What’s striking is that this was right after George Floyd. And there were people, not just the ones who were protesting, who at that point had started getting out of their cars, and recording with their phones. I remember saying to the guy, “You’ve got to be tone-deaf. At this moment, you’ve got to be aware that this is going to go everywhere. This is not what you want to do.” So they get me up, they take me to the back of the squad car, and by that time people have livestreamed it, they’re taping it, they’re uploading it to social media. And all I know is there must have been some significant people in the city that started calling based off what they were seeing. I was in the back of the car for maybe ten minutes, and then they came back with a bottle of water, saying, “Hey, Rev”—so their tone changed, my title was suddenly instituted, and I was asked if I wanted water. That’s when, for me, I understood what the summer was going to be like.
ANONYMOUS, 25 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
The day after that first demonstration, they imposed a curfew and called in the National Guard. And we planned a march from the same spot downtown. That was the first time I actually felt frightened at a protest because there were all these National Guard soldiers standing around looking at us, eyeing our crew. It was quite scary. I remember the first time I saw people pouring milk on themselves and all these strange remedies people have for tear gas. I never encountered that before, and seeing people who had been exposed quite severely injured, that was very frightening as well. I remember walking home from the first protest and being soaked and covered in tear gas and like, waiting at a crosswalk and it was disorienting.
I was going every day for a while. Every day there was a large protest outside of one of the police precincts where they had stopped our march on the second or third night. And we were just going out there every night. Trying to continue our march, basically. They’d tear-gas us and, I mean,