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The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody, has sparked over a thousand protests across the US. Here’s what one African-American family has to say about movements past – and moving forward.
Video showing Floyd struggling to breathe as a white police officer knelt on his neck swiftly led to nationwide outrage and in the weeks since, there have been demonstrations in all 50 US states.
These protests form part of a long history of uprisings against racial injustice in America.
But what needs to be done differently now?
That was the question posed to 16-year-old Raymon Curry during a protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a video that went viral this month.
In the clip, activist Curtis Hayes Jr, 31, pulls Raymon from the crowd and tells him that they need to “find a better way” to express their pain over the killings of African-Americans.
We asked Raymon, along with his mother, 33-year-old Jasmaine, and his grandmother, Sherondia, aged 58, to share what they believe the country needs to change in order to move forward.
‘We need action’
Sherondia was born in New York City in the early 1960s. While she’s enraged by what’s happening, she says she’s proud of the diversity of people turning out to protest compared to when she was younger.
“I’ve seen not only black people but white people, different races of people protesting. And what really encouraged me was when I saw protests going on all over the world.
“I was very young when the civil rights movement began back in the 60s. My mother told me stories and I saw pictures. When I look back at the movement I say, ‘How did they survive when water hoses were thrown at them, dogs sent on them?'”
The protests over the death of George Floyd have seen the tearing down of Confederate statues and monuments connected to slavery and colonialism.
But Sherondia thinks this isn’t enough.
“Today we need more than just Confederate statues coming down. We need open dialogue, we need people coming together and breaking down barriers and socioeconomic injustices going on in this country. We don’t just need a word, we need action.”
She says what’s kept her going through the years has been her faith.
“Racism has always existed. It’s something that I think black people have learned to live with. But even though it’s uncomfortable, we have found the strength. The strength of the church, the strength of believing that there is absolutely a God. So our strength came from that faith.”
‘We gave so many chances for this to be corrected’
Sherondia’s daughter, Jasmaine, was born in 1987. She says one of her most vivid memories is of watching the Million Man March, a gathering of African-American men in Washington DC in 1995.
“I remember black men coming together, and they were interrupted by officials. I was young and learning about Rodney King, things of that nature. I remember looking at Ebony Magazine and reading so early – when I was in first grade [aged six or seven] – about Emmett Till and seeing his picture.
“So the problem goes back to my time and even to my mom’s time. My grandmother told me stories about going to black-only bathrooms. In my era, in the 80s, I didn’t sit and watch Martin Luther King like my grandmother but I heard that same message. That message has now moved to a new generation.
“I’m fed up. Even if I’m peaceful and speak the truth, someone else is going to tell me, ‘You weren’t enslaved’. But my ancestors were. So actions speak louder than words, and if it takes burning down something, it’s unfortunate but we gave so many chances for this to be corrected.”
On the day that Raymon was filmed in the now-viral exchange, he didn’t tell his mother that he was going out to protest.
“I gave him permission to go and play with his friend,” Jasmaine recalls.
“So to find out the next day that he went to the protest, my main concern as a mother was for his safety. There was one point we were telling our kids to stay away from strangers, gangs, violent people, but it’s reverted to me telling him to stay away from the police.”
‘Peace by any means necessary’
Raymon, one of two boys, has grown up listening to his mother and grandmother tell him about racial injustice, and remembers watching news of the deaths of black Americans.
“I see [previous protest movements] as something we’ve got to learn from,” he says.
“We want to be equal, to all be heard and to have a voice. I know what my mom and grandma saw growing up and it’s still continuing. Now it’s my turn to be the leader of my generation.”
So how does he think protests should change from previous generations?
“By this time, peace shouldn’t be an option. We should get our voices heard and get this peace by any means necessary. How many times do we have to be peaceful before we get our justice? I’m trying every day to think of ways. It’s something I shouldn’t have to deal with at this age.”
“I’m not a violent or hateful person, but tearing down statues is what’s getting attention. Now we’re finally having our voices heard. We were part of the slavery system and the statues represent that.”
More on the George Floyd protests
By Jess Joho
Those at the rally would’ve heard the song’s intended message of defiance playing to a less than packed arena. The Tom Petty estate responded with a cease and desist letter followed by a statement on Twitter signed by Petty’s daughters and widows Adria, Annakim, Dana, and Jane.
The reason they give for why he has no right to play Petty’s music is pitch-perfect, too.
“Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” it reads. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
This isn’t even the first time Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” has been a matter of legal dispute for a U.S. Republican president. When he was still alive during the 2000 presidential race, Petty himself demanded George W. Bush stop using the same song for his campaign events with a cease and desist.
The estate’s statement to the Trump campaign made it clear that his use of the song went against all of Petty’s original intentions for it.
“Tom wrote this song for the underdog, for the common man and for EVERYONE,” it says. “We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either. We would hate for fans that are marginalized by this administration to think we were complicit in this usage.”
Like Mother’s Day—or most holidays, really—Father’s Day can be polarizing. For some, it’s a fun excuse to get the family together (well, maybe not this year) to have a barbecue and shower Dad with gifts. But for others, it triggers upsetting memories. If you fall into that second category, getting through the third Sunday in June can be tough. We spoke to several mental health professionals to better understand why this day can be so difficult, and to get tips for making it through—whether you’ll be alone or with family on Sunday.
There are plenty of reasons why Father’s Day is a day some people dread, or at least find challenging. Whether someone’s dad is deceased, estranged, absent, or not the ideal father, it can be hard for the children (even if/when they’re adults), as well as the fathers themselves (more on that in a bit). Oh, and also, we’re still in a global pandemic, and even for people who have a wonderful relationship with their father, this year might be hard if they can’t spend the day together.
For those who find Father’s Day hard, it can elicit disparate emotions ranging from sadness to anger to disappointment. “While some experience anticipatory anxiety about this day due to recent loss, others have complicated relationships with or are completely estranged from their fathers, and may struggle with how to process the symbolism of this day,” Dr. Leela R. Magavi, a psychiatrist and regional medical director with Community Psychiatry tells Lifehacker. “Meanwhile, fathers who have lost their children or do not see them often for a variety of reasons may grieve in their own way. Some individuals are unable to become parents or adopt, and may experience a sense of emptiness or loneliness.”
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When the holiday takes the form of grief, it becomes a reminder of a relationship that someone doesn’t have, rather than one that they do, according to Litsa Williams, a grief therapist and licensed clinical social worker. “Of course, this is true for children who have lost fathers and fathers who have lost children, but also the partners, friends and parents of fathers who have died,” she tells Lifehacker. “It is difficult for those who have lost fathers or children due to estrangement, incarceration, foster care and relocation.”
And then there are other ways that Father’s Day can sneak up on you emotionally. First of all, as Dr. Rebecca Gernon, a family physician and the medical director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City points out, we all have strong feelings about our parents and their role in our lives. When we find out that they’re not infallible, it can be a disappointing lesson to learn at any age. On top of that, if your parents’ marriage ultimately dissolved, sometimes Father’s Day brings us unresolved feelings about the separation or divorce, she adds.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the role of fathers has changed in recent years, expanding to include duties like changing diapers, and attending parent-teacher conferences and doctor appointments, that were traditionally jobs for the mother. “Many adults—whose fathers were in their lives—will remember a father who was less present than their mother; a father who may have been stuck in a traditional role, who felt he missed out on parenting joys and experiences; a father who had difficulty expressing feelings,” Gernon explains. “[Some] adults may look back at the father they knew in childhood and wish they knew him better, had more time with him [or] that he could have experienced more of parenthood or expressed feelings more freely.” So even in cases where someone’s father was present growing up and they had a decent relationship, the holiday can still stir up feelings.
And though people (rightfully) think about Father’s Day being difficult for children and adult children of deceased, estranged or absentee dads, Aisha R. Shabazz, a licensed clinical social worker, therapist and clinical supervisor, says that we should consider the other side, too. Specifically, “the shame and sadness that could potentially come along with ‘everyone’ else receiving gifts, lunches, dinners and acknowledgements, while others are getting nothing because their child is deceased or estranged from them,” she tells Lifehacker. “You receive the title of ‘father’ because you have children and yet, if your children are not present, you feel as though you cease to exist. It’s very isolating.”
Now let’s talk about how to get through the day.
Let’s start with tips specifically for dads who are struggling:
If you’re part of this category, Shabazz encourages you to honor the time you had with your child by creating a new or upholding a tradition as a way of memorializing their father-child relationship. “Do something that you used to love doing together—a favorite movie, snack, meal, hobby, etc.,” she adds. Also, Williams suggests that they may want to connect with other grieving fathers through support groups like The Compassionate Friends.
Regardless of who caused the estrangement, Shabazz says that it might be appropriate to reach out again one day. But without doing some personal development work first, you might repeat the same behavior patterns that made the relationship deteriorate in the first place. “Try engaging in support groups or therapy, reading books or listening to podcasts that focus on rebuilding relationships and communication,” she advises.
For those in this group, it can be very easy to play the “what-if” game, Shabazz says—but try to avoid it if you can. “It’s not productive and it won’t help resolve your present concern,” she explains. “Consider the qualities that a father has, and determine which of those qualities you possess. You’ll soon realize that although you may feel incomplete, you have some of the components of a father. Then consider how you can show up for others as a father-figure.”
And now, some general strategies that could be useful for anyone triggered by the day:
If you’re not feeling Father’s Day, it’s perfectly acceptable to give yourself the time and space to grieve. “Communicate to others in your life that Father’s Day is tough for you and let them know what they can do to help,” Williams says. And yes—that means everyone. “Men are socialized to not show a wide range of emotion, as well as not talk about their feelings,” Shabazz says. “If you’re a man that fits into this category, consider expressing yourself in a different way by tapping into your creativity. Create something that speaks for you, and over time you’ll gain the security and confidence you need to say what’s on your mind.”
For those who struggle during holidays, social media can be pretty brutal. Even if your plan is to avoid it all day, there’s always the chance that, out of habit, you’ll pick up your phone and start scrolling through your Instagram feed without even realizing it. “On Father’s Day, social media is typically filled with posts, pictures, and videos of people with their fathers or posting about their fathers,” Dr. Brian Wind, a clinical psychologist and chief clinical executive at JourneyPure tells Lifehacker. “This serves as a constant reminder to those who have complicated relationships with their fathers about all of the things they are missing out on.”
Not everyone falls into the “social-media-is-triggering” category. Others find comfort in looking at old photos or watching home videos of their dad. “Even though Father’s Day might reopen old scars, turning it into a celebration of life can help bring some joy back into the holiday,” Wind says. “However, if you have recently lost your father or haven’t dealt with your grief before, this could be painful to do—especially alone. If needed, seek help from a therapist to help process your grief.”
As humans, it’s always tempting to compare ourselves to other people, but when it comes to doing that with your relationship with your dad, Wind suggests avoiding it. “Instead, you can take time to celebrate the relationships that you do have in your life because those can be celebrated on any day of the year,” he says. Along the same time, don’t go into the day with high expectations based on the sentiments found in greeting cards, Michael Gaziano, a licensed clinical social worker and clinical program manager and therapist at Sierra Tucson tells Lifehacker. “Relationships are complicated, and one of the best ways that you can help unravel them is to focus on what you have control over and the thoughts and feelings that you can work on for your own self care.”
Even if it seems like you’re the only person with mixed—or outright negative—feelings about Father’s Day, you’re definitely not. Wind says that it’s not always easy to deal with emotions like anger, sadness, loneliness and frustration, and thanks to COVID-19, these emotions might hit even harder than usual. But keep in mind that there are plenty of others out there struggling on that day.
If you know Father’s Day isn’t your thing, try to make plans in advance. Yes, that’s especially hard this year, but even doing a virtual visit or taking a masked-and-socially-distanced walk with a friend could help. “If you’re struggling, one of the best things you can do is surround yourself with people that you love,” Wind says. “If you don’t feel safe meeting up with friends or family, make an extra effort to reach out to them and express your feelings. Simply talking through your emotions can help relieve the weight that they hold over you.”
Even if you didn’t make plans ahead of time, if you’re having a hard time on Sunday, Dr. David Finkelstein, a psychiatrist with Community Psychiatry, recommends reaching out to someone for support—“especially someone who may uniquely understand your feelings or has dealt with something similar.”
If spending time with your extended family (i.e. those you don’t live with) is stressful for you, then at least you can thank the pandemic for putting the kibosh on this year’s festivities. But that only (ideally) prevents in-person gatherings: there may still be Zoom family reunions, or phone calls that you’re expected to make. If there are certain IRL or virtual get-togethers you absolutely cannot avoid, Natalie Buchwald, a therapist, as well as the founder and clinical director of Manhattan Mental Health Counseling suggests getting as much time alone prior to and during the event as possible.
“Use this time to meditate, calm yourself and make notes of what emotions are stirred in you,” she tells Lifehacker. “Don’t suppress your emotions. These are insights to be understood. Instead of taking your emotions out on others, go cool down by going to another room or going on a short walk. If you need to address something to a family member, say it assertively but from a calm place. This will increase the likelihood that this would lead to a constructive discussion rather than a shooting match.
Dr. Scott Guerin, a developmental psychologist and adjunct professor in psychology at Kean University lost his father last week—41 days after his mother passed away—both from COVID-19. Right now, he’s focusing on how to cope with the day, and has found that one strategy is working: appreciation. “When word got out about my dad many of my friends sent their condolences,” he tells Lifehacker. “Several conveyed stories about how he helped them…As of right now, each day, my feelings of loss are being overrun by feelings of love and appreciation.” Another take on appreciation—but for those who never knew their fathers or are estranged from them—involves composing a gratitude list inclusive of all the individuals who have served as father figures throughout their life, Magvi says.
If your family’s usual Father’s Day celebration is hard for you to get through, take the opportunity to use this year as a “reset.” Gaziano suggests creating new traditions for yourself and/or your family by redefining the day. This will put you (somewhat) more in control of the holiday. And if your new tradition is ignoring the day completely because that’s what’s best for you, that’s fine too.
When it comes to entertainment options in Quarantine Times, my wife and I are spoiled for choice. We don’t have cable, but we do subscribe to (or have access to passwords for) Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max and the Criterion Channel, not to mention the
free streaming services. So… why can’t we choose a goddam movie?
Since lockdown began—but actually, since our relationship began—we’ve spent more time arguing over what movie we want to watch than actually watching movies. Half the time we end up in a low-key fight over the other person’s indifferent mood or terrible taste before we’ve picked anything; the other half of the time, it’s too late to watch anything by that point anyway. You’ll notice this adds up to 100% percent of the time, and that’s only a slight exaggeration—but I’ve finally found a solution for our choice paralysis.
It comes via the cinematic power couple of Karina Longworth, creator of the essential film history podcast You Must Remember This, and her husband Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out (the latter being a film my wife and I did manage to agree to watch; she didn’t like it). It turns out even famous directors and film historians can’t agree on what to watch, but Longworth figured out a solution, as revealed on the third episode of her other movie podcast, the quarantine-themed The Pictures That Got Small.
“[Rian Johnson] and I had got into a situation of just passive aggressively being like ‘You choose what we watch, no you choose what we watch.’ And so I created an innovation in our household: I basically made a list of every movie I could think about that we had talked about, ‘Oh, we should watch that sometime,’ plus some deep cuts of directors I’m trying to get to know better, plus some Criterion Blu-rays we had lying around. We put it in an app that can randomize any list. And so, every night that we’re going to watch something, we press the random button and it tells us what we’re going to watch.”
Longworth and Johnson have dubbed their solution the Randomizer. To maintain and randomize their list, they use the Random app, which is dubbed as the “All Things Generator.” It’s a great—free!—option that can store and mix up any list and choose one item on it at random; you can also use it to flip a coin, generate a random number, roll a die and more. It’s only available for iOS, however, but you can jury-rig the same results with a Google Docs spreadsheet and any random number generator (for ease of use, I like the one at Random.org).
There are other movie-selection schemes built on random chance. In our Slack, Lifehacker tech editor David Murphy recommended Netflix Roulette, which will choose a movie for you at random from the entire Netflix library (and if you create an account, HBO, Prime Video, Hulu and “50+ others”). Even though you can narrow down your pool of potential choices by genre and Rotten Tomatoes score, this solution is just a bit too wild west for me. (I mean, what if it tried to make me watch Wild Wild West?)
I prefer the self-curation element of the Randomizer. My wife and I are constantly discussing movies we might like to watch someday, but never in one place; we have options spread across Alexa lists, multiple streaming service watch queues, random texts and ancient emails, and yet for some reason every time we fire up the Roku, we can’t think of anything we’re remotely interested in. Using the Randomizer model, we’ll not only have all of our options in one place, but the hard part—the choosing part—is out of our hands.
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Now, this is a solution that requires both setup—it’s going to take a while to assemble your what-to-watch list, and you’ll likely be curating it constantly as streaming services add and drop films—and buy-in—everyone subject to the Randomizer must agree to abide by the rules of the Randomizer. If you just wind up hitting the “random” button again if you don’t like what you’re given, you may as well go back to the Netflix “Browse Endlessly” plan.
If that’s too rigid for the health of your relationships with your co-watchers, consider implementing some house rules. Perhaps you can sort your lists by genre (so you don’t end up watching a horror film on Valentine’s Day) or give each person one veto per viewing session—whatever you have to do to keep the peace and finally just watch a fucking movie.
Verizon has a new student discount offer for college students, offering a $10-per-month discount on a single line or $25-per-month discount on two lines for subscribers to its various unlimited plans. The new offer will be available starting on July 2nd.
As of last August, Verizon offers four different “unlimited” plans that all offer a variety of perks, features, and limitations. Prices start at $70 per month for a single line for the entry-level “Start Unlimited” plan and go up to $90 per month for a single line on the most expensive “Get More Unlimited” plan. So saving $10 or $25 a month on your bill could be a significant savings.
There are a few caveats, of course. To get a student discount, the student in question has to be the account owner or manager. (You can’t just show your student documentation and cut a few dollars off your family plan.) Only one discount can be applied per account, even if both members are enrolled, and it’s only valid for customers with a maximum of two phone lines (meaning you can’t just put your college-aged student in charge of your larger family plan, either).
The deal is valid for up to four years, although students will have to provide annual documentation proving that they’re an actively enrolled undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate college student.
Don’t despair if you want a new Samsung phone somewhere between the cheap-but-cheerful Galaxy A51 and the more powerful Galaxy S20 family — relief will soon be at hand. Samsung has announced that the Galaxy A71 5G will be available to buy in the US through T-Mobile, Sprint and Samsung itself on June 19th for $600. It’ll also be available later in the summer in AT&T, Verizon (Engadget’s parent company) and unlocked variants. In some ways, this could be one of Samsung’s hotter phones by providing a significant performance boost over the A51 without venturing into premium territory.
The most obvious improvement over the A51 is the addition of 5G data where it’s available (which is many places for T-Mobile). However, you’ll also get a slightly larger 6.7-inch 1080p display and a 64-megapixel f/1.8 main camera instead of the 48MP f/2.0 cam. This may be the better pick if you’re a shutterbug. You’ll also get 6GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, the A51’s secondary cameras and a sizeable 4,500mAh battery, although it remains to be seen how that power pack translates to real-world use.
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