon

Himani: It’s so disheartening to watch these moments unfold, where it seems like in the face of great tragedy, much needed change may finally be coming and then… the powerful and wealthy continue to grasp onto their power and their wealth.

It may seem Putin controls the Russian state personally. The reality is more dangerous

Himani: Sometimes it’s easier to believe that there’s one strong man, and if he (almost always he) were just removed from power the world would be a better place. But this grim article is a reminder that reality is much more complicated, cruel and difficult to unseat.

USCIS makes it official. They will ignore SCOTUS ruling and, “will reject all initial DACA requests.”

Himani: In another bit of news that did not really make headlines: back in July, USCIS indicated they would ignore the SCOTUS ruling. Now they have made that a matter of official policy.

Hurricane Laura was already a deadly storm before it reached the US

The US is in a water crisis far worse than most people imagine

Himani: I’ve been thinking about water a lot the past few years. It’s becoming a scarcer and scarcer resource. And while that is abundantly clear when you read about places like India it’s also true in the West and so-called “Global North.”

COVID-19 Update

CDC was pressured ‘from the top down’ to change coronavirus testing guidance, official says

Emails show businesses held sway over state reopening plans

I work as a medic in Syria, where an unreported Covid-19 crisis is unfolding

Xinjiang residents handcuffed to their homes in Covid lockdown

COVID Has Caused Extra Harm for Guatemala’s Victims of Gendered Violence

How Young Women Journalists Helped to Fight COVID-19 in Rwanda

On the Front Lines: Alternative Forms of Protesting Police Violence

On the Front Lines: Alternative Forms of Protesting Police Violence

This piece was originally published on 1/20/2015.

George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, and we stand in unequivocal support of the protests and uprisings that have swept the US since that day, and against the unconscionable violence of the police and US state. We can’t continue with business as usual. We will be celebrating Pride as an uprising. This month, Autostraddle is focusing on content related to this struggle, the fight against white supremacy and the fight for Black lives and Black futures. Instead, we’re publishing and re-highlighting work by and for Black queer and trans folks speaking to their experiences living under white supremacy and the carceral state, and work calling white people to material action.

no justice. no pride.

Here at Autostraddle we’ve done a fair amount of coverage of the recent protests swelling around the issue of police violence and systemic racism. We’ve also covered how queer and trans women of color are often both at the center of violence from the police and prison system, and at the same time on the front lines of the protests to stop it. For people who want to see change, we are full, heavy, and undone by the outpouring of support in the streets. We feel as though, perhaps, we are on the brink of revolution. But many of us haven’t been on the literal front lines. Not for lack of rage or revolutionary spirit, but because our advocacy comes in many forms.

A friend of mine, an arts activist who is a theater-maker and who works a low-paying job serving coffee to wealthy fifth avenue suits, was on her way to work when a protester stopped her and demanded to know why she — a woman of color — was not in the streets demanding justice. Her answer? “I have to pay rent.” A luxury for many protesters is having a warm home to return to at the end of the night, a home for which somebody probably pays rent. Speaking of payment, getting arrested often precludes paying a fine, or bail, or having a friend or family member to call who can come pick you up. What if you are homeless, or estranged from family? What if you have a job that would not be patient if you are late or absent because you spent the evening at Central Bookings? What if you are physically unable to attend a protest because you are wheelchair-bound or otherwise disabled? What if you just don’t want to chant and march through the streets in the bitter cold?


Friends and family have leadingly asked me, “so did you ever go to the protest?” as though if I hadn’t, I was doing a disservice to our race. I know of other POCs who couldn’t bring themselves to protest because the very weight of the perpetual onslaught of depressing headline after depressing headline left them feeling emotionally weak. But I have found that those same people, wracked with guilt, have contributed in their own ways, sometimes unwittingly. After the first few nights of emotionally charged spontaneous protests broke out in New York, Autostraddle’s very own Gabby Rivera organized a Google hangout session for QTPOC Speakeasy members. We expressed our outrage, our exhaustion, as well the humor that might seem inappropriate to an outsider, but which was so very necessary if we were to have enough stamina to face the day. During the hangout, we came to the realization that what Gabby had done for us was community care. She was affecting change by giving others a place to prepare themselves to affect change. That is valuable. It’s not as visible as attending a march. There were no selfies to prove we had been there. But it had tangible value.

Alternative forms of protest are necessary to make activism accessible. Sometimes, they’re even more effective at creating change than a permitted march. Here at Autostraddle, we have heard from readers far and wide who say that the content on this website has given them a sense of community they couldn’t find elsewhere. I mean, not to toot our own horn but that’s freaking incredible! Where better to convene a mass of rad queers than on the web? Where better to plot the revolution? If you are feeling bummed about not being able to, or not wanting to attend a protest or a die-in, you don’t have to be. There are a myriad of ways you can contribute, and you might already be doing it without knowing.

When petition sites like Change.org started popping up, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding the effectiveness of a petition that was just too easy to sign. Long before any of these phenomena, “Facebook activists” were taking advantage of easy access to hundreds and thousands of people to disseminate information from independent and alternative news sources, to the annoyance of some, but the benefit of many.

Now, the positive effects of cyber activism are becoming clear. Petitions on Change.org and other sites have countless success stories. I first heard about the Michael Brown case from a Change.org email. I know many others who received this tragic news the same way. This was amidst the End Stop-and-Frisk campaign taking off in NYC, and I believe the confluence of these two events have inextricably tied Ferguson to New York, even before the police murder of Eric Garner. Something as simple as signing up for an email listserve brought the Michael Brown case to the doorstep of every American, and helped galvanize a nation. Previously, the memory of Michael Brown would have been reduced to a statistic.

Entire revolutions have been facilitated via Twitter and Facebook. American movements have taken a page from their book, using Twitter to locate protests in real-time without alerting the authorities. Other hashtag movements have given a voice to those usually marginalized. For example, the twitter-facilitated movement, #YouOKSis encourages women, especially women of color to be active bystanders in instances of street harassment, and to share those experiences on twitter. Creating a community where women of color know they can rely on others to check in and prevent potentially violent interactions in the street can offer peace of mind to women whose voices are often drowned out by the patriarchy.
Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 4.35.47 PM
Speaking of creating space, #ThisTweetCalledMyBack recently came to the defense of what has been dubbed “Toxic Twitter.” Toxic Twitter refers to primarily POC women and marginalized communities that have found their voices in the Twitterverse:

We are your unwaged labor in our little corner of the internet that feeds a movement. Hours of teach-ins, hashtags, Twitter chats, video chats and phone calls to create a sustainable narrative and conversation around decolonization and antiblackness. As an online collective of Black, AfroIndigenous, and NDN women, we have created an entire framework with which to understand gender violence and racial hierarchy in a global and U.S. context. In order to do this however, we have had to shake up a few existing narratives…

The response has been sometimes loving, but in most cases we’ve faced nothing but pushback in the form of trolls, stalking. We’ve, at separate turns, been stopped and detained crossing international borders and questioned about our work, been tailed and targeted by police, had our livelihoods threatened with calls to our job, been threatened with rape on Twitter itself, faced triggering PTSD, and trudged the physical burden of all of this abuse. This has all occurred while we see our work take wings and inform an entire movement. A movement that also refuses to make space for us while frequently joining in the naming of us as “Toxic Twitter.” Why do we face barriers at every turn? If you hear many tell it, we are simply lazy women with good internet connections.

In an age where young women often have cell phones with internet access before they have access to healthcare and social services, why are so many so quick to demean the work of digital feminism in the hands of Black women?… When we ask these questions, we uncover that the only people who meet these qualifications of real activism are cis gender, able bodied people — frequently male.

Online activism is controversial, no doubt. “Hacktivism” is often synonymous with the vigilante hacker organization Anonymous, which has achieved many things by threatening to reveal the personal information of their targets. Often these targets are the subjects of high profile controversies, like the Westboro Baptist Church, or members of the KKK. More recently, Iggy Azalea has been the subject of Anonymous’s ire, after she got into a rather sticky (read: racist) twitter argument with Azealia Banks surrounding the issues of cultural appropriation and solidarity with Black people. The group threatened to release leaked sex tape photos and called her a “trashy bitch.” This kind of misogynist and childish behavior begs the question: who deserves privacy? While we all cower in fear of the elusive NSA, we often applaud Anonymous’ threats because they have progressive ends. But is it really progressive to lord over misguided individuals by threatening to distribute pornographic images of them? Vigilantes not associated with Anonymous, but with the same skill-sets have released nude images of famous women, not-so-famous women, and women who have dared to speak out against misogyny or rape culture. Hacking is a powerful weapon, often misused in the wrong hands. But then, what revolutionary tool doesn’t have the capacity to be misused?

Sometimes art can be more engaging and transformative than a rally or march. Sometimes art has the power to affect more minds than a riot. Theatre of the Oppressed (ToO) is a revolutionary form of theater that teaches visual literacy, and gives oppressed people a platform to not only express their grievances, but address them as well. The creator of ToO is Augusto Boal, a Brazilian man who considered this technique a sort of rehearsal for real life. One of the many forms of ToO is a performance called Forum Theatre, in which members of a community act out a play that describes their predicament, with a protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters. The audience is then invited to “intervene” in the action of the play, performing the piece over and over until a solution is developed that can then be acted out in real life. ToO groups in New York City do a version called Legislative Theatre in which actual legislators participate alongside citizens and social justice organizations to develop policies. In May of 2014, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC put together a legislative theatre festival addressing racism and profiling within the criminal justice system, called Can’t Get Right. Spect-actors (as Boal called participatory audience members), were invited to “watch, act and vote” alongside city policy-makers on reforms that would improve quality of life for Black and brown citizens of New York. In no uncertain terms, this is revolutionary: giving people the tools to be the change they wish to see.

I have heard some compare the recent protests to what it felt like to live through the Civil Rights movement. While I can’t personally attest to that, nostalgia for the revolutionary spirit of the Civil Rights era does seem to be in the air. And with it, have come reworked, or brand new protest songs. Remember when Lauryn Hill came out with Black Rage? The AP recently reported on the resurgence of protest songs from the rank and file protesters, poets and songwriters. And then D’Angelo released his album Black Messiah, with a tribute to brothers and sisters in the struggle:

Black Messiah is a hell of a name for an album. It can be easily misunderstood. Many will think it’s about religion. Some will jump to the conclusion that I’m calling myself a Black Messiah. For me, the title is about all of us… It’s about people rising up in Ferguson and in Egypt and in Occupy Wall Street and in every place where a community has had enough and decides to make change happen. It’s not about praising one charismatic leader but celebrating thousands of them.

Hip Hop and Black music have always had a sociopolitical undercurrent, but it does seem that we’re developing a soundtrack for our revolution — and it’s sounding pretty funky.

Beyond the web and the stage, there are unlimited ways to contribute our time, energy and money towards a world we would want to raise our kids in. Economic boycotts have been a major part of the anti-police violence movement. Temporarily hindering the economy sends a big message to companies that tend to ignore the plight of the very people they probably employ.

While the alternatives to protest discussed here are by no means all-inclusive, hopefully they’ve inspired you to employ the skills I know you’ve got tucked away in that gorgeous, complicated, infinite brain of yours to do something particular to your interests. If you really don’t know where to begin, Tikkun.org has released a flyer detailing exactly 26 Ways To Be In the Struggle Beyond the Streets. Some of my favorites off the list include providing childcare to protesters, and cooking a pre or post-march meal. Whichever way we choose to participate in this movement, it is important to recognize those who came before us and amplify the voices most often silenced. If we follow those two rules, no form of protest is necessarily more or less valuable than another.