FILMING THE BLACK PANTHERS AND THE KKK
Last week, my husband and I were hired to film the rallies at the State building in Columbia. We followed two brothers, who were there to support the Black Panther rallies. I don't usually do this sorta thing- when it comes to docs, I'm usually scripting the narration or story producing...but when the BBC comes knocking, you don't say no.
- •I was scared.I grew up in and around Louisville, KY. I went to a diverse school & had friends from all different backgrounds. The first time I saw a confederate flag, I was on a road trip with my friend Vikki-she's Black and Puerto Rican. We stopped at a gas station in Alabama on our way to NOLA. Some skinhead called me a race traitor and threatened to blow up our car. Then he pumped gasoline into the air like he was setting off the racist fucker bat signal. We drove off going 90. Never wanted a reunion.
- •My husband was not scared.Until the night before...then we had a 3 hour air clearing/let me tell you all the reasons I love you conversation. We focused on prepping gear. I went to sleep thinking, "I'll be fine; i just need to keep my eyes on G and make sure he doesn't do anything stupid to "get the shot."
- •I got even more scared.One of the brothers I was following said he didn't mind dying for this- standing up to the KKK. He said he would pull off hoods and tear up flags and was there to start shit. He wanted people to know he was there and he was angry. The shooting in Charleston was a month prior, and he really thought there would be more devastation at the rallies.i signed the kind of releases my husband signs all the time. Wait, why do you want my blood type?
- •I got a lot of chigger bites and laid my accent on thicker than it ever was to get access to people who were pissed about Yankee press.
- •I felt a throbbing loss for a progress I had hoped was wider spread.Wait, the KKK is still organizing? Wait- are those swastikas? Wait- should domestic terrorists be allowed to organize? In a government building? Why is this allowed? Most of us find them absurd...right? Guys, we are all ready to exile these anyti-humans, right?
- •I was proud.There were people of all ages and races there to protest the KKK and to support the Black Panthers' counter-rally. We outnumbered them by THOUSANDS. This is what being American and exercising Free Speech is to me. I didn't really know that before.
- •Mad respect for state troopers, cops, FBI keeping people safe.Ok, one of them WWE style elbowed me in the head to keep me out of a fight while shooitng a low angle, BUT these women and men were amazing. They got in between the two sides and did the best anyone could ask. They created a human barrier around a group of BPs who had stolen a skinhead's flag and begun to rip it to shreds. They walked two officers forward, one backward---"Got your six; three steps and hold." They were everywhere.
- •Seriously don't believe what you watch on the news.So many journalists were there for 30 min and left and these events shifted in and out of fights and chants and speeches and more fights and lulls and they were there for very little of it. Our media really makes me sick. I thought I knew this before but I'm appalled at what I saw on TV recapping what I saw in person. It was not a peaceful day, and one week later I still have the bruises on my ribs and legs to prove it, and I was by no means in thickest thick of it.
- •The people of South Carolina deserve your respect.They didn't want this in their back yard. The two groups weren't even from the state they were protesting in. South Carolinans are trying to heal from the horrific events that have befallen their state in recent months. They are meeting the racists of their own state head on and not backing down. They are doing all they can. Many I talked to even said, "they (the KKK)have the right to say whatever they want, but I am here to make sure they know no one is listening and we aren't scared of them."
- •We have a lot of work to do.I'll leave you with this: I filmed 2 low-lifes in their sixties fantasizing about murdering all the "Gays, Catholics, Jews, Blacks, Yellas, Spics, & anyone else who gets in our way." They thought they were hilarious, and I was crying behind my eyepiece. A Black Panther made a joke about raping white women next to me to even things up. Hideous separatist poison is alive and well, and it is not as compartmentalized as we who luxuriate in our liberal pockets may dream. Divided we are falling.