Monday, July 20: This week Portland, OR entered the national spotlight when federal agents were sent in to quell ongoing protests, proceeding immediately to chat with the white supremacist-friendly Portland Police Bureau, escalate violence, and snatch protestors off the street into unmarked vehicles. As a result, Portlanders came out in droves to continue protesting, including local mothers and childcare workers, who were pepper sprayed by cops. Trump and his regime have threatened to use these same tactics in other U.S. cities: be prepared, and review your protest safety, friends.
If you’d like to support ongoing organizing and protest efforts on the ground in Portland, please consider donating to one of the following organizations:
Monday, July 13: Bringing our focus back to Texas, this week we are morning Merci Mack, a Black trans woman killed in Dallas on June 30, whose suspected killer was arrested this weekend. Her family has a GoFundMe that you can donate to here.
The Texas Observer has a very informative long read on the growing movement to defund the police in Texas, where efforts at police reform have long been stagnant at best. It is chock full of information on political barriers to change (such as police union contracts), evolving demands by activists to reallocate police funds to resources for poor and marginalized communities, as well as information on how large cities in Texas such as Dallas have responded to demands. Austin this morning made small steps toward some of these goals by ostensibly cutting $11.3 from the Austin Police Department in the upcoming fiscal year, a reduction of 2.6 from last year’s police budget. That falls far short of activist demands to cut the APD budget by $100 million, and includes a $2.3 “reallocation” of police funds to “improve APD’s records system.”
In a state like Texas, where the Texas State Bar recently publicly reprimanded their president of only 3 weeks for social media posts calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group, and powerful Republican lobbyists leave voicemails for the governor asking him to order protestors to be shot and killed, we can only hope that the extraordinary bravery of Black Texans in demanding justice will continue to spur on the movement and lead to greater wins.
Monday, July 6: We spent this “holiday” weekend contemplating filmmaker and activist Tourmaline’s freedom dreams, a powerful concept that allows us to envision the world we want to live in, even in the every day.
Freedom dreams are born when we face harsh conditions not with despair, but with the deep knowledge that these conditions will change— that a world filled with softness and beauty and care is not only possible, but inevitable.
This week, our hearts go out to Seattle, where on July 3rd, a driver drove directly into a crowd of protestors on the freeway, killing one person, and severely injuring another, who is still in the hospital. We highly recommend watched the statement from the lead organizers of the nightly march here, which contains information that hasn’t been widely reported, such as information an off-duty police officer who has multiple times driven her personal vehicle around and into protestors. Organizers are asking people who want to help to donate to the support funds for Summer Taylor, who died from the injuries they sustained in the vehicular assault, as well as Diaz Love, who is still in serious but stable condition. For more information on ongoing protests in Seattle, organizers highly recommend local journalists CONVERGE.
Tuesday, June 30: It’s the last day of Pride month, and we’re thinking a lot about Gem Nwanne’s Juneteenth op-ed for them.us: There Is No Queer Liberation Without Prison Abolition. As if to prove their point, police attacked protesters with pepper spray and batons at the Queer Liberation March in New York on Sunday, a mere handful of blocks from the Stonewall Inn. Organizers with #8toAbolition brought it all home in their op-ed Reforms Won’t Save Us. Abolishing the Police Will, framing the prison system as an unsuccessful “reform” of slavery. The judiciary system plays no small part in this, of course: a new investigation by Reuters shows that 9 out of 10 state and local judges who broke their oaths or the law—frequently by jailing Black people for minor fines—are reinstated to the bench.
In comics news, we spent our Friday enjoying the third edition of the Very Very Shopping Network, a virtual comic con that featured an amazing variety of Black and queer creators like Danny Lore, Kwanza Osajyefo, Ethan X. Parker, and more! It was a refreshing and much-needed change of pace from the dumpster-fire of abuse in comics and games that has been publicly unfolding on social media. Meanwhile, we’ve been closely following comics journalism from the Capital Hill Occupied Protest by Seattle local Tessa Hull. We were also excited to see an official announcement from Ten Speed Press that The Black Panther Party: A Graphic History by David Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson is coming out in January 2021. (Boy, next year really can’t come soon enough.)
And of course: this Saturday, July 4th marks the very worst American holiday. We encourage everyone to (as safely as possible) spend it protesting the living daylights out of America.
Monday, June 22: We know our community is very thoughtful and engaged, so many of you surely already know that this past Friday, June 19, was Juneteenth! The Texas Tribune has an excellent essay on Juneteenth in 2020, 40 years after Texas became the first state to officially declare Juneteenth a holiday. Click on the first Juneteenth link (hellajuneteenth.com) to find an amazing array of ways to continue the Juneteenth celebration with education and action—including Forth Worth, Texas hero Ms. Opal Lee’s petition to declare Juneteenth a national holiday.
Last week was a tough one for survivors of emotional and sexual abuse in the entertainment industry, and especially in comics. We want to call attention to the fact that Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, as well as gender and sexual minorities, are particularly vulnerable to abuse in industries that are both heavily dependent on professional connections (i.e. Who You Know) and historically (and presently) dominated by cis white men. If you have survived abuse of any kind, as a child or adult, and you want to talk anonymously with other survivors, check out a resource we recently learned about: Survivors Library, “an international group of survivors who collect and create resources by, for, and about survivors of trauma, abuse, and assault.” They’re hosting a chat for all survivors this Thursday, June 25 (note that the time zone, BST, is a UK time zone.) Follow their social media for more info on survivor support groups exclusive to Black survivors, survivors of color, sex workers, and more.
Ready for a little bit of joy? We deeply enjoyed this blog post by Tequia Burt, celebrating Juneteenth by planting traditional African American heirloom seeds. We were also really excited to hear about (and subscribe to!) Black Indie Comix Distro, a newly-launched distribution service for independent POC creators. Because we strongly believe beauty has an important role to play in resistance, we encourage you to check out this Indigenous bead artist who sells gorgeous anti-fascist crafts. And because we admire and support the Youth, check out this extremely cool AND sweet Skate For Justice fundraiser.
Monday, June 15: This past week has continued to unfold in an extremely 2020 style, with many stomach-churning ups and downs. On Friday, June 12, the 4th anniversary of the Pulse massacre, Trump finalized a rule removing nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people’s healthcare and health insurance. Then, this morning, the world received news that the Supreme Court ruled that federal law protects LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sex. (You can read the full Bostock v. Clayton County, GA decision here, if that’s your thing.)
In grim news, we join the nation in mourning Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch (CW: gruesome details), whose families are demanding further investigation after their deaths were ruled suicides, despite extremely suspicious circumstances. We also mourn Oluwatoyin Samau (CW: violence, sexual assault), who was killed after speaking out about sexual assault.
Perhaps the brightest moment of the weekend was getting to see the 15,000-strong turnout at the Brooklyn Liberation rally for Black trans lives, including Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah Milton, Layleen Polanco (CW: triggering details and video), Nina Pop, Tony McDade, and many others.
Where to give your money:
This carrd in support of #BlackLivesMatter contains an amazing roundup of different ways and places to donate money, from fundraisers for victims of police violence and their families, to organizations supporting local communities. Click through to their homepage for even more ways to help.
We would particularly like to highlight the fundraiser for Darnella Frazier, the teenager who filmed George Floyd’s murder, and who needs our care and protection.
In honor of Pride month, we would also like to point our POMEs to the following organizations taking donations to help Black trans people, as well as incarcerated LGBTQ+ people:
- Emergency Release Fund, mutual aid getting LGBTQ+ and medically vulnerable individuals out of Rikers Island and ICE detention
- Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, connecting the community of black trans women and non-binary femmes in the arts
- Black Trans Travel Fund, mutual-aid fund providing Black transgender women with the financial resources necessary for them to access their self-determined safest alternatives to travel
- For the Gworls, raising money to assist with Black trans folks’ rent & affirmative surgeries
- The Okra Project, combatting food insecurity in the Black Trans/GNC community
Bail funds are important not only for getting protestors out of jail right now, but also for getting everyone not convicted of crimes out of jail, especially while the country’s jails have become hotspots for COVID-19 infection. You can find your local bail fund at bit.ly/localbailfunds.
We’ve learned that Washington, D.C. doesn’t have cash bail, which was eliminated there in 1992, and that cash bail was also eliminated in New Jersey and Alaska in 2014. Donations to support protesters in Washington D.C. should go to Black Lives Matter D.C.
We also recommended reading this Vice piece by Aaron Cantú explaining other exploitative forms of pre-trial monitoring that have been replacing cash bail, and alternative models (also featuring comics by POME fave Steenz).
June 2, 2020, was International Whores’ Day, part of the sex worker movement for sex work decriminalization and police abolition. IWD NYC hosted a digital rally, which you can watch here. They have a beautiful zine, too. We’d like to encourage folks to donate to mutual aid for sex workers of color, who are deeply affected by police violence, can’t work during the crisis without high risk of infection, and also do not qualify for any forms of state aid.
During moments like these, national organizations tend to get an overwhelming flood of donations and attention. One way you can continue your support is to find your local organizers and donate your time and money on a regular basis. We found this document compiled by a CUNY Law student, Jalani Owens, extremely helpful for identifying organizers and mutual aid funds all over the country: look at what’s going on in your area, follow your local organizers on social media to stay updated, and commit time to help!
Of course, it’s always a good time to give your money directly to Black-owned small businesses, and this thread is a great place to start:
Divest and defund:
The first step to ending police violence is to reduce their numbers and their arms. Almost every city in America is facing budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 crisis: now is a better time than ever to demand cutting police department budgets and allocating funds to social services and the public good.
Are you unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the idea of ending policing? Start by reading this extremely accessible and helpful zine by MPD150, a Minneapolis organization dedicated to meaningful structural change in their city. They’ve been updating their resources page with tons of helpful links and printable materials to help us educate ourselves and our own communities.
In response to the Campaign Zero 8 Can’t Wait campaign, abolitionist feminists this weekend launched 8 to Abolition, a detailed but easily navigated website explaining eight major abolitionist strategies, complete with ready-to-share graphics for social media. Hop to it and spread the word!
Ready to act? Here’s a running list of cities where you can make your voice heard now and demand divestment and defunding. Don’t forget to keep the pressure UP during these long budget processes: pace yourself but don’t stop after just one call or email! We will keep adding more information as we can.
- On June 4, Austin City Council heard hours of public commentary demanding budget cuts for the Austin Police Department. On June 8, the Austin Justice Coalition released a petition calling on city council to commit to six major demands demands at its next meeting on Thursday, June 11, including: directing the city manager to decrease the APD budget by $100 million in the fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1, 2020 and pledging to continue to significantly decrease the police department’s budget in subsequent years as Austin builds out robust and well-funded alternatives to policing. You can sign the petition here. (Note: on the date of publishing, the Austin Justice Coalition’s website is overwhelmed with a flood of traffic. Please check back to sign the petition later if you can’t access it right away.
- The city is currently running a survey on the proposed 2021 Fiscal Year (FY) budget. You can use it to demand police department budget cuts.
- Houston: Black Lives Matter in Houston is organizing actions right now to stop the city budget vote, and reschedule the vote to give organizers and the public time have their voices heard on police department defunding. You can donate to mutual aid efforts in Houston here.
- Los Angeles: Despite a heated day of public comment excoriating it, LA City Council approved a budget that has 54% of funds going to the police department. Find your city elected officials here to keep demanding cuts – the budget process is ongoing and includes four upcoming Budget and Finance Committee meetings on June 8, 15, 22, and 29.
- New York City: At least 43 candidates running for city offices in 2021 have signed on to a demand to cut $1 billion from the NYPD. Find out who represents you if you don’t already know, and keep putting pressure on candidates and elected officials. We found this Instagram post by graphic designer Eric Hu accessible for learning who to contact (note that updated phone numbers are in the caption).
- Portland: City Council has approved, but not yet adopted, the FY 2020-21 city budget, which increases funding for the police department. Remote meetings to adopt the budget are taking place on June 10 and June 17. Contact your city councillors and commissioners by phone and email to demand police budget cuts.
- Public comment is open for city council meetings, including June 8’s meeting at 2 PM PDT.
- Here’s a petition you can sign to reduce the Seattle Police Department’s budget by 50%. You can now also sign on here to demand that, following Minneapolis’s lead, Seattle Public Schools sever their contract with the Seattle Police Department.
Are you in a union? Get your union involved and amplify your voice in support of Black lives!
Information overload is real, and we’re not immune! Here are some helpful tips for carrying the momentum of the past weeks of organizing into long-term learning and action:
Protest resources and support:
The quickest and easiest graphic we’ve found to share about what to wear, bring, and NOT bring to protests.
Comrade Teen Vogue has come through with a very helpful guide on how to safely and ethically film police misconduct, which we highly encourage anyone who is spending time on the ground to read! It’s important to be prepared ahead of time, because it’s hard to think straight in the moment where filming the police might be needed. You may also like this handy decision tree PDF for what to do after you’ve recorded the police, shared by Witness.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to protect each other’s information and identities at protests. Law enforcement has used this information in the past, and has been given even further latitude to do so, according to leaked DEA documents obtained by Buzzfeed News. Learn surveillance self-defense to keep your data safe.
Ingenious tip if you fear your phone may be confiscated:
The National Lawyers Guild does amazing work, including tons of protest support. You can download their Know Your Rights guides in 5 different languages. When you’re writing emergency contacts on your arm, include the National Lawyers Guild jail support number in your area.
If you are attending and/or organizing a protest, keep your communications secure. (And if you can, leave your phone at home while you are out at the protest.)
Do NOT share protest photos that show people’s faces, and learn to scrub metadata from them, too:
This Twitter thread is a must-read for people who may not be able to protest, but want to support protestors.
This free, downloadable PDF teaches some basic skills and tactics to anyone who is interested in volunteering as a street medic.
Taking care of your community:
We liked this handy graphic listing some alternatives to calling the police in Austin and Travis county:
Everyone needs to eat, and most folks want to do so as ethically as possible. To that end, please check out the “Ultimate List of Black-owned Farms and Food Gardens” by the United Black Library. Special shoutout to our Dallas-area Texans: y’all have two to choose from!
Geek Girl Strong is a wellness community run by Robyn Warren, a physical and health educator in New York, who is keeping folks all over the place connected with their bodies and each other through her Patreon and newly-launched Discord channel. In addition to helping us stay limber and rested at conventions, her new podcast, Healthy Geek Academy, has kept our spirits up during the ongoing health crisis. As huge fans of public health and Robyn, we highly recommend you listen to her latest episode, subscribe to the podcast, and support both her work and your own wellness by adding her to your Patreon budget.
Melanin & Mental Health, an organization “connecting clients to therapists who understand Black & Latinx experiences” has a great list of Black therapists to follow and amplify, as well as tips for finding anti-racist therapists.
Yousra Elbagir, a Sudanese-British journalist, has offered to help Black journalists in the US with trauma-aware reporting and coping strategies.
Cosplayer Maki Roll shared reminders for white and non-Black people to be helpful instead of draining when checking in with Black friends.
For NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America, Lorgia García-Peña writes on the intertwined struggles of Black liberation and immigrant rights, and strategies for dismantling anti-Blackness within Latinidad.
Support Black comics creators and publishers:
This falls under the “taking care of your community” realm for us. Black creators are undeniably massively undervalued in the comics industry.
Let’s not ever forget our Black peers when it’s time to make beautiful art! The #drawingwhileblack hashtag and directory, organized by illustrator Abelle Hayford, are excellent places to find talented Black artists.
The Black Mage by D.J. Kirkland and Daniel Barnes is a comic we love that feels especially relevant in a post-JKR world. (We’d like to gently suggest using IndieBound to find your copy at your nearest indie bookstore, or buying direct from the publisher.)
Black Josei Press is donating 100% of their profits through Juneteenth (6/19) to National Bail Out and J-FLAG, an organization advocating for LGBT rights in Jamaica. Their work is absolutely gorgeous, and a treat any time of year, but especially now.
Black kawaii cartoonist Shauna also has a pay-what-you-want 8-page comic, “How to Be a Magical Girl,” with funds supporting Black justice organizations. We love this swoon-worthy combo of shōjo aesthetic with JUSTICE.
One of our perennially favorite ways to support comics creators and prose writers we love is to request that our local libraries buy books that we would like to use and see in circulation! Libraries can and will often purchase books or license audiobooks and comics in larger quantities than a single person can usually buy. It’s free books for you and your community, more earnings for creators!
Here are the links to request titles from the libraries in our home cities:
- Austin Library: Suggest a title for purchase
- King County Library System, Suggest a purchase
- Multnomah County Library: Suggest a purchase
- Seattle Public Library: Suggest a title
Independent publishers are particularly important to support in this way (we have a little experience in this area). We especially love Iron Circus Comics, who pioneered the Kickstarter funding model that so many indie publishers, ourselves included, rely on to print and distribute comics. Power & Magic Press*, an Afro-Latinx owned publisher, is also very dear to our hearts and proudly displayed in our home collections.
*Disclosure: Ashley has a comic in their upcoming Mañana anthology!
Adorned by Chi, a longtime POME fave making Black kawaii apparel and manga, has a great list of Black creators in apparel and comics making extremely cute stuff.
The threads below contain a ton of amazing comics by Black creators on self-publishing platform Webtoon Canvas that we’re excited to explore.
Sharing information responsibly and mindfully:
Be critical and wait to share information until you know it’s vetted: this Buzzfeed running list of hoaxes related to #BlackLivesMatter will help you identify some hoaxes you may have already seen, and also help you learn what to look out for.
This Twitter thread has some very helpful tips for making images and social media posts accessible to people who are blind or have low vision.
This would not be an Afternoon Snack in 2020 without some topical Animal Crossing content, therefore:
Editor’s note: We’ve moved our original intro to this resource post (from June 2, 2020), to make room for more timely information each week near the top.
From the editorial staff at POME:
It can be tough to know exactly what to say in turbulent times, but we want to start with this: we unequivocally support and wish to be in solidarity with everyone who is currently rising up to declare, once again, that our government’s past and present assault on Black lives is unacceptable.
We recognize that POMEmag, run by a small group of white people, with a small and niche platform, is not the leading voice that our audience needs to hear, by far. But we also feel that we cannot let silence make us complicit in a violent system that must be dismantled. This week’s Afternoon Snack will be devoted to resources for people who want to take individual and collective action to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement, protestors, and all of our loved ones who will continue to live under oppression until we collectively succeed in ending it. We will continue updating this post as needed, and will also be using our social media channels to amplify Black and dissenting voices.
While many white-led small businesses are making the pledge to mute for a week, we, the editorial staff at POMEmag, all feel that that’s likely not enough time for us to feel prepared to go back to “business as usual.” It feels wrong and self-indulgent to share light-hearted content while the police are openly brutalizing people in the streets. We will spend this week away from pome-mag.com working out how we can create the warm, welcoming, fun-loving community we ourselves craved when we started POME, while not turning a blind eye or staying silent in the face of profound injustice. We’ll keep you updated if it seems like we might need a little more time.
For our POMEpress backers and readers: we are still on track to fulfill Going Steady Kickstarter rewards in July, but if anything changes, you’ll be the first to know.
For all our POMEs, please feel free to send resources our way, so that we can boost them in our community.
Keep learning, keep fighting, and above all, take care of each other.
Love and solidarity,