Safety Notice from Black Lives Matter of Reno/Sparks
URGENT SAFETY NOTICE FROM BLACK LIVES MATTER RENO/SPARKS
This is an urgent message about the upcoming BLM protest at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office tomorrow, Saturday, August 8, 2020, and pressing concerns regarding the safety of those in attendance. Please continue reading and share widely.
I would like to preface this message by saying I absolutely stand in support and solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Douglas County against their abhorrent sheriff. However, the event scheduled for Saturday, August 8, 2020 in Minden, NV, at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, is rife with safety concerns for all who attend. Black activists here in Reno, including legacy Black activists--including those who were part of the Civil Rights Movement the first time--stand behind this statement of concern. We implore those interested in attending the event to reconsider their attendance out of an abundance of caution.
It has come to my attention as well as the attention of many Black organizers, both locally and nationwide, affiliated with various groups that have been organizing for quite some time, that the protest, though absolutely necessary, needs to be immediately postponed in an effort to reimagine, reorganize, and compile the resources necessary to confront the counter-protesters that will, without a doubt, be there to antagonize and incite violence.
Viable threats to the safety of protesters have been corroborated through many other organizers. This concern for the safety and wellbeing of demonstrators in Douglas County is well founded, and while the alert has been sounded to the organizers of the event, it goes unheeded. In addition, organizers have announced that they will be selling t-shirts at the event; a concern lies in the purchasers of these shirts becoming immediately visible as BLM supporters and therefore easy targets for any possible harm. We would like to commit to buying every single t-shirt in advance of the protest in an effort to show solidarity for the cause while also keeping protesters safe.
Understand that the “free speech zone” set up by the DCSO is not the only place where counter-protesters will be congregating. A safety meeting hosted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office was attended by three times more committed, armed, racist militia than BLM supporters who responded to the Facebook event. The entire town of Minden is now under the watchful eye of this self-described militia that is now on high alert for any BLM supporters; the DCSO has altered their operations in order to be more vigilant in targeting protesters. There will, in effect, be no safe space for your voices to be heard.
We understand that, when new to organizing, certain important factors are sometimes overlooked. This is normal; we all learn at different paces, and this is a particular area where prior hands-on experience is beneficial. The many experienced Black organizers in Reno that would love to stand behind you are now asking you to reevaluate and accept our help to make this action bigger, better, and safer with the resources needed to ensure the safety of our communities. We implore the folks at Carson City BLM to let us assist you in reimagining this event into one that will incite actual structural change while maintaining a level of safety and security that the event as planned does not provide.
There are always risks. The Black Lives Matter movement as a whole strives to maintain nonviolence, but we also understand that forces are often against us. However, walking so obviously unprepared into a situation like this is detrimental to the safety and wellbeing of those who support the movement, and reflects poorly on the thoughtful, organized actions taking place throughout the state and the country. Let the clearly bloodthirsty residents of Minden and Douglas County represent their communities for what they are, and for your own safety, please stay home on Saturday.
If you are planning to ignore this urgent safety alert and attend the protest, be aware that there are no contingencies set in place; there is no bail fund, no medical care supplies, nothing. You will be unprotected and unsafe. There will be no recourse for what happens to you. For your safety, we suggest the following: Write a confirmed bail fund phone number on your inner thigh in permanent ink; bring a helmet, goggles, a baking soda and water solution for rinsing your eyes in the event of tear gas being deployed, and other first aid supplies; wear long sleeves, long pants, closed-toe boots, with long hair in a ponytail; a knowledge of the city and quick routes for escape from your location; and be sure that friends and family know your first and last name, birth date, and your phone number to bail you out. Most of all, memorize and understand your rights as written, and be safe.
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