It’s been an extraordinary week in America and around the world, as anger, pain and heartbreak have erupted over the killing of yet another black man at the hands of police.
The protests, unrest, outrage and fear have been impossible to ignore, and they come amid a pandemic that had already turned life upside down for many.
If you’re feeling hopeless, you’re not alone. CNN asked some experts for ways to get through it.
1. Acknowledge your feelings and put a label on them: “I think the most important thing is to acknowledge and sit with the idea that something is making us uncomfortable,” said Alfiee Breland-Noble, psychologist and founder of mental health nonprofit, the AAKOMA Project.
2. Connect with others: “It’s really crucial that we don’t use this time to alienate ourselves,” said Andrea Bonior, licensed clinical psychologist and author of “Detox Your Thoughts,” addressing the isolating effects that the coronavirus has had on many people.
“We’re already coming from a baseline of loneliness where we’re all feeling a little disconnected. The research is very clear that increased social support has all kinds of positive benefits for mental health and for our emotional well-being,” she added.
3. Get involved: “People feel hopeless because they don’t know what to do, and they feel like the little thing they’re doing is not enough,” Breland-Noble said.
She notes that “whatever that little thing is that you’re doing, that’s all you can do for now.”
4. Be kind to yourself: It’s important to practice self-care to help you get centered. For some people that may be a walk in nature, for others meditation or yoga.
“Try to work within your bandwidth, using things that are accessible,” Breland-Noble said. “If you’re going to meditate, and it’s like eight people in a two-bedroom home, maybe you have to literally go into the bathroom and sit there for five minutes with your headphones on,” she said.
5. Acknowledge the good: “Oftentimes in the darkest of times, we’re only seeing the anger, we’re only seeing the chaos,” Bonior said. “We’re tuning out the smaller aspects of kindness, the smaller aspects of people helping each other.”
She pointed out some of the kinder acts of love we’re seeing at the protests, like people standing up and protecting others or volunteers handing out water to protesters.
The Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum says she does not tolerate members of her police force committing acts of brutality on demonstrators.
“We don’t and won’t tolerate police abuse,” she said in a video statement posted to her official Twitter account on Friday.
Sheinbaum was reacting to reports of police violence committed against a female teenage protester in front of the US embassy in Mexico City on Friday.
Demonstrations have flared up in Mexico in recent days in solidarity with protests in the United States and further afield following the murder of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis last month.
Protesters, many with their faces covered, marched along with one of central Mexico City’s main avenues, setting fire to cars and smashing up the fronts of a number of businesses. The demonstration culminated in a small group of young protesters with anarchist banners hurling Molotov cocktails at the US embassy, throwing stones and burning objects over the metal barricades surrounding the embassy.
Sheinbaum said, “although they committed lawless acts that should be punished by law, my orders were clear and precise that we must avoid any provocation. Nevertheless, they (the police) did not obey these orders fully.”
“There was police brutality committed against at least one teenage girl, something that is unacceptable to my government,” Sheinbaum added.
The mayor said she had ordered an investigation by the attorney general’s office and Mexico’s Commission for Human Rights “to identify and punish those responsible regardless of their ranks,” according to her statement.
“I have been in contact with the family of the attack victim to give them all the support they need,“ Sheinbaum added.
Protesters have gathered in major cities across Australia demanding justice over minority deaths in police custody in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
About 10,000 people gathered in central Sydney Saturday after a court overturned a previous injunction that ruled any protest there illegal because of social distancing restrictions. Similar demonstrations went ahead in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, with protesters waving banners and chanting “black lives matter.”
The rallies were organized by indigenous rights groups — among others — under the banner “Stop Black Deaths in Custody.”
Jeremy, 27, who didn’t reveal his surname, attended the march in Sydney. “To know that I stand on the shoulders of black, queer people before me who have enabled me to live the life I lead, I had to ask myself if I was going to be the ancestor that people after me needed me to be,” he told CNN.
“Change needs to happen … I want to see it at its grass-roots level, see it in the education system, with people in power. What I want to see is that we haven’t come this far for everything that’s come before us to mean nothing.”
As a person of color, Kaneesha Willie has dealt with racism her entire life.
Participating in her hometown’s protest in Paducah, Kentucky, gave her an opportunity to show her young, mixed-race kids that their voices matter — especially as black people are fighting to be heard in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
The 23-year-old said she was proud to see her small town fight for justice in such a big way at the Chief Paduke statue, a historical marker for the town.
“We all bleed red,” Willie said. “We are all one and the protest really showed that our community came together. It was beautiful.”
The national stage has shown us protests in big cities like Washington, DC, New York City and Los Angeles, but small towns that dot the map — ones you may never hear about — are also showing small acts of solidarity.
In State College, Pennsylvania; Farmington, Missouri; Holland, Arkansas; Solebury, Pennsylvania; and other towns, people are making their voices heard.
Read the full story:
The Virginia State Police issued 43 charges on Friday after a group of protesters entered the main interstate highway, the I-95, in Prince William County.
Corinne Geller, public relations director of the Virginia State Police, said in an emailed statement that the protesters were charged with unlawful assembly, obstructing free passage of others and obstruction of justice after they blocked all travel on the interstate, including in the express lanes.
According to police, the group of about 75 people entered the interstate at Exit 152, marched north on the I-95 and entered the express lanes before heading south, where they were approached by state troopers.
Geller said that when state troopers approached, the group refused to comply with verbal commands to leave the interstate, and several of the protesters ran across the travel lanes into the woods.
CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta says there is a risk the coronavirus will spread at protests across the US, where streets are packed with people chanting, screaming and potentially coughing because of tear gas.
“The virus is still out there, it is still very contagious,” Gupta said.
On the plus side, he added, “a lot of people wear masks, that is good. We know masks can have significant impacts on the spread of the virus. The protests are mostly outside, which is also good because the virus will disperse more into the air.”
However, people being in close proximity to each other is a problem, Gupta said. If they become infected with Covid-19 at a protest, it will be that much harder to do contact tracing.
“They are not obviously physically distancing and they are staying in these positions for longer than 10 or 15 minutes,” Gupta said. “So you have many situations where you have close contact, and if people are then subsequently diagnosed with an infection, it’s a question of how do you go back and trace contacts of people in a protest. It’s very hard to do.”
The protests are also happening at a time when the US is beginning to reopen, and as a result it may be difficult to know how much of an impact these protests have on new coronavirus infections.
“Protesters need to do their part to curb the spread of the virus. And also to think about after they go home. What they might do to potentially not spread the virus to people in their family, in their community. That will be important over the next several weeks,” Gupta said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Ottawa on Friday.
Trudeau’s act of solidarity comes after he declined to comment earlier in the day about whether he would be attending the protest. Still, he arrived at Parliament Hill — home to Canada’s Parliament — wearing a black cloth mask Friday afternoon and surrounded by security guards, according to CNN affiliate CTVnews.
Trudeau did not speak at the event, though he clapped and nodded along with some of the other speakers, including when a speaker asserted there is no middle ground on racism. At another point, he yelled “Amen” along with other protesters after a speaker discussed promoting love and justice.
Read the full story.
Up to 3,000 people have gathered in central Sydney after a court overturned a previous protest ban over social distancing concerns.
“These protests here today are inspired by what’s happening in the US. People are hyper aware of that and are very supportive of that — and we have our own issues in Australia,” journalist Angus Watson told CNN.
Organized by indigenous rights groups — among others — under the banner “Stop Black Deaths in Custody,” rallies are also going ahead in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Australia’s indigenous population — composed of mainland Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders — makes up 2.4% of the country’s 25 million people, yet accounts for more than a quarter of its total prisoner population.
Analysis from Change the Record, an Aboriginal-led justice coalition, found that there have been 449 indigenous deaths in custody between 1980 and 2011, which represents 24% of all deaths in custody over that period.
“They want their voices heard, they feel like there has not been any convictions, there has not been any justice,” Watson said. “These protests in Sydney here today are matched across the country in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and other centers. People saying that they’re angry, they’re fed up and they want to be heard.”
If you’re just tuning into our live coverage, here are the important headlines today:
Protesters rally across Australia: Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have gathered for rallies in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide today. A court overturned an injunction banning a march and rally in Sydney, and crowds have started to assemble.
Tribute to Breonna Taylor: A crowd of peaceful protesters near the White House in Washington, DC, sang “Happy Birthday” in memory of Taylor, who was killed by police in March and who would have turned 27 today. Noticeably absent was the presence of law enforcement. However city officials are expecting a bigger demonstration on Saturday.
Facebook’s policies to be reviewed: Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook will review its policies concerning the state use of force, voter suppression and content moderation, as the company faces a backlash from many of its own workers over its inaction on controversial posts by US President Tweety McTreason.
Cyclist arrested over rant: Detectives have arrested and charged the cyclist caught on video accosting three people as they posted flyers in support of Black Lives Matter. The cyclist, who police identified as 60-year-old Anthony Brennan III, of Kensington, Maryland, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault.
Biden says Trump putting words in Floyd’s mouth is “despicable”: Presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden sharply criticized Trump for invoking Floyd’s name as the President was taking a victory lap over lower unemployment numbers.
NFL wrong for not listening to players about racism, commissioner says: Roger Goodell said it has been a difficult time for the US — in particular black Americans — and offered his condolences to the families of Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and “all the families who have endured police brutality.”