This is not France. Citizens of the U.S. have a short attention span. Americans have already moved on from still-raging COVID-19 to police reform, but let’s not kid ourselves. Those who are not involved will tire of hearing the same old stories, and they don’t like being inconvenienced. Now that George Floyd has been buried, the majority will call for a return to “normal” and the spotlight will turn away.
The bulldozing of Occupy Wall Street is just one example of the ultimate, pathetic end of an effective protest that went on too long. Once the majority have moved on and the right wing has twisted and spun the narrative, any street movement becomes passé and loses power.
At this moment, the racial justice movement is at its peak and we must not lose what we’ve gained. It has the attention and support of many governments and much of the media. There are enough martyrs. It’s time to regroup and stop clogging the streets with protests. Start attending city council meetings. Run for office. Join groups that are working to stop voter suppression and to engage people in the political process. Join local groups that work for justice and peace. If you have money, donate to these causes. Donate to and work for more progressive political leaders who want to change the justice system.
The party’s over. Time to roll up our sleeves and get the work done.