Hey Readers! I found something that I want to talk about right now.
As I type this, protests have been sweeping the nation, including Springfield, Illinois at the Capitol Building.
I’ve been watching live feeds of the action from friends on Facebook and have tons of photos that I will eventually post after permission from the streamers.
One thing I’ve noticed is that one of the local news channels attempted to twist their stopped footage, saying their reporter was essentially assaulted. I watched the group approach this news channel, friends and strangers carrying signs and chanting a variety of chants – merely showing signs to the camera while it was up, and chanting their chants that had been repeated all night.
I am fully offended by this, as I watched three different live streams with three different angles of this exact situation – and it was misreported and twisted to increase fear. This group was managing to have their voices heard by an entire community – with the least violence. The worst thing I saw when tuning into a stream was that one of the agitator types of protesters had spray painted a short phrase on the signage in front of the station which was quickly washed off by other community members. This was a person that had been uncooperative with the main group that was present however and they quickly left when realizing that this protest was not about creating more opportunities for violence, but for being heard and waking up the community – quite literally.
The group walked around in a short circuit around the Downtown Springfield area, chanting, forming a line of protest traffic complete with musical horns announcing the groups arrival on the street. The group seemed to have grown over that time as well as they marched and chanted, the horns and chants became louder and louder, until once more they reached the Capitol Building to group together and speak out the issues each individual has faced unfairly.
Eventually, traffic and people dispersed, ready to sleep for the next protest that is happening right now as I type this out. I have it on livestream playing as I type.
This protest in Springfield Illinois has been primarily peaceful and has grouped hundreds, if not even thousands of people together in the community. People of all colors are in the streets and surrounding the Lincoln Statue in solidarity with each other.
As a white female with a felony conviction, I know all too well that I have had extreme privilege in numerous situations that I’ve found myself in.
I’ve seen recordings of people of color in the exact same situations I’ve found myself in with the same types of officers.
The only differences between the outcomes of those situations depended on the color of our skin. Because of my white privilege alone. It’s real and I’ll share my examples of it.
I have been surrounded by 6 plus officers at least twice, and not once have they ever pulled their guns on me. Today, I watched a video of a single young black man kneeling on a curb with his arms up in compliance – no weapon visible nor any attempt to reach for anything at all, with 8 plus officers surrounding him – ALL WITH WEAPONS DRAWN. When an officer approached the person recording, they not only blocked their camera with their body, they stated that they did not yet consider that man surrounded by ready to fire guns to be a suspect. I have never had a gun drawn on me by an officer for any reason, even in my worst moments while acting out. I am given the benefit of the doubt because I am white.
I have fought back against unfair and illegal treatment during arrest – having a female body prevents male officers from putting their hands into your pockets – they have to ask for you to empty them or have a female officer on hand to physically search you – especially when you are still underage. I was threatened with ‘juvie’ for the outburst until I screamed out the various ways the officer had broken the law while taking me into custody and threatened to take his job – hoping that some higher up had heard me. Ultimately, nothing happened to me other than a sprained wrist when I resisted going into the cell as I was currently demanding a phone call to my parents when they attempted it. Had I not had white skin – I would have been physically abused even more than the sprained wrist I earned that night. I could have been killed.
Even my conviction, which was mostly a play to get me to turn on the fellow I was with at the time, would have been far worse had I been a person of color. I would not have only served 3 years probation and 16 days in county. I would have been shipped to prison to face far worse terrors that are inescapable – gangs locked into boxes that actively wanted me dead. But I’m white – I was given preference and benefit of the doubt – even when I didn’t cooperate with the system the way they wanted me to. Had I kept my mouth shut as a person of color instead of as a white girl – I would have been punished for it far more. But the white girl is more valuable to their idea of society – so I got a break.
If you didn’t know it already, most of the people I come into contact with doing the work I do as the Friendly Felon are people of color – more particularly, black. I’ve noticed over the years that at least 80% of the people I’ve done research for and have shared posts for are of African heritage – often unfairly targeted and wrongfully convicted. Justice reform has to be included in the Black Lives Matter movement – because justice reform is part of addressing the issue in real time. Justice reform workers have access to the channels that can make these demands for true justice a reality in our lifetimes.
Keep watching for updates from the Springfield, Illinois peaceful protests in the Black Lives Matter movement. Again, I have screenshots that are awaiting permissions to share and I’ve been in touch with some of the local protesters asking for anyone that wants to contribute their voice to do so.
The Friendly Felon is offering any peaceful protesters access to this platform to share their undiluted voice, I will not twist their words or actions like mainstream media has been shown to be doing as of last night. I’m watching and walking with you in my heart and offering this as my small contribution to the movement. It is the least I can do for my brothers and sisters facing outrageous inhumanities at every turn given my own circumstances. I shall be your keyboard warrior, sharing your voice honestly.
#blacklivesmatter #springfieldil #peacefulprotests #gettinginvolved