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Digital privacy and security measures for staying safe while protesting

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(Resource for the Adafruit teams and publicly posted, by Violet Blue)

Digital privacy and security measures for staying safe while protesting may feel like a confusing, moving target. That’s because your adversaries in this scenario are a combination of greedy companies, broken and corrupt authorities, and people who simply don’t know how to do their own privacy and security.

Don’t fret: there is an easy path through this. It’s a path with lots of solid answers (and resources) to get your questions answered, help you when things go awry, and to limit your risk. All you need to do is know your risks, make the best choices you can for each situation, and stay nimble. The guides and resources below provide you with essentials for safe and effective protesting; to go even further with online protest guides, hardware hacking projects, and guidelines for staying sane during insane times, read more in How To Be A Digital Revolutionary.

Getting ready

Carefully consider how much gear you’re bringing, and how you plan to keep track of it. Minimal gear is always best. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move easily in, and make sure your mask is secured and won’t come off easily. Bring the minimum amount of stuff to keep your bag or pockets light. Bring extra batteries, an extra mask, storage cards, and your own charger. Pack water, your ID, any prescriptions you need, and consider pandemic extras like nitrile gloves and antibacterial wipes/gel. 

Protest prep (detailed below):

  • Comfortable clothes, layers
  • Pack light
  • Prep your phone
  • Print docs you might need like maps, etc
  • Make a plan in case you lose each other
  • Put a password or PIN on every piece of digital gear you possibly can, attach wrist straps to everything, and sign out of apps you’re not using

Buddy systems and planning ahead

Formulate a digital strategy with your friends before going. Agree on which encrypted app everyone will be using to communicate, and which sharing sites you’re focusing on. Check in about taking photos or video of each other. Agree to look out for each other while taking photos or video, sort of like having a “spotter.”

Cell phone service will be degraded, at the very least because there will be so many people using it. Create a file (in notes, a photo, a text document, or a PDF) that doesn’t require you to use the Internet to access it. On this file, put everyone’s contact numbers, a phone number for your lawyer or a legal advocacy group, your emergency contact, and a map of the area or building you’ll all be in. This way you can get to it when you can’t get cell service or WiFi is down.

Before you go, review maps of the area. Make a plan with your friends about where to meet, and where to meet if you get separated. Set a time limit and make your meeting point specific. For instance, if you get separated for more than fifteen minutes, meet at the McDonald’s on Market Street. 

Don’t just select a corner, park, street or city block: If you say “the corner of Market and Castro,” how will you know which corner in a giant crowd? Landmarks are also easier to find in mass marches when street signs may not be visible. Be sure to plan how you’ll end the event; set a time and an area you plan to be in at the finish so you can regroup and decide what to do next.

Before you head out check to see if any of the people organizing the march or event you are attending has a track record, so you know what to expect. See if their history has any violent or problematic protests. Find out if what you’re planning on doing will be in a public, safe space—or not.

In the United States, your First Amendment right to freedom of assembly doesn’t mean you can gather anywhere you want. It’s meant to limit authorities from infringing on peaceful assembly in public spaces. The problem is, it’s often difficult to tell (especially in a city) where the private spaces are in public places; you might wander onto private property that isn’t clearly marked without even knowing it. Many seemingly public spaces are owned by corporations; Levi Plaza in San Francisco is just one example. Find out if the place you’re going is really a public place—or if it’s technically private property.

Such areas are called Privately-Owned Public Space (POPS). You can find them by Googling POPS and the name of your city (also check the POPS entry in this book’s “Resources” chapter) and they’re often in downtown city office districts. POPS are usually things like small parks, plazas, terraces, or atriums. If you move your protest or assembly into a POPS, and that’s when the police can crack down on your protest.

Finally — know your rights. Be sure to read the ACLU’s Protesters’ Rights resource, a page that guides you by scenario.

Docs to keep with you

It’s a good idea to make sure you have your emergency contacts handy. This means your personal emergency contact, but also contact information for a legal hotline, or your lawyer if you have one.

You may want to keep a copy of these somewhere that’s not your phone in case something happens to it. Sometimes the best way is the old fashioned way; while some might tell you to put this info on a USB stick, a print copy somewhere on your person is the most practical solution. A post-it stuck to your ID, or even written on your arm in ink (if you think things will be intense) works just fine.

Unless you’re aiming for trouble, you should always keep your ID on you. This, and any information about medical conditions and allergies. If you’re meeting with people in an unfamiliar building or area, consider keeping a copy of a map or building plan on you as well. Your mapping app might not always be available or fast enough, so either download a copy to your phone or print it to stash in your bag.

Print the Talking to police (know your rights) cards to keep on you, and to give out to others.

Along with these, you may want to consider keeping a few other documents on you that can come in handy if you’re confronted by misbehaving authority figures.

Phone prep

Your phone is your most important piece of gear. You’ll need your phone locked down for security and ready to connect to the world.

Prepare as if you will lose your phone or have it confiscated.

  • Back up your address book and all files
  • Sign out of (or remove) every non-essential app
  • Make sure your password is on — do not use fingerprint or face ID; these have less legal protections and authorities have been forcing phones open with these methods for years
  • Turn off location, Bluetooth
  • Turn on encryption
  • Install and use a secure (end-to-end encrypted) messaging service like Signal or Threema
  • Install and use a VPN like Tunnelbear
  • Update your device and apps
  • Don’t let your phone join open WiFi networks
  • Go into settings and turn off locked screen notifications

Put your phone in Airplane Mode to reduce surveillance risks as well as prevent your battery from draining. Media use drains your battery, but so does using WiFi when there are a lot of people around (among other things). Consider getting a small extra battery pack to stash in your bag so you don’t run out of juice at the moment you need it the most. There are lots of inexpensive, slim, and light “juice packs” (small battery chargers) you can get that won’t add a lot to your load.

Your phone is a tracking device in a variety of ways. One solution is to keep your phone in an Anti-Surveillance Phone Pouch when not in use.

If you’re going to be out and about, you may want to do a little DIY work on your phone and attach a wrist strap to it. This way, if your phone gets knocked out of your hands, you won’t lose it. Buy an inexpensive case on Amazon, and salvage or buy a small camera wrist strap—the kind that is just a cord. Then you can do one of two things. Before you snap the case on, attach the wrist strap through one of the case’s available holes.

Make sure no one can figure out your location when you take pictures with your phone. Most photo apps give you the option to remove the data that’s in a photo file that can give snoops your exact coordinates when you took that photo.

On an Android phone, go to Settings and Apps, then tap each app you take photos with to see if it’s collecting your location. Toggle Location to “off” if it isn’t already. To prevent your iPhone or iPad from saving location data in photos, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Open Settings
  • Privacy > Location Services
  • You’ll see a list of apps. Tap on Camera and then select Never

More tips:

  • Don’t let your phone out of your sight or let anyone else use it
  • Don’t open texts or emails from anyone you don’t know on your phone
  • Be aware of anyone looking over your shoulder when you unlock your phone. Look out for cameras or phones that might be pointed at your screen


Do inventory of the apps you use for photos, video, status updates, and communicating with your community. Make sure they’re updated and easy to access. Some phones will let you assign a key or make a shortcut for taking photos or video; set that up so you’re always ready. Again, log out of or delete all your non-essential apps — this is to prevent the apps from spying on you, and keeps your accounts safe if your phone ends up in someone else’s hands.

  • If you plan to share on the go, review the settings of your social media apps to make sure they’re not compromising your security, such as sharing your location.
  • Pick a secure, reputable, end-to-end encrypted messaging app.
  • Strongly consider using a reputable face-blurring tool for video and photos you take of yourself and other people. Several have been released in the past week and few have been vetted by security teams; it’s important to understand that face blurring, if done incorrectly, can be easily un-done. Reports on whether or not masks defy facial recognition are conflicted.

Only use apps from reputable sources and make sure you’re downloading the verified, legit app. A lot of well-meaning articles are circulating about protest apps, but few are written by people who understand how digital surveillance actually works: security protocols, where the data is stored and sent, third-party sharing, how the app responds to demands from law enforcement, etc. 

You have options when it comes to encrypted chat apps. Signal is considered the best choice by far, with iPhone, Android, and desktop versions. With Signal you can also make encrypted phone calls. iMessage is for Apple iOS only, so it’s a great choice if you’re only communicating with other iPhones — messages sent to an Android phone are not encrypted.

Every app owned by Facebook should be considered suspect and high risk (FB, Insta, WhatsApp). If you must use Messenger, be sure to turn on “Secret Conversations” to activate encryption.

Signal and Threema get it right when it comes to defying surveillance, and neither are owned by corporations. Threema in particular allows the most fine-grained anonymity tools offered by any communication app around.

This week Signal announced it’s currently rolling out a new face-blurring tool into the latest Android and iOS versions of its app. Signal’s announcement post also suggests that the company is working on masks (gaiters) that may scramble facial recognition AI, so stay tuned.

Have a backup plan for when the app you use to share media stops working. In a recent protest, police ordered newsfeeds cut and Facebook simultaneously turned off Facebook Live streams coming from people at the protest with a high number of viewers.

A burner app will allow you to send SMS text messages from a throwaway number, and some offer disappearing messages and end-to-end encryption. Recommended burners include Burner app, Hushed, and CoverMe. 

When things get weird

If you’re in a protest and things start getting scary, here are a few tips:

  • Always move with the crowd (same direction, don’t try to go against)
  • Don’t panic
  • Pay attention to authorities
  • Have a spotter if you document
  • Exit the flow on a diagonal

In a situation where people start to rush, panic, or run, always go with the flow, figure out where your exits might be, and get away from the crowd. The danger here is real, and not just from violent police or rabid protesters. Falling down can get you trampled, leaving you injured or worse. You could be crushed or have a lot of people fall on top of you, and there’s a risk of suffocation because you may not be able to fill your lungs.

People who regularly swim in the ocean, like me, will know how to get out of a riptide—when the ocean pulls you out and away from the coast. When this happens, you swim parallel to the coastline, and it’s hard work. You’re exhausted afterward, and much further from where you started.

Being in a bad crowd situation is similar. To get out of a scary crowd that’s pulling you into its fray, you won’t make a sharp right or left turn (cutting across the crowd). Make a gradual right or left across the flow of people, more like a 45-degree diagonal angle. Stay at the speed of the crowd and gradually push through, without panicking or shoving. After you get to “shore,” go around a corner. If you can’t get fully out yet, get behind a barrier that requires people to go around you. Wait here where you’re protected until you see another break in the flow of people, or another opportunity to move.

If you know you’re going to a potentially rowdy protest, set up multiple meet-up points, with some being specifically outside of the protest area, and preferably not where the protest may move to. Also maintain situational awareness at all times, and communicate with others to assess out the mood. 

One problem for people who wanted to get away from the U.C. Berkeley protests after the 2016 election was the issue of “police kettling.”

“Kettling” is when police corral protestors and anyone inside the zone they want to control. You want to avoid ending up in this zone, but sometimes it’s difficult because authorities try to do it without anyone figuring it out. Sometimes they will give warning over a bullhorn and ask to disperse within a certain amount of time. That’s when you decide whether the situation is worth potential detention or arrest, or if you’re better off leaving to regroup elsewhere.

While in the crowd, you may want to split up with your group intentionally. Always split off with a buddy; never go alone. This way both of you have “eyes and ears” for risk, danger, and maintaining safety when taking photos or video. Have everyone agree to meeting points where you’ll check in during the event.

Unless you are wearing a full mask and respirator that doesn’t move from your face in any way, if you get hit with chemicals, you’re going down. Yes, you can use milk to wash it out and reduce the effects, but that requires people to help you and guide you out.

The best way to prepare for protests that turn violent is to read the online series “OPSEC for Activists” by security researcher and medic Elle Armageddon:

DIY resources

(For Adafruit team)
If you find yourself where you need help, including bail, Ladyada, pt, Stella, and team are available for all team members to assist.

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George Floyd Memorial Service Minneapolis, MN – Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn, NY

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George Floyd Memorial Service Minneapolis, MN – CSPAN. Terence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, will be in attendance at the Brooklyn service in Cadman Plaza – NY1.

Day of mourning
George Floyd Memorial Service, Minneapolis

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

The Adafruit team is mourning George Floyd on Thursday, June 4th, 2020, team members are using the time to reflect and plan action.

George Floyd Memorial Service, North Carolina

Saturday, June 6th, 2020

George Floyd Funeral Service, Houston

Monday, June 8th, 2020 (Viewing)

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 (Funeral)

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Zoom's Commitment to User Security Depends on Whether you Pay It or Not

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Zoom was doing so well.... And now we have this:

Corporate clients will get access to Zoom's end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won't enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications.

"Free users for sure we don't want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose," Yuan said on the call.

This is just dumb. Imagine the scene in the terrorist/drug kingpin/money launderer hideout: "I'm sorry, boss. We could have have strong encryption to secure our bad intentions from the FBI, but we can't afford the $20." This decision will only affect protesters and dissidents and human rights workers and journalists.

Here's advisor Alex Stamos doing damage control:

Nico, it's incorrect to say that free calls won't be encrypted and this turns out to be a really difficult balancing act between different kinds of harms. More details here:

Some facts on Zoom's current plans for E2E encryption, which are complicated by the product requirements for an enterprise conferencing product and some legitimate safety issues. The E2E design is available here: https://github.com/zoom/zoom-e2e-whitepaper/blob/master/zoom_e2e.pdf

I read that document, and it doesn't explain why end-to-end encryption is only available to paying customers. And note that Stamos said "encrypted" and not "end-to-end encrypted." He knows the difference.

Anyway, people were rightly incensed by his remarks. And yesterday, he tried to clarify

Yuan sought to assuage users' concerns Wednesday in his weekly webinar, saying the company was striving to "do the right thing" for vulnerable groups, including children and hate-crime victims, whose abuse is sometimes broadcast through Zoom's platform.

"We plan to provide end-to-end encryption to users for whom we can verify identity, thereby limiting harm to vulnerable groups," he said. "I wanted to clarify that Zoom does not monitor meeting content. We do not have backdoors where participants, including Zoom employees or law enforcement, can enter meetings without being visible to others. None of this will change."

Notice that is specifically did not say that he was offering end-to-end encryption to users of the free platform. Only to "users we can identify," which I'm guessing means users that give him a credit card number.

The Twitter feed was similarly sloppily evasive:

We are seeing some misunderstandings on Twitter today around our encryption. We want to provide these facts.

Zoom does not provide information to law enforcement except in circumstances such as child sexual abuse.

Zoom does not proactively monitor meeting content.

Zoom does no have backdoors where Zoom or others can enter meetings without being visible to participants.

AES 256 GCM encryption is turned on for all Zoom users -- free and paid.

Those facts have nothing to do with any "misunderstanding." That was about end-to-end encryption, which you very specifically left out of that last sentence. I don't think there's any misunderstanding. The corporate communications have been clear and consistent.

Come on, Zoom. You were doing so well. Of course you should offer premium features to paying customers, but please don't include security and privacy in those premium features. They should be available to everyone.

And, hey, it's kind of a dumb time to side with the police over protesters.

I have emailed the CEO, and will report back if I hear back. But for now, assume that the free version of Zoom will not support end-to-end encryption.

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> This is just dumb. Imagine the scene in the terrorist/drug kingpin/money launderer hideout: "I'm sorry, boss. We could have have strong encryption to secure our bad intentions from the FBI, but we can't afford the $20." This decision will only affect protesters and dissidents and human rights workers and journalists.
> And, hey, it's kind of a dumb time to side with the police over protesters.
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Black Lives Matter at Adafruit

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We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM.

George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen.

Rodney King. Abner Louima. Amadou Diallo. Sean Bell. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Laquan McDonald. Freddie Gray. Antwon Rose Jr. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. John Crawford III. Michael Brown. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker.  Michelle Cusseaux. Laquan Mcdonald.  George Mann.  Tanisha Anderson.  Akai Gurley.  Tamir Rice. Rumain Brisbon. Jerame Reid.  Matthew Ajibade. Frank Smart. Nastasha McKenna. Tony Robinson. Anthony Hill. Mya Hall. Phillip White. Eric Harris.  Walter Scott.  William Chapman II. Alexia Christian.  Brendon Glenn.  Victor Maunel Larosa.  Jonathan Sanders. Freddie Blue.  Joseph Mann.  Salvado Ellswood.  Sanda Bland.  Albert Joseph Davis.  Darrius Stewart.  Billy Ray Davis.  Samuel Dubose. Michael Sabbie.  Brain Keith Day.  Christian Taylor . Troy Robinson.  Asshams Pharoah Manley.  Felix Kumi.  Keith Harrison Mcleod. Junior Prosper. Lamontez Jones. Paterson Brown.  Dominic Hutchinson.  Anthony Ashford.  Alonzo Smith.  Tyree Crawford.  India Kager.  La’vante Biggs.   Michael Lee Marshall.  Jamar Clark.  Richard Perkins. Nathaniel Harris Pickett.  Benni Lee Tignor.  Miguel Espinal . Michael Noel.  Kevin Matthews .  Bettie Jones.  Quintonio Legrier.  Keith Childress Jr.  Janet Wilson.  Randy Nelson.  Antronie Scott.  Wendell Celestine.  David Joseph. Calin Roquemore. Dyzhawn  Perkins. Christoper Davis . Marco Loud. Peter Gaines. Torry Robison.  Darius Robinson.  Kevin Hicks.  Mary Truxillo.  Demarcus Semer. Willie Tillman.  Terrill Thomas.  Sylville Smith.  Alton Streling.  Philando Castile.  Terence Crutcher.  Paul O’Neal.  Alteria Woods.  Jordan Edwards.  Aaron Bailey.  Ronell Foster.  Stephon Clark.  Antwon Rose II.   Botham Jean.  Pamela Turner.  Dominique Clayton.  Atatiana Jefferson.  Christopher Whitfield.  Christopher Mccovey.  Eric Reason.  Michael Lorenzo Dean.  Breonna Taylor.  Tony McDade. George Floyd. Countless others.

The Adafruit teams have specific actions we've done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit  community to get involved and share what you are doing.

Contact the District Attorney and Minneapolis Mayor, demanding the 4 officers including Derek Chauvin are arrested for the murder of George Floyd.
Minneapolis Mayors Office, Jacob Frey.
(612) 673-2100
Minneapolis District Attorney, Mike Freeman.
(612) 348-5550
Minneapolis Police:
Internal Affairs
(612) 673-3074
Additional info.

George Floyd Memorial Service, Minneapolis
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
The Adafruit team is mourning George Floyd on Thursday, June 4th, 2020, team members are using the time to reflect and plan action.
George Floyd Memorial Service, North Carolina
Saturday, June 6th, 2020
George Floyd Funeral Service, Houston
Monday, June 8th, 2020 (Viewing)
Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 (Funeral)

  • Repeal 50-A
  • Mayor and Police Commissioner accountability & commitment to Black Lives Matter
  • New York Budget Justice
  • Corporate Leadership & Accountability

Actions, contacts, and more.

Voting is paid time off at Adafruit. Many congressional primaries are taking place June 23rd here in NYC.

Request an absentee ballot so you can vote by mail: https://nycabsentee.com/ If outside NYC: https://www.vote.org/absentee-ballot/
Look up which district you are in to watch any debates and read up on the candidates so you can be informed when you vote via mail, enter your Zip code on this site to find out what district you reside in as well as who your current congressperson is - https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

June 19th, 2020
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day , Jubilee Day, Cel-Liberation Day or the Black Fourth of July, is an American holiday that commemorates June 19, 1865. On this day, after almost two and half years since the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved African Americans were informed of their liberation from the slavery present in the former Confederate States of America.

  • Paid time off for charity, 501(c)(3)
  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth
  • Independence Day / 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Election Day - Paid time off for voting
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day

Books for staff in the Adafruit lending library via independent black owned bookshops around the country. Supporting the writers, publishers and booksellers who have been doing the work for a long time.

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
  • The Fire Next Time
  • Black Against The Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
  • Are Prisons Obsolete?
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
  • Why We Can't Wait
  • How To Be An Antiracist
  • Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
  • The History of White People
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Updated frequently ...

Art, film, music, charities, community events, business to support - celebrating black voices.

Post series on Stonewall and highlighting the key role of black transgender women in the riots.

Official George Floyd Memorial Fund
Bridgett Floyd (sister) Fund:
Minnesota Freedom Fund
Reclaim the Block
Bail out NYC venmo: @bailoutnycmay cashapp: $bailoutnycmay
Trans emergency release
Buffalo, NY:
Campaign Zero
American Civil Liberties Union
The Bail Project
Free Them All for Public Health
Black Visions Collective
Communities United Against Police Brutality
No New Jails NYC
Equality For Flatbush
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Communities United Against Police Brutality
National Bail Out Free Black Mamas
Know your rights Camp
Sybrina Fulton For Miami-Dade County Commission- Trayvon Martin's mother is running for office
Justice for Dion Johnson
Frontline Independent Journalism
Campaign Zero
Therapy Fund for Black Woman and Girls
Baltimore, MD:
Venmo - @freedom-fightersdc Cashapp $freedomfightersdc
Philadelphia, PA:
Pittsburgh, PA:
Boston, MA:
Richmond, VA:
Roanake, VA:
Louisville, KY:
Atlanta, GA:
Montgomery, AL:
Memphis, TN:
Chattanooga, TN:
Charlotte, NC:
Charlotte Bail Support CashApp - $WereStillHere and Venmo @ResistanceIsBeautiful
Charleston, SC:
Columbia, SC:
Columbia South Carolina Cash app/Venmo sodacitybail
New Orleans, LA:
Northern Florida:
Houston TX:
Austin, TX:
San Antonio, TX:
Columbus, OH:
Cincinnati, OH:
Cleveland, OH:
Minneapolis, MN:
Chicago, IL:
Rockford, IL
Detroit, MI:
Madison, WI:
Milwaukee, WI:
Kansas City, MO:
Indianapolis, IN:
Put "medic supplies" in the note- https://www.paypal.me/blmindy
Omaha, NE:
Tucson, AZ:
Las Vegas, NV:
Seattle, WA:
Los Angeles, CA:
Orange County, CA:
Rancho Cucamonga, CA:
Bay Area, CA:
Sacramento, CA:

The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year - we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Updates to this page will happen frequently. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Specific actions each week noted and shared as part of our all-company "State of the Fruit" notes and all-company meeting.

Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country.

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Resources for Anti-Racism/BLM Activism and Funding

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Lets's share links and spread the word on anti-racism community resources and anti-racism fundraising. I've seen some fantastic threads on Twitter that cover some of this, but it would be useful if Mefites could aggregate links for their local bail bond/mutual aid funds, as well as links to protest/anti-racism toolkits from around the world. Here's a great list of mutual aid funds (Threader link of an original Twitter thread, for easier reading). This post should serve as a catch-all thread for a broad range of resources that will enable and embolden Mefites to get involved in the continuous work that is anti-racism activism, whether they're protesting in-person, donating from home, or want to help in other ways if they're unable to protest in-person or donate.

Additional resources and links can include but are not limited to:
- Official Black Lives Matter Toolkits
- Campaign Zero's 10 Step Policy Solution List (a lot of great info and data here for people who want to become better versed in systemic racism and its solutions; please consider donating to support their work)
- Protester Resources & Toolkits from AmnestyUSA, ACLU, and CCLA
- Non-profit, independent media outlets doing extremely important on-the-ground work right now like Unicorn Riot and ProPublica, both of which are always in need of your donations. This can also include independent/freelance activists/journalists on Twitter.
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Silence Is NOT An Option

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All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors. We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.

George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future.

The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.

The officers who murdered George Floyd, who stole him from those who loved him, must be brought to justice. At the same time, we must embark on the more complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism.

Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things:

First, we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.

Second, we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.

Third, we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.

And finally, we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.

Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation's long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.

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