A Few Things

Hello, Friends. I hope you are okay.

I’ve been sharing tweets on Instagram this week. I screengrab the tweet and put it in my Stories, and I tag the writer on Instagram if I can find their account. I know there are a lot of people on Instagram who don’t use Twitter, and I wanted to give them a sense of what I was seeing.

My Instagram followers asked me to save the screen-grabbed tweets to a highlight. So I did. But then it filled up (you can only put 100 stories in a highlight). So I made a second highlight and it’s almost full too.

You can see what I’ve shared in highlight one, and highlight two.

I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of responses from my Instagram followers. The responses to stories come as DMs (direct messages), which means they sort of go into an Instagram inbox, and they can only be seen by me. Lots of emotional responses — which is no surprise. But also lots of disbelief. There are too many people who don’t want to believe that police officers all over the country are attacking peaceful protesters. But it is happening. It’s very, very real.

I don’t think anybody could see what has been shared this week, and not come away convinced that policing in our country needs to be completely dismantled and reimagined. The amount of corruption, over-funding, and abuse can’t be “reformed”. It needs to be taken apart, and built again from completely new materials. There is no part of the current system that is worth saving.

With that, here are a few things I’ve wanted to share with you. Heads up: It’s all quite heavy.

-“…we keep imagining that we can turn police into social workers. That we can make them nice, friendly community outreach workers. But police are violence workers.”

-Please take a minute to read this thread on what people mean when they say #AbolishThePolice.

-Please read this book called The End of Policing.

-D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in big yellow letters on the street where protesters have been demonstrating.

-21% of Americans have zero or negative net worth, the highest on record. Among black families, 37% have nothing. Same percentage for young people. ‘Protecting property’ is an abstraction for people who own nothing.

-Why It’s So Rare For Police Officers To Face Legal Consequences.

-“An FBI advisory board later found that roughly 40 percent of officers who filled out questionnaires in a number of different settings admitted to being physically violent with their spouse in the previous six months.”

-A post I wrote in June 2015 about the Charleston shooting. It feels like we’ve been having conversations like this for so long. Have we finally reached a changing point?

Here are a few tweets I saved for you:

-Five days ago, Greg Doucette started compiling a thread of police brutality incidents at protests. The thread is now over 300 posts long.

-Can’t manage that 300+ thread? At least watch this short, horrific example.

-Don’t forget, therapists and nurses have to physically restrain clients and patients who are violent, confused, intoxicated, belligerent, and mentally ill, and they do it without batons, tasers, guns, or violence.


-The police have chosen a side.

-Please read this incredibly moving and harrowing thread on police inaction regarding domestic abuse.

-They know they are on video and they don’t hesitate to be violent. How violent are they when there’s no video?

-Please read this thread about a protester arrested in LA.

Consider this.

-A thread about tear gas.

-Our priorities are all wrong.

Another thread about police officers and rape. Lots of articles documenting widespread sexual assault committed by police.

I hope you get an internet break this weekend. I’ll meet you back here next week. I miss you already.


Angela Davis painting by Neon Honey.

30 thoughts on “A Few Things”

  1. Hi Gabrielle!
    Thank you for that link on why police officers rarely are prosecuted. Very enlightening!
    I’m worried about all the protests (peaceful or not) because masks or no masks these many people so close together is a huge health risk in the middle of a global pandemic. What do you think?
    Also, having lived in two continents, what do you think of the differences between the US and France regarding racism and police brutality?

    1. I am protesting tomorrow. It was a hard decision in the pandemic. I am putting my health at risk, but much less risk than Black men and women going about their normal lives. To me it is worth it.

      1. Emily you are 100% right BUT you’ll then have to get tested. I hope all of us protestors get tested!!

    2. I think protesting is a risk, and I’m glad to see protestors wearing masks. I’ve heard lots of reports about how responsible people are being with masks and hand sanitizer during the protests and that’s wonderful. And I continue to advocate for widespread testing.

      It seems like we’re seeing another crest of sickness — I assume from Memorial Day gatherings two weeks ago. We may see another one two weeks from now.

  2. Thank you for continuing the spotlight. This is the civil rights movement of our time and it’s unfortunate that we’re still dealing with it 60 years later. The training of police officers needs to change. It glorifies aggressive masculinity with the aid of military grade weapons and laws of exemption from responsibility. It’s no wonder that the police force has been infiltrated with bullies, supremacists and those who are desperate for power. Obviously, not all police are bad. I know wonderful police who are angered at the brutality and shamed by that behavior. However there is a huge issue with the fact that they operate in a culture where they are dissuaded from criticizing their own (the blue wall). If we have bad doctors, we want them removed. Why not bad police too. We need more police who truly believe their motto of serve and protect and not just selectively so. Who believe they are members of the community.

    1. “However there is a huge issue with the fact that they operate in a culture where they are dissuaded from criticizing their own (the blue wall).”

      I hear that.

      1. I absolutely agree that this is our Civil Rights movement. It would be great if doing the right thing was always safe and convenient, but historically that has never been true. I live in Brooklyn and have been to two protests so far and hope to go to more (I have three little kids at home so it’s a bit complicated). I was tested just a few weeks ago and was negative, and I plan to get tested again this week. I’ll do the best I can to stay safe and healthy, but I want to push myself as much as possible to sacrifice and work for change.

        To me the biggest silver lining of Covid is that it forced us to truly clear our calendar, and as we are coming out of this period of social isolation, we are trying to be much more intentional in how our family spends its time. I want a lot more of that time to be filled with service and activism.

  3. I always appreciate your social media and blog posts, but have extra appreciation this week. Thank you for sharing things we might not see. Here for all of it as we continue our own anti-racism work in our home.

  4. Thank you for sharing what you are learning. I appreciate that you bring tough conversations to the table through your own voice and by amplifying other voices.

  5. I live in DC, and while I appreciate the powerful symbolism of having Black Lives Matter painted on a Street next to the White House, Mayor Bowser has not matched words with actual policy when it comes to inequality in DC. She’s seeking a $19 million dollar increase to the police budget, has refused to release bodycam footage in 3 officer-involved shootings in DC, has systematically defunded DC public schools that serve majority Black student populations, and has been completely apathetic if not hostile towards our homeless neighbors in DC. She’s super cozy with real estate developers and big business, but doesn’t engage in conversation with Black activist groups in DC. She’s gotten some great PR out of the painted street, so I just want to offer some context since her words don’t yet match her policies or actions for DC’s Black residents.

  6. Thank you Gabrielle, I learn SO MUCH from your A Few Things posts. Thank you for taking the effort to educate me. I have forwarded many links from these posts over the years to friends and family and colleagues and read them oud loud to my boyfriend. A warm hug from Amsterdam (where protests have luckily been big too!)

  7. still wondering why you took my comment down- is it because I expressed a view that didn’t just second yours?

    1. Karen, I took it down because making this a “both sides are good” issue is offensive and harmful. One side is saying: “Stop killing Black people”, and the other side is saying: “But…”

      This is not a platform for racist arguments.

      Any further comments from you will be moderated.

  8. There is no need for brutality. I am a Government Officer in Child Protection. We receive extensive training in de-escalation and rigorous training in restraining a person whilst causing no injuries whatsoever. Have done both countless times on violent, mentally ill and drug affected people. No injuries, not one.
    We have no gun, baton, pepper spray or handcuffs. For the police to say it’s the only way to “gain control” is a blatant lie. I am in control at all times whilst never harming another, with no weapons and upholding humanity and upmost care. DO BETTER POLICE. I do not believe you.

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