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.
Along with organizing its own events, Snack Bloc has been at seemingly every protest, march and vigil around the city over the past three months, providing snacks, water and supplies to protesters at the Stripper Strike, BLM Art Therapy and rallies 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.
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."
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