After a weekend of civil unrest, the National Guard has been deployed and Los Angeles has quietened down.
Is that a good thing? I don’t know. I think it’s good that the small few opportunists among those protesting have been frozen, but I also think there’s nothing more fucked than adults being put on curfew by their government. But who cares what I think—let’s talk to someone who is actually there, our U.S. events and marketing manager Helena.
Hi! How’s it going?
It’s going fine over here. Not so fine for you guys though… What are you up to?
Just dodging bullets and stuff.
You attended a protest over the weekend, right?
I attended a couple. Friday night in downtown LA, which was spontaneous, and then the Black Lives Matter march on Saturday.
How did the spontaneous one happen and how did you get caught up in it?
I was staying at a friend’s place downtown when we heard the commotion at Pershing square, which started because a cop tried to arrest someone and then got swarmed by civilians fighting the guys’ arrest. There were a lot of sirens and cop cars driving up and down for at least an hour before I decided to go downstairs and check it out. When I got down there, I saw a group of about fifteen people protesting and walking towards Pershing square, so I followed along.
We passed the square and kept walking, chanting ‘No justice—No peace’ and I was down for it because, you know, fuck this whole situation. I didn’t know where we were headed but we ended up at the highway, blocking the 110 going north. When I looked back, there were tons more people walking besides us. Dozens and dozens. Everyone outraged and following along in the same way I did, by hearing the chants and joining the protest. Oh shit, so you were right at the start?
I guess I was. A few smaller groups had been gathering all around downtown and I just joined one of them. I ended up meeting and seeing a lot of the same people throughout the night, even when protests had disbanded and rejoined several times hours later.
Do you have photos? I have a few digital photos, but my phone was at 5%, so… But I had a new roll of film in my camera, so I hope that comes out.
What’s the vibe like right now, Monday night in LA?
Well, the city caught up to the protests and is now issuing curfews, like every night, and giving us notice less than an hour before it starts. Nobody is supposed to be outside of their homes now (8 p.m.), and all the protests scheduled for today were canceled. Rumor has it that the national guard has been deployed and will supposedly shoot live rounds at protesters. So protesters are staying safe at home. Tensions are high though, and I don’t think this energy is going away anytime soon.
I just spoke to Kevin (Duffel, GM Monster Children USA) and he’s eating noodles with soy sauce because Grubhub and Ubereats aren’t happening
Ha-ha. Well, I’m definitely breaking curfew, so if I’m not around tomorrow call me a lawyer.
How are you breaking curfew?
I was out all day getting supplies and stuff, and I ended up at a friend’s house having socially distant wine by a firepit.
Nice. How do you feel, though? Are you scared?
I feel pretty hopeful, honestly. It’s grim right now, but the solidarity I see outweighs the dark. I feel like I’ve been angry for a long time about things like this, and now, seeing everyone I know join causes and protests and donate to bail funds, I feel like we can change the outcome of at least this one injustice. All of that is very motivating. I only hope it stays like this and people stay vigilant and willing to donate time, money and energy, and attention towards learning about solidarity. Because stuff only changes when we work together.