BrownTown finally tackles a much discussed topic on this podcast as well as in recent weeks, police abolition. Ariel Atkins, Lead Organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago shares her thoughts and experiences since the global uprising against police brutality and white supremacy following the police killing of George Floyd. The gang discusses how we got to this moment, the broader movement for Black lives, coronavirus implications, reforming vs. defunding vs. abolishing police, and much more. Originally recorded June 15, 2020.
BrownTown finally tackles a much discussed topic on this podcast as well as in recent weeks, police abolition. Ariel Atkins, Lead Organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago shares her thoughts and experiences since the global uprising against police brutality and white supremacy following the police killing of George Floyd. The gang discusses how we got to this moment, the broader movement for Black lives, coronavirus implications, reforming vs. defunding vs. abolishing police, and much more. All three share their thoughts and experiences since the global uprising against police brutality and white supremacy following the police killing of George Floyd. In explaining the current resurgence for the Black Lives Matter movement, Caullen sets the stage theorizing on coronavirus/quarantine breaking the trust privileged people had in the system (paraphrased from Heather McGhee) while Ariel explains the snowball of international uprisings in 2019 (shoutout Hong Kong, Chile, and Venezuela).
Full episode transcription here!
Ariel and BrownTown soon bring it home to Chicago, breaking down riots/rebellions as "language of the unheard" (MLK), critiquing Mayor Lori Lightfoot's draconian measures to quell Chicago protests and unwillingness to budge on getting police out of schools, Latinx and Black communities coming together after police manipulation of Latinx gangs, and more. Social media has been a firestorm of information, performative allyship, and a spark for real conversations and politicization. With this, the gang shares their on and offline interactions, explain #8CantWait vs. #8toAbolition, and what everyone can do to unapologetically show up for Black lives, fight white supremacy and anti-Blackness in all their insidious and invisible forms so that we all get free. Originally recorded June 15, 2020.
Ariel Atkins is a lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago and was very active in the #NoCopAcademy campaign. She is also a hardcore anime and comic book nerd.
On Abolition: We would not be where we are in this moment if not for the centuries of work from our ancestors and decades of work from living legends such as Black Feminists Angela Y. Davis, Mariame Kaba, and Ruth Wilson Gilmore. In short, abolition is "about presence, not absence. It's about building life-affirming institutions" (Gilmore). We want to abolish these harmful systems in their current form and radically reshape our social and political structures to equitably meet our needs with respect to our natural environment. More than a political vision, abolition is a way of life that replaces carceral logics in virtually every aspect of our lives with restorative practices and ideologies.
Abolition Resources and Topics Mentioned
Follow Ariel on Instagram and Black Lives Matter Chicago on their site, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
CREDITS: Intro music and engineering by Genta Tamashiro with audio snippets of Ariel, recorded by Caullen Hudson. Outro song Proll'ems by two-time Bourbon 'n BrownTown alum and Chi DNA subject Tweak'G. Podcast audio engineering by Genta Tamashiro. Episode photo by Jim Vondruska.
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Episode 53 - Police Abolition ft. Ariel Atkins
BrownTown finally tackles a much discussed topic on this podcast as well as in recent weeks, police abolition. Ariel Atkins, Lead Organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago shares her thoughts and experiences since the global uprising against police brutality and white supremacy following the police killing of George Floyd. The gang discusses how we got to this moment, the broader movement for Black lives, coronavirus implications, reforming vs. defunding vs. abolishing police, and much more. Originally recorded June 15, 2020.
INTRO OVER MUSIC
Ariel: *Audio from protests* Who shuts this down? (We shut shit down!) We shut this down! (We shut shit down) Whose streets? (Our streets!) *Audio from protests* “Our city is protecting property over people. Lightfoot wants to put even more money into police. This is for the community and the people of Chicago. They are not keeping us safe. She might care about Lakeview. She doesn't care about Woodlawn and she needs to change that. We can't take this anymore.”
BODY OF EPISODE
David: So I want to welcome everyone to another segment of Bourbon 'N BrownTown. I'm out here recording from my office once again. David, of BrownTown, hanging out with my guys- Caullen and G-man in [00:02:00] the back-
Caullen: I'm doing okay. Why do you act like I’ve never done that before?
David: I know, but I was, I guess it's different when we're in the same space. Cause, I feel your energy, now I just see your face-
Caullen: - making noise and stuff. So for listeners, we are doing this virtually because of the novel coronavirus. I am in, once again, in my roommate's closet. So I got shirts all around me. Nice shirts- granted- all around me. And still looking at David through a screen, unfortunately. I don't get to see his pretty face, but it's okay. I'm doing okay. I feel like, you know, we'll send our winter recording and the moment that we're in, in a moment, but you know, I feel like the past couple of weeks people ask, Hey, how are you doing? Especially if they're either movement based or they're black, people are like, "you know, sigh, pause. I'm doing okay." But for the first time I feel like this weekend, I kind of took a step back from being physically active and kind of spending some time at home. Got some work done and [00:03:00] kind of reflect a little bit and we're recording on a Monday. I slept in this morning. I actually read some things and prepped more than I normally do for the podcast. And so I feel good and I feel empowered. I feel hopeful more than I have the past couple weeks. I haven't had some weeks for sure, but it's been a very paradoxical sentiment, and now I'm more towards like, yeah, fuck yeah, we can do this. So how are you feeling David?
David: That was really nice. I'm really, I'm glad that you're there, just so you know. But I'm like, I don't know, I think very similarly- I was actually a little bit more engaged than I had been actually cause just my time and capacity, so I was able to be out and about on a few things, so that's kind of nice to participate in, but I think I would love to have you introduce our special guest for today and then kind of just get the ball rolling as we do.
Caullen: Yes. Yes. Yes. So with us for this very very important conversation, for forever and for always, especially for this moment, we have Ariel Atkins. [00:04:00] She is a lead organizer of Black Lives Matter Chicago and was very active in the No Cop Academy campaign. She is also- a fun fact, a hardcore anime and comic book nerd, Ariel, what is good?
Ariel: A lot good, and a lot of shit, but you know, we here. We are here.
David: Yeah, sweet. Thank you so much for once again, taking the time to hang out with us. I know that you and Caullen- actually I feel like we've seen you in a lot of different spaces, but it's always moving and passing. I think for one of the caravans you were on your bike, we lost you for a minute. Then we got you back on camera. It's like, all right, it's all over. But yeah. Do you want to tell you, I think it'd be a good place to kind of start by just sharing a little bit with folks, whatever you like. Just a little bit about yourself and where we are at today.
Ariel: I've been organizing in Chicago for about five years, maybe a little more. But [00:05:00] I would say actually I started as an activist. A lot of people when they hear activism and organizing, there is a good difference and you can be an activist and an organizer, but an activist focuses a lot on action, and direct actions. When I started my focus was in homelessness, housing issues and feeding people. And so I started a food drive out of my apartment, and we were getting people to donate and we would make care packages and sack lunches, and then we would take them to tent cities and people on the street, and actually talk to people, not just give them food, but be like, "what's up, how are you doing? What's the situation?" Listen to people's stories cause they always wanted to share how they ended up there. And it also got my volunteers to understand that homelessness is [00:06:00] not necessarily- it can be a choice- but in a way of like, I am in an unsafe situation or I need to focus on eating but I can't pay for a roof over my head, you know, that way it can be a choice- or sometimes it's just like, my dad and family and friends have always said, you know you can be one paycheck away from being homeless. You can be one mistake away from being homeless. And so that was my focus.
And then organizing, which I got into later, organizing is mobilizing people for the movement. So really focusing on building community. I know y'all worked hardcore with No Cop. And so in the beginning, when everyone was doing canvassing and going door to door and listening to what people's needs are, that's a form of organizing. You are organizing people around a situation. You are organizing people, you're organizing information. You're organizing [00:07:00] young organizers to develop those strengths. I think , even out of the, you know, as much as I'm not really into politics, but electoral politics, the Bernie campaign actually gave us a ton of organizers. People that know how to phone bank, people that know how to canvas, people that can talk to anyone about anything and preparing them. And so, that's what I do. I'm now, I do like activism. I do a lot of actions, but my main focus is mobilizing people and building our base, building power for the movement to make sure that if I go, there are 60 people that I have personally trained that are ready to take my spot- which I tell them all the time, like, look we aren't going to have a Martin situation, we aren't going to have a Malcolm situation. I don't believe in the person on the pedestal, I believe in us. And I need to make sure, I need to [00:08:00] know, that if I get snatched or if something terrible happens to me that people are ready to take that spot and just hop in and keep it moving, cause that's all I want. I think I answered the question. Oh, well, okay, so- now we're at this point- I've been with Black Lives Matter for about three years, a little more than three years- since the beginning of the year I've been an official staff member, we were able to raise enough money to put me on staff and our focus- Right?! Getting paid-
David: yeah, no, no. Let's take a moment for that.
Ariel: It was a big deal. Full-time job and then still be doing 60 hours of work for this. And it was just like, this is not sustainable. And now I can do 80 hours of work a week, and get paid for it. So it's nice. [00:09:00] It's real nice. But yeah, now just focusing on making sure we have members and then mobilizing people around police brutality or fighting against police brutality, fighting against police in any capacity. And it has been really amazing going from five years ago and saying, "fuck the police, we don't need them." And people being like, "Ariel you're too radical." To now my mom is actually trying to hear what I say a little bit. Not by that much, you can't get Ursula to really agree on too much, but- she is real, she is something special. But, it's just been incredible to see this movement grow right now. I hope I answered the question.
Caullen: Absolutely. I'm curious of, before we just dive in. I'm curious, how you went from organizing around issues around folks fighting homelessness [00:10:00] to abolition work or, you know, police work whatever your capacity looked like at the time. I don't know if it was always abolition hardcore. That's obviously a journey for everybody, but I'm curious how you went from topic to topic. And not that they're not obviously connected, as we know, but doing the work every day is going to look and feel a little different.
Ariel: Okay, so I was doing that work and then Trump got elected and then I was like, okay, I need to go a little harder, and I need to find a movement home. I ended up going to a few actions and meeting Messiah and Stephanie from Brave Space Alliance. And this is right before they started race-based Alliance and they had started the Trans Literation Collective. And I started really becoming a part of that- to just assist. [00:11:00] I'm a queer- I'm a gay black woman, and so you know, trans and queer issues are really close to my heart. And so you know, I got really involved with them and then somehow I don't remember quite how, but I got involved with Chicago Alliance Against Racist Political Repression through that work, because there were people that were in TLC that also were connected with CARPR. And it's from there, it went from just being about homelessness, people helping me connect, you know, that all of it is a situation of capitalism, it's all a situation of carceral capitalism. It's all connected. And that finding housing for people, getting housing, making sure everyone has home and what they need requires abolition. We can not get it without it. It wasn't even necessarily too much of a conscious choice, just more like, this is where I was led into. And I think [00:12:00] Frank really helped with that, really developing me to be a better organizer. Frank Chapman, he's the chairperson of CARPR, and he was constantly putting me out there. Like, "you need to learn to talk to people in interviews". Cause three years ago you would not have gotten me on this call, I definitely would have been like, somebody else can do it, and I would've given it to someone else. But him really just pushing me to be like, "you're a young black woman, you need to be speaking. You need, people need to hear what you have to say." And giving me the skill of canvassing and really just pushing me to recognize my potential. I didn't think I could do any of this. I thought I was always going to be a background player, doing the little things- or the important things in the background, I believe in the background players, but I thought that was going to be me. And they were like, "no, you are a leader." And it took me about three years to accept that, and actually just go into that [00:13:00] role and grow into it, which I think was actually very smart because I am, I think this is what I'm supposed to be doing. And I am supposed to be a leader it's just really difficult to say, but I believe it. Yeah, it's all connected, it flows right into each other. No issue. It was all really smooth.
David: Yeah. And I mean, and it seems like where you are is exactly where you need to be, right? Thank you for also being able to break down- I don't think we, on Bourbon 'N BrownTown, we've had anyone break down "organizer" and "activist"
Caullen: We've had arguments about it kind of, but not really-
David: we have, because it's, what exactly one is, what is not is, but that was super great. And we're glad, I think you know as Caullen mentioned, our first interaction with the No Cop Academy- it being a coalition, you're representing a BLM. But I think where I'd like to pivot the conversation right now would be, so we all understand Trump becoming elected, people becoming politicized, but here we are again, [00:14:00] what I'm seeing is another wave of wokeness or people taking the time and the opportunity to really engage as a result of what has happened two, three weeks ago now at this point, right. And we're still seeing these movements, seeing these actions.
Caullen: And for those who, I just- this is for you, David, I just want to clarify for our listeners, three weeks ago, what happened three weeks ago? What has reignited? Just situate us in when we're talking?
David: This is true, this is true. And so for those, we are recording right now, three weeks after the death of George Floyd, which as we know, brought upon, actually, protests in every state. Riots, et cetera, but I do want to talk about the language of rioting, things like that, but we'll jump into that. But we've seen this kind of call and push for abolition, right. And so I think I can toss this to [00:15:00] either of you two, with the media also propagating, one of our issues is, what exactly is abolition? What does that mean? What I'm seeing a lot on social media is, there's three different hashtags. There's defund the police versus abolish police. What does this really mean? But this is all to say that I've seen within these last few weeks this call to consciousness within our peers. And as you mentioned, your mom being able to engage with you, I am on a very similar vein. Both my parents are from Mexico. And so, you know, the whole, they're more worried on issues that they would refer to as black-on-black crime versus anything else. And so for us to be able to have an opportunity now to be able to sit down- or even better, my parents asking me questions about like, "well, what does that sweater you're wearing actually mean?" Or " what do you mean by fund communities not police, don't you want to be protected? et cetera. Aren't you fighting for the protection of everyone?" And having that opportunity to just speak with our friends and loved ones as examples, you know, [00:16:00] not only as an organizer for yourself, for us media people, but you know, trying to stay within the movement. What have, where has BLM- or no scratch that- cause I'm kind of- I kind of lost it. Where was I going with this Caullen, help me out?
Caullen: I'm not totally sure, but I'm going to add to it a little bit, as far as contextually. I think you brought up an interesting point. No shade to you at all, David, I love you. But part of it, it's how we talk about all these things, right? And so you know, the death of George Floyd, it's like, he didn't have cancer, he didn't get hit by a car, he didn't trip and fall. He was killed by police. And even watching the news- corporate news of course is, you know, is kind of shitty, but other outlets say, "oh, the death of George Floyd, he died." I'm like, "no, no, he didn't just die. He was killed. And he was killed by the state." And we need to say that every time we mention this happening. And so [00:17:00] I think as David got at that we were seeing a mass conscious awakening to it, right. And I often think, especially as of late, this moment compared to 2016 with Trump, and with Trump it was a rising tide. We saw that it was possible and probably would have happened, and it did, but the, and good things happen out of that- folks being mobilized and politicized, and then folks who were doing the work. You know, calling up and like, yo, I'm glad you're here, but like, we've been doing this shit for a while, so take note. But with Trump, it was like, this is one guy, he's a bad guy, right? And folks talked about how this was a system and this was decades and years of, you know, white supremacy, capitalism, whatever. But he was, yeah, he was the poster child. Whereas now, you know, folks on Derek Chauvin- the guy who killed George Floyd, but folks are understanding- I say folks in the broadest sense, not just white folks, like unpoliticized folks, everyone understanding how this is like, oh, this is white supremacy. Oh, this is violence. Oh, this is militarism. Oh, this patriarchal. This is all these things. And folks across the board are [00:18:00] understanding that more so now than I think any singlular incident had before. And of course this was, you know, we can't take this in a vacuum, obviously if there wasn't Mike Brown, if there wasn't Laquan McDonald, if there wasn't Rekia Boyd and all these folks beforehand, you know, I think that added to it. But the big thing that I've been thinking about also more so is coronavirus, right? Even at home for three or so months, and as David and I have talked about for all our BNB lives and stuff, in person conversations, coronavirus is bad, but what's worse is capitalism. And it's going to exacerbate these ails and exacerbate the death that we already see with death making institutions and how we see society. So we see this underlying with coronavirus, and it's no surprise that black and latinx communities are dying more so from it. I remember when that article came out in Chicago and everyone was like, "what?!" And I'm like, "yeah motherfucker, what'd y'all think this was like, that's how it always is." So we have this coronavirus and the kind of, I won't say tail end by any means, but as states start opening up and everything, people start being able to get outside and stuff, this happens. And so up until this moment, we've [00:19:00] been at home more, on our phones more, seeing these things more, and when this very salient, obvious depiction of violence of state-sponsored violence against a black person is there, I think that we can't ignore that undercurrent. And I think that definitely adds to people being a) surprised and b) wanting to get on the streets about it. And folks also wanted to get outside too. I ain't gonna lie some of them folks probably just wanted to like, this is kind of a cause I want to get outside, so fuck it. You can't ignore that, right? I didn't think about this prior too, but I heard it from someone talking about coronavirus and she basically said that, kinda everything I just said about people being isolated and being out in the world now, but that we've been meant to and we've had to rely on each other more than ever before, when we realized firsthand and people of all class and ethnic, whatever, "oh, the state's not going to save us." We in this conversation may have known that, but middle-class, upper-class whatever that means, white folks didn't really think that. So we're all understanding that the state's not going to save us, we [00:20:00] have to rely on each other. And so mutual aid, I've heard "mutual aid" more in the past few months than I ever have before. I obviously kind of knew what it was from our organizing background or grassroots background, but not in the way that politicians, corporate news were saying and using it, people were actually doing it from all swaths of it. And so what this person was saying is that white folks who normally wouldn't be as politicized are opened to being politicized in this moment. And we're like, yeah, well, we are all we got, I understand what that means now. And that adds to it too, they're feeling vulnerable, they were feeling like they're ass out, the government wasn't protecting them, so like, no maybe the police aren't the best thing. And I was like, whoa that's real. We see all our social conditions are changing in three months in three weeks. I think of that meme I saw of, it's two panels, one of Donald Glover they're like, "beginning of coronavirus" and it's like, "baking banana bread". And it's him from Community looking all happy, then it's like, "we went from that to abolish [00:21:00] police" and it's him with an AK from This is America. And I was like, yeah, pretty much. So just contextually thinking all that's super important, and understanding where we are right now and why we're seeing what we're seeing. And I still don't understand it, but I'm trying to piece together these things. Try to get how I come at folks or how I talk to folks from different backgrounds.
Ariel: I think you really got into it. And I think it's a little more, even deeper. It's like, yes, we think about- we had last year, we were starting to watch Chile's uprising, Haiti's uprising, Mexico's uprising, Venezuela, Brazil. You're seeing everybody in these other countries just really uprising and, watching people die in the streets and saying, I refuse to still go back home. You know, if I go back home, then all of our people are going to die. I have to be out here, I have to fight. And looking at Hong Kong, everyone [00:22:00] around the world seeing all of this information, seeing all of these images online and thinking like, oh, that looks great, what if we got that here? And just constantly being thrown at them. And then you get to 2020, what is it like a week in- we almost start World War III. We're getting information that's being slammed at us about the coronavirus around the world and people dying from it and really not being able to fathom what was about to happen, but this intense fear and that rising through certain communities. And then getting to a place of everyone's losing their jobs because of stay-at-home, and the pandemic. Everyone is watching people that they love die. Everyone is having this intense fear, misses comfort. And I think more people that had never really experienced that before began to experience it. And we're recognizing like, wait a [00:23:00] second, something's wrong, something's off. There should never be a situation where a pandemic hits and we can't do anything about it. We're supposed to be the greatest country in the world. We're supposed to be the smartest, the richest, we're supposed to have everything that people need. This is the country of dreams, you know, the American Dream, which everybody wants. And then actually it hitting them of being like, you know what, at any point in time I can lose everything. And having to watch people die and having this fear. And then while we're in stay-at-home constantly seeing, like you said, the government not wanting to save us or is not going to save us. And I think, yes, it 100% hit this time. 100%. People were just like, every day you're seeing large businesses getting these trillion dollar bailouts or billion dollar bailouts, you get Jeff B-, I almost called him [00:24:00] Jeff Rosenstock- Jeff Bezos has become a trillionaire through the pandemic, through people's suffering while he's also not taking care of his workers. And everyone is seeing the government doesn't care, the businesses don't care, wealthy people don't care. I stay in Ravenswood, and let me tell you, none of these white people are wearing masks when they walk outside.
Caullen: They don't give a fuck when I go up north. I'm like, damn, and we're just like, nah? All right. I just, I wasn't, I didn't get the memo. I'm sorry.
Ariel: It's. Yeah, it's like, I guess my life doesn't matter. They're like, "well, I'm not going to get it," but you know, it's like, you can still be asymptomatic and spread it. Seeing all of this and it just hitting you over the head and it being constant. We got no break through any of that. And then at the same time, you get the story dropping of Ahmaud Arbery, and then you get the story dropping of Breonna Taylor. And then you get all these other [00:25:00] stories that, you know, don't quite make it to the news, but that are coming out, through this information coming out that the majority of COVID deaths are black and brown people and specifically black people. And noticing- it becoming very clear to everyone- or more people, that this community is not taken care of, this community is not getting anything that they need, and being very confused and having to actually face it. And then you get George Flyod. And yes, that video circulating and just all this frustration, all of this shit just bubbling up. It is all boiling and then that's it. It hits and people are like, "you know what- the government's not going to save us. The police are actually abusing people while we're in a pandemic, they're actually killing people and stopping them outside-" of course, you also get all of the stories that are being released of people in black communities being actively [00:26:00] terrorized by police and military during the pandemic. You know, there's just all this going on. And finall- and I don't like to say finally- but then George Floyd is murdered and it reaches. And again, it explodes and people see, in our country, that we can have an uprising. And that the country is terrified of what we can do. And people were seeing that and being like, "you know what, we can do what Hong Kong did. We can do what Chile did, we can do what Brazil did," you know, just being fully inspired by it. And then it just spread. I mean, look at it. We got the autonomous zone in Seattle. Wild to me, never thought I would have seen it. And yet here we are in America. People take in blocks and be like, "this shit is mine now. And you can fuck off and we're going to keep taking it." So I just wanted to bring that in, really break it down.[00:27:00]
David: For anyone who doesn't know- what is that? Myself included.
Caullen: You're referencing the autonomous zone?
David: Yeah, the Seattle- I'd seen, I've seen things of it online, but for someone who may not be aware what exactly does that mean?
Ariel: So in Seattle they took six blocks and within that six blocks is city hall and a police, I think, it's a precinct. And they scared all the police and city council out of those buildings. They stormed it and then took over those six blocks and put up blockades saying like, "this is a police free zone. Anyone who's in here y'all can come in, it's safe, but no police. And we're just taking care of each other. We're feeding each other. We're looting these stores and making sure everyone has supplies", you know, just autonomous. I would have called it the fuck 12 Zone, but, you know, I support them in their decision.
David: *Laughter* Oh my gosh. [00:28:00]
Ariel: That's what it would be in Chicago. It would 100% be the fuck 12 Zone.
Caullen: I really appreciate the international perspective because I think, yeah, that's amazing and awesome, and I think that's- yeah, you're right. We couldn't have gotten to this moment without putting those in silos. The thing I got from Hong Kong the most was that the majority of the folks who were resisting were students at the technical university, but they were talking about how they were growing up they knew Hong Kong to be one thing, it'd be somewhat democratic. And then as they were getting older, they were seeing those quote unquote freedoms they had being slowly stripped away. So by the time they were a little bit older, had some agency, had some resources, had the leverage of the university they could really put that into- they could really use the leverage to their advantage. So it was cool to see them like, oh, I was growing up to think the world was one thing, now I'm seeing that it's not, and I reject this. And they did it. It was really cool seeing that journey. I think looking at [00:29:00] the globe and everywhere doing that same thing with folks that are marginalized in whatever capacity helps us understand how this is not just a US issue. White supremacy is global, capitalism is global. All these things are global and intersected at the same time, which I think is something very important to take in in this moment.
David: I'm just digesting really. I'm just sitting here just listening.
Caullen: David had a big breakfast. Had some pancakes.
David: You know, I did, I was, yeah. No. I mean, I think the way you guys clarified a lot of things is very important, right. And Caullen, as you mentioned- and you can call me out or not, but you know, we are all a product of what's around us. And so if the language that is being used- is a perfect example- is like, oh, the death of George Floyd, when in reality, by saying so we're upholding wrongs and evil doers, because realistically- and [00:30:00] it's something simple as that- and I think one of the places where I want to take it to is talking about the distinction between reform and abolition. And how we can clarify each of them, because for a lot of us and I'll include this within myself, being politicized not too long ago, but also, still learning along the way, I think a lot of things that we are starting to take into consideration- and I'm seeing this a lot with people- like black Instagram talking to their white peers and being like, unlearning racism is- you're not going to do it from Day A to Day B type shit. It's learning and it's a process, and oftentimes we have to make ourselves vulnerable in order for them to be able to change these things. And this is coming from a brown first generation Mexican-American who grew up having a lot of homophobic anti-black sentiments without understanding or realizing where these even came from. And I think- so when we're leaning then a little bit more into the conversation of reform versus [00:31:00] abolishing- and I'll let either of you take the question- why is it that Eight Can't Wait, got the push? Because realistically, I think I turned off social media for a couple days, opened it back up, and Eight Can't Wait was the only thing I was seeing on my Google. And so what are your thoughts? And then can anyone dive into a little bit of what Eight Can't Wait is and why that's fucked up? And then we can just take the conversation from there, cause we're not fans of Eight Can't Wait. And so for those who don't know, you can just Google this, but it was basically eight points to reform police departments throughout America. Right? That's very simply put, however, a lot of these ways either have been used in some places and they just were not effective. Other places are using, I think, half of them and they're like, "oh, we'll just catch up on the other half. But we, you know, Black Lives Matter."
Ariel: I [00:32:00] hate the word reform so much. Cause it's like, you know, we've been doing reform forever. There's always been laws that have been put in place every time when, not every time something happens, but every time people get angry they kind of change the way the police department works. One prime example is Chicago and plenty of other cities that have had it before, but we had the consent decree, right. And you know, it started last year and then you get this year, where cops are beating people with batons, covering their badges, not listening to people, and even before those were still issues, and it's like, that was the reform that didn't work. And we've had histories of reforms that didn't work. And it's like, here's also the thing- is that when I hear "reform", I hear, "I just want a little bit less violence. If they could just be a little less violent, you know, I want some violence, I don't want all the violence." And it's like, "no, we want no [00:33:00] violence,". You know, I'm straight up like, fuck the police, you cannot reform a system that was not ever created to protect people that was not created for safety. The history of police in America, it started with the paddy wagon, of course, picking up runaway slaves, taking them back or throwing them into what were the prisons before or the chain gang. So, you know, then you get- you move into later and police are not really a thing yet, like in the way we know them, they are private security forces protecting property, you know, and beating labor unions and, and just really focusing specifically on protecting wealth and property, and the interest of the state. Until they got called out for it and people were like, "oh, so y'all are just protecting property?" And they're like, [00:34:00] "oh, we don't want to look we're just paying all these people."
Caullen: "uhm uhmm, uh, you too"
Ariel: So they created the police force and then threw that out there. And their job again, to protect property and protect whiteness. And so taking money that should have gone to black communities, you know, which obviously we felt like we were trying to do the black reconstruction era and it completely fell apart, they broke that down and refused to let it happen. And instead further divested from those communities and made it impossible for people to thrive, and then use the police to keep that oppression going. And so it's like, you can't change that. You cannot, you know, you break that foundation and you'll lose house. You know what I mean? You can't, you can't go to the b- it has to be completely removed and we got to start over, you know, and also the fact that [00:35:00] policing does not address the systemic issues that are at hand. What is it, 80% of people who are locked up and arrested are for non-violent crimes that are listed as robbery, battery, like violent, you know, it's all to dehumanize people and to make us feel better about them being locked away from society. As opposed to looking at- alright, why are people robbing? Because they don't have money, they don't have what they need, or also the fact that, you know, capitalism says the only way you can thrive is if you're rich, your goal at the end of the day should be rich and to have control and power because money is power, assimilating to whiteness is power. And it's like, you know, we've got- we have to go back and look at if somebody is having a mental health crisis, you don't send somebody with a gun to try to chill it [00:36:00] out, that's gonna make it worse. If somebody is in a domestic violence situation, sending again, somebody with a gun is going to make that situation even worse. It's not addressing what the actual issue is. It's not addressing that violence. It's bringing in more violence under the assumption of we're trying to protect, this is safety, this is preventative measures." But yeah, you can't reform that. You can't.
Caullen: Yeah. I want to harp on something you said about how police don't address systemic ails. We know that to be true. And I've been just seeing a lot of like, more like, good packaged pieces kind of things, and like, "abolition? Here's what it is. Your frequent questions? Here's our rebuttals to it." And one of them was like, okay, "can we just like, defund them and leave it at that?" Or the things that don't address, mental health, homelessness, whatever, "have folks address those things and keep the police." And the [00:37:00] response was like, "well, they don't only not address systemic issues, they reinforce sustained inequality, they reinforce it with violence. So not only should they- should we put money towards the other things that address them, we should abolish it because what it does is reinforces with violence." And I think, for me, I feel it's three things. One, there's reform and the things we tried a million times, the Joe Biden's of the world, and we can, you know, leave him over here. And then there's defund police, as an end, counterpoint to what I just said. Then there is abolition, which includes defunding police to get to abolition, right. I think the big difference between defunding as an end, than the abolitionists, I think what you just said, knowing that the cops exist to control and contain particular groups of people in the interest in the ruling class. And obviously what started with slave patrols of black folks, up north there was a lot of union busting, and poor immigrants and stuff. When [00:38:00] more Latinx folks came to America, criminalizing them and making sure they were in their place. So it just kind of goes with the social conditions of the time and whatever is against the ruling class and the ruling state and their property- that is their function, that's what they do. I think that, to me, I won't say radical, but just people who'd defund the police and that's their ** call, but that's it- the difference between that camp and abolition camp is knowing this is what they are meant to do, what they're supposed to do. I was listening to a podcast before we got on, with Mariame Kaba, shout out to her her cause she does all the amazing work, and I'm not sure if it was her or the one who were interviewing her, but they were talking about seeing "serve and protect" on squad cars and hearing that all the time, and as we know, as media producers, you say something over and over again- give people an image over and over again, people start to believe it, right. And I think that's kind of part of this [00:39:00] propaganda, this copaganda, if you will, that we've seen for decades.
Ariel: I wanna throw out to you "to serve and protect", this'll be a fun tidbit back for y'all, I heard it- I found it out from Truthout a couple years back- is that "to serve and protect" was created by a housewife for a contest. They asked, I believe it was Ohio and we can double-check that later, they were asking, "what should we put on the side of police cars?" And one woman said "to serve and protect" and then that became it. And I think she got a lifetime supply of canned goods, or some shit. So it was never actually in their rhetoric and their history. It was something that was created. And then of course became that propaganda, but it touches on the fact that they were never meant for safety. I also want to name too, [00:40:00] that's one of the biggest issues along with depending on police to handle violent situations, like sexual assault or crime, especially sexual assault, the very people that we are supposed to call after, or if we are afraid of a sexual assault, or if it's happened are actually rapists themselves. It's very, very common in police departments, it's well known that they are largely rapists- I can't think of the other word I was going to say- but they are- I think 20% of women or 40% of women who are married to police experience domestic violence. It's just, it's already embedded within their culture and that same violence, and so it can't, they can't also be [00:41:00] expected to prevent that violence, to handle it, if they're also doing it. Not to mention if they're killing us, you can't reform that. You can't be like, "stop killing people", that should already be a thing that they should not be doing. You know, we shouldn't have to be like, "stop killing us." we should not have to be like "Black Lives Matter" that never should have had to become a thing.
Caullen: I remember I was at- this is early undergrad- it was at a friend's university, and then my friend very begrudgingly joined this fraternity, and on the, they had a poster on the wall that was like- I forgot what they had in the poster, but it was essentially saying, "don't sexually assault women." And it's one of those things that I'm like, "okay, well, yeah, don't do that. But also, you gotta put a poster up about that?? You had to like, pay Kinko's and print off a bunch of those, put it all over the house to like-" it's like reform. And that's what I hear when you say that, it's like, yeah, cool, but hey, we shouldn't have done in the first place. We should know better, [00:42:00] what is this? Then I was like, where am I, I'm going- and I left. And I was like, I don't like this, but that's what I think of when you say that. David, I know you, I mean, you were going to talk, I'm sorry. What's on your mind?
David: No, I mean, I'm like- I'm just kind of processing- and I think it's interesting because I think one of the biggest conversations that I'm having with folks specifically in the Latinx community is, "but no, but we need cops." Like, yeah, cops are dirty in Mexico, too, all the time. The biggest thing is, if they stop you, you just kind of give them 10, 20 bucks, they leave you alone, they go away. And that's their relationship to police officers, and police officers in Mexico are completely militarized as fuck. So they're walking around with their, you know, semi-automatic rifles, complete thing, helmets, their cars or pickups or whatever. And so when that is the relationship, when that is what you were accustomed to with regards to the police, you come to America and you're like, oh, land of the free home of the brave type shit. And yeah, sure you've seen a sketchy cop here and there, or you might not really understand why you get stopped every week at this [00:43:00] specific red light, this, that, and the fifth. But when we're having this conversation then of abolition of, we need to get rid of this thing, there's a lot of people then immediately turn it into a personal thing, right? And they immediately have to like, "oh, but I've had a wonderful encounter with this police officer. And he let me go cause I was speeding 30 over the speed limit and he was Gucci. We shook up, we dabbed and then we all, everyone went home." And because of that, they're like, I don't think every cop is bad. And I think that is one of the places where I'm having most difficulty getting across to folks or even more so when your friends and peers or your dad's been on the force for 35 years, jailing bad guys, you know, it's like, how do we go about talking to these folks and, or Caullen and I.have said this a few times, we just had to let them do their thing and focus on other people. Like, you're lost, we can't talk to you, but even in, and I [00:44:00] say this really more so with the intent of there's one gentleman in particular, who I've been arguing on Facebook for about three weeks now, he came in- he's an ex-military personnel, his whole family's military. He's apparently looking to be part of the CPD programming and stuff, cause he realized he sucks as a manager at restaurants. And so he commented a bunch of stuff, it's all still up there, that were very much proving the problem with police officers, right? He's like, "oh, but they tell us when we get on the force 'shoot first ask questions later,' dumb shit this, right? And so what ends up happening though through the course of conversation and kind of breaking things up, because I think a big focus point for a lot of groups that don't understand the movements, or don't understand Black Lives Matter as an entity or an organization, confuse then when we started going into the conversation of what ended up happening these last [00:45:00] two weeks. And so we had protests, we had demonstrations, but there were also media coined terms of rioting and looting and blah, blah, blah. And so when you're seeing that your mind doesn't mean thinking about, okay, and these same people want to abolish the police just to take advantage of the system, right, and so this one gentleman in particular came back, came at me. Luckily for me BLM-Chi had put up a wonderful 8 point demand, if you can follow them on Instagram, Facebook, BLM-Chi so sorry. Regardless, they put, and so I put that up and on the next post comment he did, he's like, "Hey, I'm sorry. You're right. I have to understand that there's a distinction between what you're about and the people who are doing this." And this is a public thing. We can see it on my Facebook. And so, I'll kind of throw this back to you guys, whether you want to share experiences and things of that nature, but I'm seeing sometimes the difficulty isn't even in providing people with information, it [00:46:00] isn't being able to be like, oh, as an example, the No Cop Academy was a response to the Laquan McDonald thing or murder as a result of the CIA or the system at hand coming into Chicago and being like, "Hey, y'all are pretty abusive. Y'all should tone it down." And No Cop or Rahm in his mind was like, "oh, we'll build this new thing and we'll be training and, you know, everything will be better." And once again, so in your experiences using the term abolition and how some people can be like, "oh no, that's whoa. We need, you know, that's a little far, you know, I'm all for defunding, you know, maybe take some of that money and you know, you're right. I do need, you know, health insurance," but how do we go about talking to folks then? And I guess this is why I feel like the term defund police has had more of a push versus abolish police. But it's interesting to see when and how folks use both. Caullen, cause you made a [00:47:00] very perfect point of being like defund police is here, that's just a step to abolition folks, but if this is your goal, if this is where you're going to be at to just defund police, and- because you still have your uncle and aunt both working for the local sheriff town, you know, how do we engage those folks or do we?
Caullen: No, that's real quick, before I move on, I want, I don't know if you want to, I don't know. So Rahm had the idea of the Cop Academy before the DOJ got the report to him, and if I was listening to you not knowing that, I probably wouldn't think that, and I think that's an important distinction we should make.
David: True. I love this guy. It's fair. It's fair. But there is also a FOIA piece that Soapbox will be producing and will be out in the world at this point, so go check it out and find all the deets and how No Cop Academy used the FOIA which is the Freedom of Information Act, boom, to find paperwork and stuff, to find out that Rahm, we knew this, but Rahm was like, "yo, let's build this low key without no one knowing. And then we're just going to push [00:48:00] it through committees so that we're Gucci." So Caullen is correct, but let's proceed.
Caullen: soapboxpo.com/nocopacademy no spaces or dashes.
David: There you go, thank you Caullen pluggin constantly. But yeah, that, does that make sense? How, or how has BLM seen- cause I think I was seeing one of your lives, Ariel, that you were being like, motherfuckers are hitt- DMing you, emailing you all the time, either engaging or questioning or trolling your ass. How have you taken this moment for yourself also using self care? Cause you know, we bounce and push, but what have you found to be effective when talking to folks about reform versus abolition specifically?
Ariel: Yeah. I've had some interesting conversation coming out of that. Yeah. Mostly from white people, I don't know what's wrong with [00:49:00] them, that have not really experienced that constant violence. The way that I have those conversations is typically first I tell people, y'all don't have big enough imaginations if you think that the only way to keep the peace or keep safety, like make people safe, is someone with a gun and knives on their body and tasers and batons and prison systems that are locking people away, you know, and then throwing them out into the world and saying , "well, now you gotta figure it out, while also you got to pay fines and fees, you got to get a job, but you also got to go to court, you gotta be doing stuff." And I tell them, is that really what you think is the only way, is that as far as your imagination goes, did you just paint what your parents told you- what the world has told you that people deserve to be punished? And you [00:50:00] just were like, that's fine, and you don't question it? This is the moment where we are in a place that we have never been before. And our imagination, our dream, we have the space to actually put them into practice. This is the moment to be as creative as you can to just be like, "what else could the world be like, what else can I imagine it? And how can I make that happen?" And really pushing people to be like, there is no such thing as a pipe dream at this moment, you know? Yeah all these things coming out and being like, "yeah, we can defund police, yeah we'll fucking do it, yeah, we'll get those cops out of schools,". And yet we got Lightfoot sitting here being like, "people are angry at me because I'm a gay black woman," like, "bitch, me too! I too am a gay black woman and I can tell you that you don't care about me!"
I would fight her. I swear to god I will fight her little ass. I'm already getting [00:51:00] tired and upset. I can go on forever about her. Just really pushing people to be like, open your eyes, don't be boring. Really think outside of your box, you are allowed to, and you should push that. And then really opening up for people that, abolition means that you actually believe in Black Lives Matter, indigenous lives matter, Latinx lives matter, Palestinian lives matter. You actually want the lives of the people who are calling out, saying that I am afraid for my life, I have never felt safe around the police and I can say that 100%, and if I have for a moment felt safe, I knew it was a false sense of safety, and I knew that I was still in danger in that moment. And you [00:52:00] know, that comes from watching my father and being pulled out of the car and bent over his car because they didn't believe that his Camaro was his. You know, and, or- while they've got my father on the hood, you got another cop on the passenger side, asking my mother- telling her how pretty she is asking her what she's doing with my father. While me and my brother are in the back, just knowing that my dad is going to die right now, I am about to watch my father die. And being nine years old and having that fear, all the time. That was all the time, constantly being pulled over and saying, "oh, well you guys fit the description of a robbery that happened down the street. We have to hold you here" and making us get out of the car. Officers being ready to pull their guns out on us, officers following me to ask me out and telling me if I didn't get in the car and that they were going to beat me, or I could be arrested. I've never felt safe around police. And I know that [00:53:00] my experience is throughout- I know Caullen's experienced it, I know David's experienced it, y'all know exactly what that fear is like and how that feels and knowing that your life is at risk every day. And really pushing that to people saying, "no matter your experience, no matter what you think you've seen, and what you think safety is, that is not the same for me."
There's no reason that I should have nightmares about my brother being killed by police. He's a fucking nerd. We talk about comic books and anime and he plays video games all day. He's six foot four something like that. And long dreads, can't be more than 130 pounds. And knowing that this is the sweetest, most genuine person I've ever met in my life and that a cop is not going to see that. They are going to see a black man and he could be taken away from me in a second. I shouldn't have to have that nightmare [00:54:00] constantly, but that is something that I've lived with. It's something that I live with. I'm really pushing for people to recognize that, but then also saying at the same time too, I remember we had the conver- you brought up, "all cops are bad". And people being like, "well I don't think all cops are bad, my dads a cop", fuck your cop dad, because your dad was a cop for 30 years, and he didn't say shit about everything that's going on around him, you know? And you're not calling out the racism if you are protecting that because you want to keep your job, then you are also a bad cop. It's just like we say, white silence is violence, cop silence is violence. Quit your job. You want to help people? Quit your fucking job and get a job that is actually going to help people. And then also one of the things that I like to bring up too to help people- they're like, "defund the police? What about the crime? What about this? And that?" You know, in 2018 cops went on strike and crime went [00:55:00] down because they were not enforcing that violence within those communities, people didn't have that fear. And so really, as we were saying- let's say we start defunding the police, they get $4.5 million a day, they got $1.8 billion in the budget. And that's not even counting all the rest of the money that's being thrown at them from other parts of the city. And it's like, what if we put that into schools? What if we put that into parks on the south side. The park in Washington Park, the playground that I know was built before I was born, and yet I can be out in Ravenswood and see these updated jungle gyms and stuff that are top line. And our kids don't get that, they get broken swings and old falling apart slides. What if kids had safe spaces to play? What if there were jobs in Roseland? [00:56:00] What if people on the south side and the west side owned their homes, what, how could that change? What if people had access to public mental health centers. But if people were treated as human, as opposed to a blight that needs to be gotten rid of, a blight on the white community or America, that need to be pushed away into a corner until they're pushed off of the earth? And so it's saying if we start defunding and start putting this money into the people, then they'll start to recognize, oh, we don't actually need police when everybody has what they need, we don't need police. And I'm not saying that this would be some kind of utopia, we had this conversation within BLM on Sunday. We're not trying to say that like, oh, we get rid of this and we'll have a perfect world. We're saying that we need to start that work now, and we [00:57:00] need to keep doing that work and constantly challenging what we've been taught until we get to a place where there is no violence- or that we- everybody is able to deal with- everybody is able to confront that violence and work against it. That we are always doing that work to unpack what has been ingrained in us and to fight against this idea that punishment is the only way. I hope that answers a question. I'm just gonna say it doesn't always work. It doesn't always work either. Sometimes people really want- this is another thing- people really want a full proof plan. I'm like, well, what's your alternative? well what else are you going to do? And if anybody asks y'all that, one thing I always say is, it is totally fucked up that I have to be black in this world and convince people of my humanity and then also fight for my rights, and then also give you a full proof plan in order for you to [00:58:00] get behind me. And telling people, if you want a plan, if you want an alternative then get your ass into the room and start creating it, work with people in communities to actually create that plan, and stop asking me for it because I'm out here getting my ass beat. I was fucking hit by a police van on the 30th, I watched my friends get thrown to the ground. (name) is one of our chapter leads and she was thrown to the ground, slammed to the ground by a police officer and beaten- her daughter who is 17 years old, was attacked by police at that rally. And we had Damon Williams and Peck and Chris Brown and Christiana, and all these people that I love and have been working with and just seeing them, and then complete strangers being brutalized and having to deal with that trauma and still having to get my ass back outside, I cannot also be in here writing policies, [00:59:00] we need other people to do that. But anytime people bring that up as a response to why they don't like abolition, I'm just always like, well then you need to create that, what do you want to see? Get in the room and work with other people to make it and stop asking me. Stop asking black people to do that work in order for you to get behind what we're saying that we need.
David: Yeah. And thank you for sharing all that, just for people who don't know, on the 30th of May Lightfoot called a curfew for 9:00 PM at 8:43 or some dumb shit. I remember seeing a bunch of things, they ended up cutting off the CTA. They ended up lifting all the bridges and there was thousands of protesters ultimately tunneled in unable to get out. And so that's the specific incident that you're referring to. And I think that very much does answer the question because I think, I mean, while every case is individual [01:00:00] I think there's strength in every conversation that we're able to have and hold and spaces that we're able to traverse. As well as the point that you put out, you are all not out there to be able to define or to have to do somebody else's homework for them to understand the concept of Black Lives Matter, right? And I think as someone who is not black as someone, oftentimes I've had multiple conversations with my folks, like, "well, why is it that you're so about this? Or why is it that you're-?" There's a specific person who I'm thinking about, I can't remember what exactly he said, but it was ultimately like, "but you're not black, so why does it matter to you?" and I think at that point, what I was able to do, what I was able to use was just empathy as a thing, right. It's like fuck, "I have black friends", right. fuck, "some of them I consider my family". fuck that conversation, just be like, from a human standpoint is [01:01:00] where I try to approach these conversations- simply put as, how would you feel? If they say, oh, well immediately the answer is always ,no, well, I wouldn't like that, I'd do something, I'd get out of the car, I'd jump in and blah, blah, this that the fifth. Specifically thinking about right now footage of the 30th that I saw from people taking out their phones of police attacking folk. And there was one specific clip that I'm remembering, I'll try, we'll try to have it out, but it was a police officer coming in- two, three kind of came in and then kind of everyone around them kind of got everyone free and they were all able to get out. They were able to push everyone and everyone was able to go. And I think I repost it on my facebook being like, look at the love that exists. And then someone came in and was like, "oh, what? They're fighting a police officer, how is any of that- that person, what if that person was your family member and they got struck?" And I'm like, first of all, I hope to god, my family is not there, one. Two, if they are, they're going to be on the right side, because clearly we're understanding that there's a [01:02:00] wrong side. And whether or not you understand it, whether or not you are about it, whether or not you give a fuck, it's going to end up being. And I think where I try to point it always is, Don't let it have to be personal for it to become a reality. Soeven if you have- and as a non-black person within these movement spaces, surrounded by folk who are white, black, queer, all mix all diverse- I think the biggest point is being able to understand, don't let it become personal until it becomes a reality. And I think a big thing that then are the response that I get, is like, "well, what about ICE? Well, you know, they're deporting all your people, blah, blah, blah, blah. Why aren't you worried about that? Where's the focus on that? Where were the black lives talking about that? They weren't with you. They weren't there, blah, blah, blah." But no, but, let's remember that people have the attention span of a pea, so, within that- [01:03:00] all of this is to say, black folk, people of color, white folk- there's levels to all of this- and I think the best thing we can do is just do our best. Because we also have to understand that there's capacity. One of the things that I really appreciated from your live and just to kind of jump on that again- was, I think you were commenting specifically about people creating actions for themselves and being able to just be- if someone is organizing a protest and it might not be BLM-Chi specifically organizing and curating that, they should still be allowed to do so, right. And there's frustrations, there is anger, there's sometimes a yearning to do some of that activism that you're referring to. Let them do it, if anything- be a part of that because black bodies can't all constantly be what is in front of the movement. And I really appreciate that because here on the west side, specifically, some of the days following that, the big [01:04:00] conversation that was being held was, "oh, black people are looting organizations, black bodies are coming into small town businesses, black bodies.." and that was the conversation. And what I ended up seeing just down the block from my house was a mobilization of brown bodies to the defense of the state. Or to the defense, let's not even think of this as, "oh, this is my dad's business. I want to stand out here and make sure no black people can-" but then what you ended up doing is any black person who ended up driving by you end up assaulting that vehicle or hurting the vehicle without even understanding the problems, the implications that you're bringing into the conversation, and you're thinking you're doing well, you're thinking a bunch of my boys are out there and they're just like, "no, but we're protecting, and we're doing our thing. Cause they ain't going to bring that in here." It's like, I hear you, I get it, you're confusing two things and the worst thing that you're doing is you're adding to upholding the status quo, which is black lives [01:05:00] don't matter as much as yours as a person who is not black, as a person of color, but who is not black.
Ariel: Well, was it May 31st? So after the big May 30th actions, and then the 31st I get calls and they treat our call, not calls and people are saying that the Latin Kings basically took position over that. They were like, we are going to protect our neighborhoods, and they started brutalizing black people and turning them into the police. That was in Little Village, Humboldt Park, Logan Square and other Latinx gangs. And at first people called us and I was like, that is not my situation, y'all need to get your people. And I will be here and ready for [01:06:00] any thoughts that you might need from me, but all these, these brown organizations like OCAD, La Villita, it's a lot of them, and then also a collective that was started of black and brown solidarity, to go in and not only march for peace, but then also set up a meeting between black and Latinx gangs to form a truce. So the gangs right now are in a truce- or most of the gangs are in a truce to not be violent, but also to involve themselves in fighting against police violence and white supremacists violence within their community. And then it came out that the Latin Kings had actually been manipulated by police in order to enforce that anti-blackness. And so there was a whole conversation that [01:07:00] came out of that, and then learning and being like, okay, how can we get better about this in the future and not be pawns of CPD?
So it was just a really, really beautiful moment to see that, and I think all of these moments have been really beautiful to see, but I also want to name that May 30th wasn't the only day people are being beaten. On June 1st, one of my members was beaten so badly, the police took her cane and beat her and she had to be carried away. And her partner was beaten so bad that his head and leg split open, and they both had to be taken to the hospital. Then from- that whole week was so brutal. Then yesterday, not yesterday, Sunday, a young man that was ripped out of his friend's car, they were about to leave our action at Cook County jail and thrown to the ground and headlocked [01:08:00] and taken away. And us trying to be arrested in that situation and being very traumatic experience. But yeah, even through all of that, seeing people coming together, going to jail support people we've never seen, I think that that moment with the anti blackness and brown, it was just so beautiful and perfect for me and reminded me of the Rainbow Coalition, not this bullshit that's happening now.
Right? and then Fred Hampton and other Black Panther Chicago members coming in and forming a truce between all the gangs in Chicago, to be like, "all right, we're stepping up and we're organizing our people. We're protecting our people in creating autonomous zones, cop free zones for our people." Yes, beautiful to see.
Caullen: That's so awesome. I knew you had some juices. [01:09:00]
David: Yeah, no. For example, as someone who no longer lives specifically in Little Village, which is where you're referring to, my partner does, and so we were driving through the area. It was very apparent that you would see large groups of Latin Kings. And what caught my attention was specifically as I was waiting- the way in which gang members at that time specifically, I don't remember a specific date, were communicating with police officers. What got me focused was when I was coming back there was an incident that ended up happening on Cicero and Cermak in which there was heavily armed police officers or whatever you want to call it, circulating. And then what ended up happening was mobs of brown folk ended up killing or I think it was a Latin folk was killed- whatever, and what ended up kind of just conflating everything. But I think one thing that you [01:10:00] said that I really really appreciated was that the following day there was a black and brown solidarity thing that was held outside of the Cicero townhouse, or whatever that, and that ended up marching into the city. So I think while there is still a lot of this specifically referring to the brown Hispanic community that I'm surrounded by, while there are a lot of these anti-black sentiments, a lot of misunderstanding within what exactly the Black Lives Matter movement is calling to and calling for, I think one of the biggest things that oftentimes gets lost is, we are all people who are oppressed, and that's not saying- cause another conversation that I had was like, "oh, well, what I'm hearing is that you think black people got it worse" and it's like, but it's not about who got it worse or who don't. I think we have to understand the reality of all of our situations, whether you've been in this country for four years, or you've been in this country for four generations. [01:11:00] You have been a person who was oppressed for X, Y, and Z, okay, then let's all be able to put together- and I'm not, I can kind of vaguely understand what you meant by the Rainbow Coalition, but from what y'all said, and not really having that education within-
Caullen: We've talked about it before. We've talked about it on this podcast, son
David: we have, we have, you know, David is constantly drinking on this podcast. So remember that. No, but it's just for listeners out there to understand that even within black and brown, I think there's still a lot of growth that has happened. And I think as Ariel mentioned, I am very proud of what I was able to see from within my community, sure, we were able to then weed out the problems, right? Because there are very much problematic folk within these spaces that were very much there to incite violence, very much ready to just kind of do shit. And one of the conversations I was having my brother, because we were riding around that area at the time with him, I was like, you know, with the [01:12:00] quarantine, with COVID having been a thing let's also think about- most of these people have been part of those 60 million who are unemployed. So while we also are seeing this large group of folks being mobilized to do good, to participate in actions, to start giving time and capacities to organizations that they would in another opportunity never have done. We're also seeing a larger group of folk who just haven't done shit and who are just chilling kind of waiting for something to have errupted, and as this thing bubbled, as you were mentioning, we're seeing all sides of what ended up bubbling, right? Not only just the side of seeing and being exposed to police brutality, but also just fools who are like, "yo, I'm trying to cop these new Jordans". I had hella motherfuckers were like, "Hey, if you're out there, I'm a size 12." They were being funny and they're my boys, so I get it, but do you understand what I'm getting at though? Do y'all get it, talk [01:13:00] to me. I was like, first of all, I'm sorry, go ahead-
Ariel: I get so irritated with like, I love the looting. I love it. It is so important. I hate the separation that people have of other people for the risk, I'm all about it. I definitely was one of the people when they started looting downtown, I was like, yo, can I get some cream? I need a new body cream. I need lip gloss. When y'all go in there, I need a new charger, if you can grab that. We went to the Nike store. People were throwing things. It was so beautiful. People are like, oh looters, they're evil. But what people didn't see was the beauty of it, people were like, they were going into the Nike store and grabbing a ton of clothes. They're like, "Hey you like this sweater? Here this looks real cute on you. Here, take this" sharing the work. People were- when they broke into Macy's, they were throwing out lotions and purses, they were like, "who wants what? Who needs what?" And then also people were thirsty and tired and the stores that [01:14:00] all closed, breaking into the stores, the 7/11s and the Walgreens and passing out drinks to people and medical supplies to people were bleeding. It was- and then also you would see somebody walking on the street, somebody had a case of budlight, and I was like, can I get one of those? And they were like YEA, and then we drank bud light on the sidewalk.
David: America. That is American as fuck.
Ariel: I don't even like bud light, but I will take a free one, for sure. And it was just, you know, just the fact that this anger and frustration and it being like, also all of these businesses- who gives a fuck about Macy's, who gives a fuck about Nike, who cares about Tiffany's, AT&T, T-mobile, whoever else, all the banks that got beat up, which was beautiful to me, just walking down and seeing every single bank window being broken, ATMs being knocked to the ground and opened, oh, love it. And then, you [01:15:00] know, the Amazon store being destroyed, oh yes, I love it. And even though, while you're seeing people being brutalized, you're also seeing people taking care of each other. And then just seeing that anger, it's like, at the end of the day, that's our shit. You know what I mean? Why would I pay $50 for a sweatshirt? You know, that's our shit. Take it back, and loot, beat up these buildings- not to mention sometimes that's the only way you're going to get your government's attention because we've been peacefully marching and protesting forever and have not gotten as much as we could get. And then we start beating up buildings and rioting, and making cops angry. And everybody's suddenly like, "well, maybe we need to defund the police because you know, they're going to burn down all the Targets if we don't." That's so funny to me. "We're not going to have Wendy's anymore"
Caullen: Wendy's and Target are gonna be fine. The CEO Target was ilke, yeah, that's cool, I can build another one, we Gucci, he didn't even care. You know [01:16:00] what I mean? Yes to all of that. And I zoom out and I think I see, and I've probably heard this from multiple people, but, yeah, this is what- this is what capitalism does, right? It creates this need, always, and then we put COVID, we put unemployment, we put people not having anything more so than usual, and it's like, yeah, fuck, yeah, I'm a cop these Jordans, I'm gonna get this, whatever. Cause it's not people's lives. I think on your point about how the media talks about- and just people and that is media, people don't want the violent protest versus the peaceful protest. It's like, no, me burning a cop car, isn't violence, that's a tool of violence, if anything it's peaceful. You know what I'm saying?
Ariel: Say it again, Caullen! Say it again!
Caullen: Burning a cop car is not violence. If anything, it's peaceful because you're destroying a tool of violence and a tool of oppression and a tool of anti-blackness and a tool of capitalism and a tool of white supremacy
David: No need to gas him up, he's already gassin up. And if you continue to gas him I don't know where [01:17:00] we're going to end up in the next 30 minutes.
Caullen: I want to talk about some nuance. I want to get your thoughts on it too, because I've seen a lot of folks within the black community, even, I won't say in movements, but folks who are adjacent at least, talking about riots and looting or what we call rebellion with smaller neighborhoods in the southwest Chicago. And we know how that was kind of intentionally done with Lightfoot putting up the bridges and doing all that. But a friend of mine who was very much on the- black dude, he's with it, but he's very much on the, you know, looting in certain areas, I see it, but also I don't like when it bleeds into our neighborhoods and on his Instagram, he interviewed a older black gentleman outside of a Walgreens. I want to say the Walgreens was boarded up because they didn't want folks to break in, so it wasn't actually broken into. The old black man was like, "why are you here?" And he's like, "oh, I'm here cause I want to get my insulin cause I get it from Walgreens, but it's boarded up right now, it's closed, I [01:18:00] can't get to it." And he was kind of putting that on his Instagram as a point to like, we shouldn't be doing this. And my thought on it was like, I want homie to have his insulin, I'm not, you know what I'm saying? Wanna have his stuff but on one hand, he should get that shit delivered to his house for free. we should have healthcare system that just give us that. That's the systemic critique. On the other end, that's unfortunate, but, and I hate to use a war analogy, cause that's the whole part of all this, but in this fight that they've brought on us and always brought on us and we're in the middle of it now, shit's- we're not going to everything we need right away. And we're going to have casualties in a way that's very real and literal, but also things like this where it's like, I want this older black man to have his medicine, but also I want capitalism to be abolished and police. So it's- and I don't know- they're not giving us many fields to play on, so we're trying to do what we can. And I actually wrestled with that, because I know my friend, I know it's anecdotal, but it's- I want him to have his stuff, but he shouldn't have to go to [01:19:00] Walgreen's in the first place, he should have that shit on delivery. for Amazon to give prime packages and things you don't need, he's gotta get his insulin for free. For free. For freeeee!
And I know you've seen that. I mean, I don't know who you've seen it from, Ariel. I'm curious your thoughts on those kinds of conversations, not like, Fox news being like, "they shouldn't be looting", but folks who are closer to you saying, or who are expressing sentiments like that, does that make sense?
Ariel: I saw somebody do an interview and she just said it so well, she was like, "people are asking us, 'why are we fucking up our neighborhood?' And it's like, none of this is ours. We don't own any of this. Walgreens came in here, raised taxes. All these white people came in here, raised our rent, our taxes. You know, we can't afford to live here, and none of this is ours and we should take it back." You know, not only that, what [01:20:00] people are constantly leaving out in those conversations is the way that community stepped up to fill in those gaps, you know? So it's like, well before that men needed to get Walgreens and pay for his insulin, now there are people that are getting insulin for free and being like, "who needs it? How do we get this to you? I will bring it to you." People that are setting up food distribution sites. We have a thing right now where we've been getting so many people donating supplies and money set aside so we've got drivers and people too, and a form for people to fill out to say, "these are the things I need" and we bring it to them. Or a pantry is like, "we need all this shit." And we take it to them. We go to the store and we buy it and we take it to them to make sure that people don't need to suffer that way. And they're just making sure that the south and west sides are covered. And get that white [01:21:00] guilt money, that white guilt money is good money. I swear, it has been insane. People who have reached out.
Caullen: Oh totally. That's an episode within it of itself.
Ariel: I mean, Apple's reaching out, we got tequila companies reaching out, you got all these coffee shops that are donating a percentage of all their money to BLM-Chi, and all these other orgs and such. People are ready and it's like- and so those resources are coming in and we put it right back into the community and making sure that we are taken care of because those stores are gone, whatever, we all we got, we take care of us. And so we're going to make sure that even if all this stuff gets looted, that y'all still got what you need. It really frustrates me when people are like, "oh, my black business, my- oh, they went too far. [01:22:00] They destroyed it." I'm not really here for black capitalism. I'm here for black people and you have insurance on that building. These are things. People are being killed. George Floyd is not coming back. Tony McDade is not coming back. They are gone forever. So fuck your business, let people have that stuff, you will get it back. Or maybe you should consider "what have I actually been doing in this community? What have I been doing for this community? Has it been enough? And can I step back and support at this moment?"
David: To kind of just jump off what Ariel was saying, regardless of how these conversations regarding people who are about the movement, but feel some type of way about the looting or the rioting or whatever language you want to put to it. Most [01:23:00] Targets are gonna be fine, but I think the biggest conversation where I'm finding is, well, what about my mom's business? Or what about my dad's liquor store or this, that, the fifth, and I think what was extremely powerful is what you said- "but what has that liquor store done for the community?" So you're worried about your dad's liquor store, which I hear you, you know, Jesus juice. We sometimes need it. However, what impact has it made to the community, or has it even done anything? I think that's a very interesting train of thought that I hadn't thought of when engaging with folks who bring that up. Because the way I lean to it is like, the US government has provided billions of dollars to banks, to airline companies, to hotels during this whole COVID thing. I'm sure that it should be able to help out your mom and pop. "Oh, but it doesn't! But we know that it doesn't", "oh, oh, it doesn't?! Oh, [01:24:00] so let's fix that so that it takes care of not only the airlines, but yo mom and pops liquor store!" So- which I think then- you see the light bulb, it happen, and it's one of my favorite things. And I think within these last two weeks within these last three weeks, we've seen this rise of movement, of consciousness, of, as you mentioned, people reaching out, wanting to be engaged. Realizing that this shit has been happening for decades. Much like I did, just a couple years ago, much like people before me, we all come into this when we come into it. And as Gandalf says, "you are neither early, nor are you late. You arrive precisely when you mean to." And then it's- I think within that, I find momentum, I find courage, and I find purpose in ourselves to do so. [01:25:00] Because everyone then has their place to play. And I think as we started off with this conversation, you are now full-time at BLM and that is- we need to take a moment to that. Because to understand that the now your needs and wants- while they are monatery, while they are not the end goal- your happiness is not on what you're wearing or the house you live in rather more so your community or the people within you live in. I think gaining this momentum and reaching out to folks who this may be their first Bourbon 'N BrownTown episode they've ever listened to, and they just clicked on it because it had abolition and they're like, "well, what does that really mean? Let me dive into a little bit longer." I think it could be eyeopening, but it's also encouraging. And I hope that everyone who is engaging with either Soapbox or Black Lives Matter in Chicago and or the nation understand that within this momentum, we got to use everybody we got. And this isn't over, I think a big thing [01:26:00] that I'm constantly hearing is, "oh, but everything is done." And I'm like, "nah fam, things are happening and it will continue to happen." I feel blessed and honored to be surrounded by folks like yourself, like other organizers or activists or media producers who have been in it longer than I have. And so the goal for myself, as people who may be listening, is just to learn, and to be able to find the language more so, cause we always focus on how important words are, and sometimes we are the product of these own mistakes. And so the the point is and the goal is, that we're open enough with everyone to be able to be like, "nah, you know what? I hear you, David, you fucked this up, but listen, let me tell you how it goes" and that's perfect. And I think that we all need that, because if I'm not myself open and vulnerable enough to do so, then nothing changes. Then nothing changes. But then to be able to understand, "oh, this is what Black Lives Matter means. This is what the movement is pushing."
I think Caullen had a note on here with a, [01:27:00] "all lives matter don't matter til Black Lives Matter." And I don't necessarily think we need to give space to the whole blue lives matter rhetoric, because we all understand it's a load of baloney for multiple reasons. But understanding the concept of Black Lives Matter is not using- or is not being pushed to diminish everybody else. Going back to the conversation of- I've had it over and over, "well, do you understand that there's still 1,500 kids who were abused in ICE detention centers, why isn't anything happened there?" It's like, no, you are correct, you are right, there's still, there is injustices happening everywhere. The point of this is not to remove light, but in order to shine it and understand that these systems are all intertwined. The police, the military, the patrol-
David: no, what are they called? No, it's-
Caullen: oh, border patrol?
David: Border patrol, which isn't even a thing, cause there aren't borders. It's understanding the cool- so I guess the question I want to pose as we start going into wrapping it up, there is the ideal, [01:28:00] the- there was a word you used- like the end goal that we would love to see the world within the next few months. There are also the harsh realities of the world where we're seeing- while Minneapolis is pushing on, unanimously, to completely abolish or to- change the way the police
David: dismantle the way the police structure is working in Minneapolis- in comparison to Chicago, where we know the police is very much unionized, and in strength of white supremacists tactics and ideologies, whether or not- I think one thing we didn't mention is how often people who are in the police department are affiliated and associated with the KKK, neo-Nazis, other white supremacy groups that- "oh, but they don't see color." "yeah, my ass," That's- and we don't need to dive into, but moving forward, within these next three [01:29:00] months, coming up to an election, we have Biden as a democratic nominee, what are people's thoughts? What are people's feel?
Caullen: You're leaning harder into the election than I thought.
David: Well, I mean, I'm just cur- cause I mean, I guess this is all to say within, with the conversations with folks that I've been having who were like, "oh, this is over, oh no one's going to be doing shit. No one's doing anything." That's why my purpose on Facebook specficially is if I see people going live on an action, I'll share it, I don't care- of course depending who my friend is, but I'll share it regardless of anything, because I want people to constantly be aware that these movements, these spaces, these actions are still happening. It's not like it's over, okay? We have 30,000 people this- not this Saturday, but last Sunday, right? "Oh, that's it. Okay. We're done." No, no, that's not the reality of the fact. The reality of the fact is these things are still happening. So how do we use that to have folks who think they have done enough? Let's put it that way, or people who are like, "oh, I'm tired of hearing [01:30:00] BLM, I'm just gonna change my tactics or turn off my Instagram or not go on Facebook." So, how do we then as organizers or activists or media producers continue to take the moment to push- not only for Black Lives Matter, because while that is where we're at, how do we then continue to traverse the abolition world? Abolishing ICE, getting healthcare for everyone, leading into what I feel is gonna bleed into the elections. And so, yes, you're right. I wasn't thinking of leaning in too much into there, but I feel that it's only going to be a product of that.
Caullen: As far what we see for the future- and I think there's a lot of things- in getting to the conversations we have with people, I think I'm not trying to figure out where people are at, because that'll help me bring about allegory or bring about stats or bringing out just my own experiences, I know that's what is going to bring them in. So I think as far as the future, I mean, I think we- I think it's [01:31:00] good that you're putting up like, "Hey, people are still in the streets, literally all the time and that's gonna continue for a while." And I think we're in a unique moment where it's continuing for longer than it normally does. And I think, the one thing about elections is, it's a tool in the toolbox as we know it as, right, but I think now, and different municipalities are different as far as their budgets, but to defund the police isn't a vague thing that we're talking about, or not- it's not a slogan. We're talking about something we can do. And there's numbers too, and there's legislation around. LA, it's hot in LA, especially now because their budget season is right now. But I think it was important to mobilize folks around their local- everything about electoral type stuff, what their local municipalities are doing, I seen a lot of that out in the social media ether. So focus on those kind of tangible things, I think that's there, and another thing that's important too. But I think what's paramount to all about understanding the ways capitalism, white supremacy, anti-blackness permeate in everything, and I think when- I do think [01:32:00] at some point we won't see as much of it as we do, and we're already seeing a little bit of that too, as far as mainstream wise. But when that moment happened, talking about abolition as- obviously we're talking about abolishing police and prisons, but how it's so much more than that. And it's a mindset and it's philosophy and we include restorative justice, we include all these other things. So whatever said person's issue is- they're all about education, we talk about how CTU strikes, if we look at it under a certain lens, was abolition work in a way, right? And that led the moment for this, and that can lead the moment for the future for what education is, and what that's going to look like. So you hit right on it, how this intersects with everything. So better we, as in this conversation, as well as who we talk to to understand what abolition means on this bigger level, we can talk about it and work towards how it permeates a future world of liberation that we can see, and that we're seeing the beginnings of, in my view .
David: Going back into, [01:33:00] while the momentum is with Black Lives Matter and abolition, we want folks to understand that there is that bigger end goal. And the more we can all understand, the more we can conceptualize it. I love the way Ariel's thinking like, "if you don't have enough imagination to imagine a world without police officers, then you're not there." You know what I'm saying? It does take more imagination than we think of, because I think when having that conversation, people are like- as we mentioned- "what's going to happen with crime? Who's going to take care of the rapist, this, that, the fifth?" And when we start understanding and looking at like, "yo, this is the thing that upholds the problem," I think then we allow ourselves to then be able to have different conversations on what the possibility of the future looks like, which for us- at least in this space, and for anyone who's listening is hopeful and there's this positive push for it. [01:34:00] And, you know, I mean, I'm excited. I'm very excited, one- also as a media creator to see, because I think in comparison, having been in DC when Trump was elected, to the actions and the movement that I'm seeing now here in my hometown of Chicago it's encouraging. And it's so interesting then to see that being in a space where you're surrounded, you're marching down the street, seeing police officers in the front, police officers in the back, you telling them that you want them to quit their job and them seeing-
Caullen: Don't kneel for me, motherfucker. I hate the kneeling, ugh, I don't know. The protests are varied, right? There's not- people say "the protesters are this, protesters are that"- protesters include a broad swath of people in political ideologies and stuff, which, as we've talked about, is good to bring people in and all that, but it's like, we're not all of a thing, of the same. There are folks [01:35:00] being like, "March with us, or take a knee or reform police." And I'm like, nuh-uh, motherfucker, no. Take that knee somewhere- miss me with all that knee shit, quit your job, and then we'll start working with us, but I don't want to hear that. I'm sorry to interject but I just had to get that out. And I'll just say there's a binary, we have talked about things very simplistically to- so people understand, or we being like, "the corporate media," which is a whole other thing that's been something that's kind of been irking me as of late, as well. We will link this on the episode notes, but there's a beautiful Medium article written by a former cop called Confessions of a Bastard Cop, talking about a bunch of different legal shit that he did and saw that were horrible that police officers did, so we'll include that in the episode notes. I just cut you off, David. I forgot what you were saying-
David: No, you're totally fine. I'm just trying to- for listeners who, for those of us who are not black, one- I'm encouraging everyone to continue to sustain, [01:36:00] and to understand that by us being out there and being like "Black Lives Matter" it is not diminishing, and it is not pushing away from issues or experiences of oppression that we feel that may not be, mainstream. I think one thing that I saw within this last week was there was a Latin American or Hispanic folk, a Latinx folk murdered in LA who was shot at X amount of times, and all the posts I'm seeing is "why, justice for this gentleman. Why aren't we getting as much attention?" being a person who is not black. How do I then engage this folk, this person to be like, "your cry is heard, but just as all these other cries have been heard, not everyone got the same response as George Floyd did." Does that make sense? That doesn't diminish, but how then do we, as you know- and Ariel, I guess I've [01:37:00] mentioned this in Bourbon 'N BrownTown- conversations of, I don't give myself the title of an organizer or an activist. I think, through Soapbox we're able to highlight, we're able to document, we're able to package movements, movement spaces, organizers, in a way that is visually, audibly appealing while also getting across a narrative. But within that work, we ourselves have to challenge our beliefs, have to challenge what we see as status quo versus not, and where we want to find ourselves in. And so within that, having conversations once again about- with my own kin about black lives mattering over all these other issues that are permeating the ether. It is not to diminish them. It is not to put them to [01:38:00] the side, but on the contrary, use those as opportunities to continue to uplift the movement that be. And so the question was more so revolving around, how do we see this? Taking it into November, being able to tie more of these things. And I think in Chicago, there's a lot, there was the conversation a few days ago of CPS- or CPD in CPS. Once again, this is not the first time this was brought into the conversation, and I think Lightfoot was like, "nah", if I'm not mistaken. But hopefully through this podcast episode and other things that are in the world, Caullen and Ariel both just dropped hella stuff because this is not just us. Ariel, I really appreciate it when you were like, you're helping curate a group of individuals who, if you were gone- not, we're not speaking that into existence- but, have the ability and have the skillset and have the mentality to be able to continue to push that work. And I think that's incredibly [01:39:00] important. I think that's incredibly valuable, especially for folks who do not- who are just coming into this.
Ariel: People need to find their movement homes and really just fight that fear. We have- it is very scary to leave right now. It is very scary to do the work. And it gets scarier every single day. But that is- the scarier it gets, that means the more we're winning and I think people need to recognize that. I think people are recognizing that so far. As I've seen in Chicago. People are still coming out in thousands and mass, even though they've seen people being beaten, and are still trying to figure it out, are starting their own actions, are trying to educate themselves. And we need more of that. I said earlier, I [01:40:00] don't have the privilege for people to sit at home, and they don't have the privilege to sit at home. And I don't have the privilege to sit at home myself. Whatever I'm dealing with, I know that this fight is bigger than me. It is bigger than my fears. That black future- that future that we are fighting for is necessary because we cannot do this anymore. What we are doing right now, it is not sustainable. It has never been sustainable. And it has become even more apparent that we are in danger. I mean shit, we're in a climate crisis because of corporations and businesses- hm?
Caullen: I just said, "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." We got that, too, to deal with.
Ariel: Right?! Yeah, the world is ending in so many ways. And we have to fight that, we have to be prepared to make sure that doesn't happen. And we still are on the brink of war in many different [01:41:00] spaces. Only reason that that hasn't happened is because everyone is dealing with the 'rona. This is the moment for people to break out of that fear. I get a lot of messages of people saying, "oh, fucking police (audio jumbled) " be able to walk right for a week, then you can go outside and be on the front line with me. If my member could get her head bashed in and then still come back out a few days later, you can be on the fucking front lines with me. I don't, I'm not taking any more excuses. I don't have any more patience. My people are dying. My people are being beaten. The world is dying. This isn't- it's not it anymore. Get the fuck up! If you can't leave your house- and I'm not promoting [01:42:00] ableism, it's like, you have to figure out how to do it at home too, you know?And not just by hashtags and not just by sharing- that stuff is important, but you have to find all the ways that you can plug in, and you have to beat that fear. You cannot let that fear paralyze you, you cannot let that fear stop you from doing the work. Because we need you.
David: And so, kind of just as we're wrapping things up, for all of our first time listeners and/or people who are just curious to be able to engage in Black Lives Matter here in Chicago, do you have any words to them or any tips and tricks for them to be able to get plugged, for those who are tired of hashtagging and maybe they gave a couple of bucks, but like me were broke, so what else could we do to assist, and/or now, or in the future? Just anything specific.
Ariel: First I'mma say, people need [01:43:00] to donate to independent media because there is nothing more important right now than the work that y'all do. Like, The Reader and Rampant Magazine and all that, I called y'all out on BLM. It's important that we support that. Cause otherwise we're not going to move, this stuff is not being shared the way it should be. So anybody who listens to this, you got $1, $2, $5, $20, y'all need to give it to Soapbox right now. Caullen and David are always out filming us, making sure that people see what is actually happening. So if you're listening to this, give them your money, they need that money to keep doing the work that they're doing.
Caullen: Her words, not mine, for once.
David: But I agree though, 100%. I'm trying to be like her, paid full-time.
Ariel: Hit me up. (Audio jumbled) we will do one-to-ones. We'll get you in this moment. We'll help you build skills. I'm saying-
Caullen: I just want to make sure that [01:44:00] listeners heard you. I think you froze on mine, at least. You said that your BLM has an accomplice group for folks who wanna get tapped into, and maybe black who want to do the work. Yeah?
Ariel: And our black group, and they just hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org. And we will help you plug in
Caullen: Dope city. I love all of that. Last, you have bigger portion- I just want to end with a Mariame Kaba quote because I read it for the second time earlier today, and really like it. I think it encapsulates everything we are saying. "People like me who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of society built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self preservation, what could the country look like if we had billions of extra dollars to spend on housing, food, and education for all? This change in society wouldn't happen immediately, but the protests show that many people are [01:45:00] ready to embrace a different vision of safety and justice."
David: For everyone who's listening, once again we want to thank you guys for taking the time, and just getting informed. There's multiple ways to do it. We're constantly learning and that is okay, to be constantly learning. But if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And, clearly, we ain't fucking with that.
Caullen: We're also going to have a myriad of resources on the episode notes. So please listen, or course, as you are now, but scroll down and check them out, we'll have tons of shit there for you to tap in, more than we can- it could be another hour of conversation if we listed everyone who's doing work right now. So peep the episode notes.
David: Ariel, once again thank you for hanging out. I'm going to make sure that we get an opportunity for you to get into the studio. We hang out, chop it up in person, maybe, you know, abolition 2.0- where we're at a couple months from now. CPD don't no longer exist in Chicago, it's a fucking- I don't know? I'm speaking this [01:46:00] into-
Caullen: Why is your voice getting so high?
David: I'm speaking this truth into existence.
Ariel: Speak it! Manifest, baby.
David: Last thing, any shout outs to any of your homie's, fam, peers?
Ariel: They know I love them.
Caullen: You know who you are.
David: That was the most bad ass- that was, literally we do that almost every time we have- any shout outs- that was low key the killest. "You know who you are." And so from Bourbon 'N BrownTown stay black, stay brown, stay queer,
Caullen: stay tuned, stay turnt.
David: And we'll see y'all here, next time. Thank you for listening.
Caullen: fuck [01:47:00] 12.
(Proll'Ems by TWEAK'G)