I don’t think there’s an easy way to summarize the past few weeks. Folks have and are still protesting in the streets of every state in the US to vocalize the situation. The death of George Floyd sparked not only a conversation, but a movement representing millions of Black people who are really fucking tired of inequality, tired of the lack of simple human rights, and tired of violence and murder due to police brutality and never ending racism.
Social media, thanks to the people who were on site recording them, has been a constant flood of videos showcasing all sorts of despicable, inhuman, and vicious response, disrupting peaceful marches and inciting fear just for the sake of wearing an uniform.
During my short life experience, I have to admit I’ve never seen anything like this. Argentina has had its share of riots over the years, sure, but for different reasons altogether. These past few days, every time I opened up Twitter I always saw words of encouragement for those standing their grounds in the streets, words of anger, sorrow, and justice for the Black folks who were murdered, and words against systematic racism not only in the US, but on a worldwide scale.
Conversations usually have a short life span on social media, but as I said, this is different. This momentum should never stop. We’re talking about decades of problems and injustice that rise to the occasion every now and then before being forgotten and replaced by the next E3 replacement stream or infamous Twitter protagonist of the day. This time, the way I see it, it feels like a turning point.
I want to be clear and say that as a hispanic person this isn’t my fight, so I can’t and won’t affirm or deny that things will change. It’s naive to think so after only a couple of days. There are conversations lingering in the air in the form of promises that have to take place as soon as possible. Not only in the game industry, but in every other workplace as well. Many government officials and police chiefs are still coming up with the most stupid excuses to try and hide the damage they’ve caused. But it’s impossible not to attach oneself to the glimmer of hope of seeing thousands of people fighting for their rights and against oppression. As I’m writing this, a veto-proof majority of Minneapolis City Council members will announce their commitment to disbanding the city’s police department. Change is possible, and those in power are becoming afraid of this after witnessing entire communities reminding them of it.
All of us over at Into The Spine support and want to see these changes happening once and for all. We were going to announce and start posting pieces related to our first monthly theme at the beginning of June, but it made sense to follow the premise and actually take our time with it.
As I said on Twitter, silence isn’t an option. I’ve learned a lot during the past few days as I cut with the video game chatter and did my best to amplify Black voices. I might be hundreds of miles away from the US, but if you’re also on a similar situation or just don’t know where to start, folks have been sharing all sorts of ways in which you can do so.
First, there’s lots of places to donate: The Bail Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Lives Matter Project, Color of Change, fundraiser to help rebuild Minneapolis, support over 70 bail funds with a split donation, follow, share, and support the work of black developers, or even purchase probably the best video game bundle ever with a minimum cost of $5 USD.
If you’re unable to donate, there’s plenty of other ways you can help. Here’s a massive list of bail funds and petitions that you can sign. Believe me, it will only take a couple of minutes, and it’s the bare minimum to do either from your PC or your phone instead of scrolling through social media endlessly. You can resume that later. There’s also a resource master list with many helpful links, especially if your mental health needs a breather.
On the video game side of things, I recommend reading Gita Jackson on how the video game industry doesn’t know how to respond to protests, along with this massive thread of people you should follow and support. Read Mike Williams’ piece Black Work Matters, Natalie Flores’ excellent and far more eloquent article on what’s been going on in the industry these past few days, Ethan Gach’s report on the lack of actual action from these companies, and both Yussef Cole and Tanya DePass’ essay on Black characters in video games, which is three years old but is as relevant as ever. Oh hey, here’s another thread of folks to follow, support, and send your money at.
From our end, we’re going to continue sharing all of these links and more on Twitter. I’m also committing myself to not only look for, but reach out to Black journalists and critics to support and pay them for their words, which has been admittedly lacking on the site for a while now. In fact, if you’re one reading this right now (pitch us!) here’s a great thread for you.
I’m not sure when, but it’s likely that we’ll start posting articles again soon. But that doesn’t mean that we have turned the page and resumed to normal. We’re taking our time with it to listen, to support, to amplify, and to be vocal about everything that is, and has been, happening in the world for centuries. Your backlog won’t go anywhere. And yes, we’ll still have a new console generation. There will be a time to talk about all of this. For now, show your support and help in every way you can.
Don’t think about going back to normal. Think of a better tomorrow instead.