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After Rittenhouse verdict, activists fear for their safety at future demonstrations

by Adrian Florido, NPR

Adrian Florido: Police and vigilantes, says Erin Heaney (National Director for SURJ), respond less aggressively when there are white people in a crowd. The fact that Rittenhouse was acquitted despite his victims being white, she says, drives home the threat that nonwhite protesters face if the verdict emboldens more vigilante violence.

Erin Heaney: It reaffirms the need for those of us who are white to be putting our bodies on the line and also, you know, doing the long haul organizing.

Adrian Florido: She says many of the white people her group organizes are new to racial justice work. And though many are shaken by Friday’s news…

Erin Heaney: One thing we are seeing is that, like, many, many new people are finding our organization and, you know, signing up saying, I want to do something – really just, like, in the last couple days. So I think there is a risk that people are going to be more scared. But I also think that the news also is moving more people into wanting to fight for racial justice.

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