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In early June, after three years, grassroots organization Snack Bloc officially became a nonprofit. It turned out to be imperative timing.
The protest support and mutual aid group needed to register for 501(c)(3) status to make it easier to be financially transparent, which turned out to be necessary for a group that's provided resources for almost 100 straight days of protests across Portland.
This week, Snack Bloc added yet another task to its list: It made an informercial.
The group released a short, darkly humorous video on Instagram starring the group's core leader, Masyn Wade—a spoof for a fictional hotline called 1-800-BURN-IT-DOWN.
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‼️‼️CALL TO ACTION – 08/31/20‼️‼️ PLEASE copy/paste the verbiage below: ✊🏾We need a critical mass of people sharing/sending this video to Teddy for his birthday. ✊🏾We will all sign this petition in lieu of a birthday card to get his resignation as he has failed in protecting our community from police brutality for his entire term as mayor for the past 1,338 days. Defund, Dismantle, and BURN IT DOWN. ✊🏾 Resources for the REVOLUTION. Follow @snackblocpdx @tedwheelerpdx Your birthday is a a great day to RESIGN. SIGN this petition: https://sign.moveon.org/petitions/ted-wheeler-s-resignation Email the video to: Ted Wheeler: email@example.com JoAnn Hardesty: firstname.lastname@example.org Amanda Fritz: Amanda@portlandoregon.gov Chloe Eudaly: email@example.com If they make no comment, that says it all. Starring @masynwade Producer @raquel_divar Director @nocturnaluniform Writers @masynwade @raquel_divar @clrrification DP @evanbenallyatwood Editor @emmajosephson Voice Over @raquel_divar Set Design @withlovecee @thefindsvintagepdx Wardrobe @thefindsvintagepdx Stylist @withlovecee Makeup @aleee.xo Sound @raquel_divar Assistant Director @queerboatglitterboot Assistant Camera @alisonfayehoffman Lighting/Grip @loganonthelens Production Assistant @nicoleharber @beaubeaubarina Special Thanks to @picapdx @feedthemass and to our anonymous extras #blacklivesmatter #pdx #portland #civilrights #racism #racialjustice #performative #whitefragility #nojusticenopeace #endwhitesupremacy #portlandprotest #portlandoregon #makeracistsafraidagain #dismantlewhitesupremacy #abolishpolice #policebrutality #snackblocpdx #nocturnaluniform
In the video, Wade wears a shoulder-padded lavender dress and sits at a desk surrounded by red curtains.
"Are you tired of white supremacy?" she starts off. "Bitch, welcome to the club. We've been holding your spot for hundreds of years. It has been exhausting."
"It's still a very heavy time and there's a lot going on," says Wade, who wrote the script with local rapper Raquel Divar and Claire Hansen. "We wanted to create something that was insightful but also a little humorous, 'cause I kind of felt like people need to laugh at least a little bit."
But while 1-800-BURN-IT-DOWN is intended as a joke, the sentiments behind the video are not.
"I don't believe in putting property over people," says Wade. "We're still having this conversation of 'but, but, but, the looting!' I'm like, no, lives are being lost, how are we equating that?"
Though the video was filmed in June, the video was released on Monday—Mayor Ted Wheeler's birthday—and called for viewers to sign a petition in support of Wheeler's resignation. But Wade hopes the release will accomplish a much broader goal.
"I hope it activates the community," she says. "We're all going toward the same goal, but there are so many different routes, so I feel like the more agency and autonomy people can have, the better."
See more Distant Voices interviews here.