“We’re at a place where basic truth and bearing witness is somehow seen as political. I’m concerned about that. I don’t consider myself an activist. I don’t think it’s my place to do that. I feel like as a journalist, I have to speak out about this, but I don’t want to trespass on the very real, very valid concerns and grievances of the people that we’re covering. But this has reshaped how I feel about our role in being able to cover news. If what we do as journalists is elevate people’s voices, and you take away the public’s ability to see what’s happening, then what voice do people have to express their pain, their anguish, their frustrations?”
Name: Michelai Graham, journalist
Location: Washington, D.C.
Injuries sustained: Hit by tear gas and shot repeatedly by rubber bullets
“Between Floyd, Taylor, and Arbery, these deaths have been haunting me more than usual. The continual execution of Black people has ignited a conversation we thought we shouldn’t be having in 2020: Racism is alive and thriving in the worst ways possible. These Black Americans getting murdered look like me.” (Graham wrote more about her experience at the protests here.)
Name: Balin Brake
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Injuries sustained: Lost his eye from a tear gas canister, suffered four facial fractures in his occipital bone
“Stand for what you believe in. They’ll throw all they have at you, but you can’t let it knock you down.”
Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.