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Entering the Portland warzone: WTF is going on in Oregon?

You are now entering the Portland war zone.

Unidentified agents pulling people off the streets into unmarked cars may sound like something from George Orwell’s book “1984.” Or Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian.”

But this isn’t happening in a dystopian novel. This is happening in the supposed land of the free.

Many protesters and local leaders are decrying the presence of federal agents in Portland, Oregon, a city which has already been host to some drastic protests and even created autonomous zones.

The city has suffered over 50 days of protests, and federal agents have moved in to try and quell the civil unrest. Where they were once just guarding Portland’s federal courthouse, however, they have since expanded their influence in the city.

The current civil unrest in America is already a tumultuous situation, and with this influx of federal agents, Portland may just be the beginning of something bigger.

Federal agencies appear

Federal agents were first sent into Portland, Oregon on June 27 to guard the federal courthouse. The influx of troops came just a day after President Trump passed an executive order dedicated to protecting federal landmarks and properties in the wake of racial injustice protests around the country.

A recent protest-turned-riot at the federal courthouse is one of the contributing factors to the expanding influence in Portland. Protesters dismantled a safety fence, reportedly broke windows, launched fireworks at the building, and reportedly attacked law enforcement officials.

Police and federal agents went into action arresting protesters and dispersing them with tear gas as well as “crowd-control munitions.”

It was after this event that federal troops appeared to be doing more than just protecting federal property.

Troops have come in from a variety of federal agencies including but not limited to the BORTAC Unit from US Customs and Border Protection, the US Marshals Service, and the Federal Protective Service.

An increasing number of incidents

Many in Portland are already criticizing the presence of federal agents, and there have been a slew of incidents following their arrival.

Agents have been known to arrest people who are just suspected of committing federal crimes, but not entirely confirmed in all cases.

Protester Mark Pettibone told the Washington Post that officers detained him as he was walking home from a protest. Pettibone claimed men in green military fatigues and generic “police patches” showed up in an unmarked vehicle.

“I was terrified,” said Pettibone. “It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon.”

CBP agents also arrested another unidentified individual and forced them into an unmarked vehicle in a now-viral video. A statement regarding the incident on the Customs and Border Patrol website says,

“CBP agents had information indicating the person in the video was suspected of assaults against federal agents or destruction of federal property.  Once CBP agents approached the suspect, a large and violent mob moved towards their location.  For everyone’s safety, CBP agents quickly moved the suspect to a safer location for further questioning.”

The video, however, seems to show only a few nonviolent individuals advancing towards the agents. There also does not appear to be any verbal comments from the agents.

Agents have also been attacking nonviolent protesters. Navy veteran Christopher David was beaten with a baton and sprayed with a chemical irritant on July 19, all because he questioned their loyalty to their oath to defend the Constitution. The incident left David with two broken bones in his right hand.

After kicking away a tear gas canister rolling toward him, which didn’t land anywhere near law enforcement, federal troops shot at unarmed protester Donovan LaBella with impact munitions. He was sent to the hospital in serious condition with a skull fracture.

WARNING: The below video contains graphic content and visible blood. Viewer discretion is advised.

Rubber bullets and other forms of crowd control munitions have already caused a fair share of severe injuries to protesters. The use of less-lethal munitions and seemingly increased use of force by these federal agents is now also contributing to controversy around the situation.

With the aggressive tactics they’re using, the line between trying to establish peace and establish martial law is becoming disconcertingly blurred.

Another controversy comes as a result of a leaked DHS memo that notes,

“The highly skilled tactical teams assigned to support the civil unrest and riots do not specifically have training in riot control and mass demonstrations.”

While this does not discount the fact these operatives are trained in general, the fact they do not specifically have riot control training is a cause of concern to many.

A DHS spokesperson has refuted this claim, saying “the reported information is incorrect.”

Many parties are now taking action against federal agencies for these incidents. Multiple Democratic House Committee chairs including from the House Judiciary, Homeland Security, Oversight, and Reform committees are calling for an independent watchdog investigation into federal agent activities.

Democratic representatives are also calling for an independent investigation, and the ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the DHS and the US Marshals Service.

Not asked for and not wanted by many

Multiple elected officials from the local-to-federal level are criticizing the presence of these federal agents. Portland officials including Mayor Ted Wheeler, Governor Kate Brown, and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty have condemned the troops for getting involved in the tumultuous situation.

Some federal officials have also contributed their voices including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who cited the incident in Lafayette Square where federal agents dispersed peaceful protesters with tear gas so Trump could have a photo-op.

Some described the event as having displayed an excessive use of force, much like the events in Portland seem to demonstrate.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has also made chilling comparisons between the federal agents in Portland to the Gestapo, the Nazi’s secret police during World War II.

Others have claimed that the way federal agents are arresting people without informing them of their crimes, as well as using force on peaceful protesters is a violation of their constitutional rights. Representative Suzanne Bonaminci (D-OR) said,

“The overly aggressive conduct of federal officers in Portland is alarming and unconstitutional. Oregonians must be able to exercise their First Amendment rights safely, without being picked up and detained by unidentified federal officers.”

Wheeler has also come under fire however for his management of the crisis by both Hardesty and federal government officials. 

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf criticized state and local officials in Portland in a statement on July 16.

“The city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city…A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice – to attack it is to attack America. Instead of addressing violent criminals in their communities, local and state leaders are instead focusing on placing blame on law enforcement.”

The statement then goes on to list a multitude of incidents related to the destruction of federal property and attacks on agents.

Many members of the federal government including President Trump and Wolf claim the presence of the federal agents is in order to help the city and stop the violence.

But since their arrival, the situation appears to have only escalated.

Even before the intervention of federal officers, however, there have been cases of protests descending into violence in the city.

These include protesters tearing down barricades or hurling frozen water bottles, stones, and other forms of debris at law enforcement. Additionally, people have also injured police with fireworks intended to be aimed at federal property.

While Wolf’s statement about Portland being under siege by a “violent mob” is a broad generalization of the situation, the city’s protests are not entirely without a criminal presence. There is a key difference between peacefully protesting and hurling debris at law enforcement or vandalizing federal property.

There is also a key difference between federal agents snatching up peaceful protesters who they only suspect of being criminals, and arresting actually-confirmed criminals.

The presence of federal law enforcement has certainly escalated the situation in Portland. Yet it is also important to consider there have been cases of violence and some rioting in the city even before their arrival.

Parties on both sides have contributed to escalating the violent situation. Without coming together as a community to create a peaceful dialogue and build bridges between people, law enforcement, and even the federal government, the tensions and violence may only burn brighter.

A test for what’s to come?

President Trump doesn’t just have his eyes on Portland, Oregon. He’s also reportedly setting his eyes on other cities run by Democratic-elected officials.

“We’re not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore and all of these, Oakland is a mess. We’re not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats,” said Trump.

Reports are already circulating that Trump is planning to send federal agents to Chicago. Though it is uncertain if they will be there to deal with protesters or the city’s high gang violence and crime rate.

According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, the plan has already been met with backlash from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Governor J.B. Pritzker, and the ACLU.

It seems Portland is just the beginning of something bigger. If similar events continue, who knows what dire ramifications they may have on our country.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art has issues with whiteness?

Many might think that an African art exhibition would be one of the last places racism would exist.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with the Smithsonian Institute, a group of the US’ most prominent and important museums in DC.

Concerned employees published an unsigned open letter via Twitter to call out issues related to the Smithsonian’s racism, and to create a call for change.

The Smithsonian isn’t the first place getting called out for racist practices. What makes this situation ironic and especially troubling though is that there’s a lack of Black representation…in an art exhibit devoted to Black culture.

Let’s dive into this revealing open letter and this case of the Smithsonian’s racism.

There are no Black curators…in a museum about Black art?


One would think that an entire museum devoted to Black art would have a diverse group of art curators on their staff. According to these former employees’ open letter, however…

“There are no Black curators in a museum solely dedicated to the arts and culture of Africa. For over 10 years, NMAfA’s curatorial team has been exclusively White despite demonstrated interest amongst Black arts professionals and scholars in joining the institution.”

This isn’t just a matter of white people just “happening” to be more qualified for the position somehow, not when they make up the entirety of the museum’s curators.

There’s a deeper undercurrent of racism here. What makes it even more of an affront to Black culture is that it’s all happening in a museum focused on the culture.


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Online Exhibition: Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and Indian Ocean Ongoing Exhibition Sailors and Daughters reveals the expansive maritime societies of Zanzibar, the east African coast, and beyond. From the 1840s, cameras traced the international migrations of traders, sailors, sons, and daughters through Indian Ocean ports, continuing trade that dates back over five millennia. East African cities flourished as hubs of both land and sea trade routes, which extended to the central African interior, Horn of Africa, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean islands, western India and the Far East. The region’s intercultural ethos generated a multitude of encounters between subjects, photographers, and the global audiences who viewed the resulting images. By gathering images from scarce and little-known collections of early photographs, lithographs, postcards, and private albums, this exhibition focuses attention on a diverse cross-section of the region’s people and their cosmopolitan cities by the sea. It serves as a starting point for a larger photographic and creative visual history of the prosperous and diverse communities of the Indian Ocean world. #AfricanArtInspires #NMAFA #Smithsonian #OnlineExhibition

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Complaints of racism and mismanagement are abound


The open letter doesn’t just cite a lack of Black curators for the museum. It also mentions disparities in the museum’s workforce, as well as institutional policies that discriminate against people of color.

“Persistent racial disparities at NMAfA are apparent in the application of institutional policies. On several occasions, managers at NMAfA have attempted to promote White employees into vacant roles, while disregarding the institutional policy regarding a competitive application process.”

In 2020, there are only five full-time Black employees that comprise the museum’s staff of over 40 people. This discrimination doesn’t just stop at the hiring process.

The letter also describes examples of the termination of Black employees, seemingly without good reason. It also shows a disparity in the support systems for white workers as opposed to people of color.

“From 2019 to 2020, two senior Black employees in key roles were suddenly dismissed without any evidence of under-performance or unethical behavior; however, white employees at NMAfA with sub-par performance have previously been offered special counseling, expanded job opportunities, or redeployment to new positions.”

Despite being a museum dedicated to Black culture, it seems the place hypocritically enough is not the most inclusive towards its Black employees.

“In the past five years, over ten former and current Black employees have reported or experienced incidents of racial bias, hostile verbal attacks, retaliation, terminations, microaggressions, and degrading comments.”

These offenses taking place in a space for Black art and culture makes them even more severe.

The letter raises issues in particular against the National Museum of African Art’s Lead Curator and Deputy Director Christine Mullen Kreamer. 

Kreamer has had multiple complaints filed against her, and the open letter cites these including “abuse of hiring and promotion authority… and her consistent bullying and hostility directed towards Black colleagues.”

These complaints and issues surrounding the culture of racism in the National Museum of Art have been previously ignored by the Smithsonian’s leadership. The concerned employees who penned the letter even criticized the former director for the NMAfA, Gus Casely-Hayford, in a tweet.

What’s really good with the Smithsonian Institute?

What’s even more baffling is that there’s evidence that the Smithsonian can do better. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is a prime example of the diversity museums can have, as well as how they can properly respect Black culture.

The museum’s curators for example include Michelle Wilkinson, Spencer Crew, Dwandalyn Reese, and many other people of color as staff. The National Museum of African American History and Culture has been open since 2016 and is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution. 

The National Museum of African Art however has been a member of the Smithsonian however since 1979, and it was significant in being the first museum in the US to adopt a focus on modern African art.

This makes it a wonder in promoting diversity in the world of African art. So with all the time it’s been around, why can’t it have diversity in its workforce?

Fortunately, these complaints about a lack of diversity and inclusion in the museum may soon be addressed.

The Smithsonian’s secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III recently announced he will be looking into the claims brought up by the former employees in their open letter.

This is a huge step in addressing the lack of diversity in the National Museum of African Art, and hopefully, it can set a good example for other members of the Smithsonian Institute for the future.

PJ Harper

Artist PJ Harper’s extraordinary sculptures truly show off Black beauty

When it comes to showcasing Black beauty, sculptor and artist PJ Harper is a master.

The artist also known as Pig.Malion on Instagram creates beautiful sculptures showing off a diverse range of appearances. From busts to full-bodied, Harper’s sculptures possess a unique style and a life-like quality to them that makes them feel truly authentic.

The artist’s sculptures take influences from a variety of sources. His Black Beauty Queens series for example draws inspiration from a variety of hairstyles both natural and styled, primarily from the 1990s.

Like much of his art, the series is meant to show appreciation for Black beauty and culture.

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Can’t wait to finally show all these gals together #wip #notlongnow

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Harper’s works are unique in that they showcase a diverse sense of style even within the context of Black beauty. Everything from skin tones, to hairstyles, and even his sculptures’ general shapes are varied and distinct, just like real people.

The colors in these sculptures also stand out and make each one visually striking. Some sculptures also draw inspiration from Harper’s own family, such as this beautiful artwork here:

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My beautiful mama back in the 90’s ✨ #art #sculpture

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As a sculptor creating these amazing works of Black individuals, Harper enriches the art community with diversity. His sculptures not only show the diversity of beauty within the Black community itself but also within people in general.

Beauty comes in many forms, and PJ Harper’s art certainly shows that.

At times, the art world has had struggles with incorporating diversity. Besides Harper’s art, new resources and opportunities are rising up and giving people from underrepresented communities a chance to show off their creativity and have their voices heard.

These advancements will do more than bring new voices to the art community. They’ll help improve the art world as a whole.

For more of PJ Harper’s incredible work, visit his Instagram or his online shop.

Everything you should know about China’s new national security law

On June 30, the Hong Kong anti-protest law passed in China. The national security law makes any expressions of secession, terrorism, subversion, or collusion with foreign or external forces punishable offenses. 

After a year of protests in the region, following the proposal of a now-aborted bill that would allow China to extradite criminal cases from Hong Kong, this new policy has sparked the fires of protest once more.

Hong Kong’s government wants stability, protesters want change, and international governments have already criticized this controversial policy.

With this new national security law, Hong Kong has once again become an epicenter of political and cultural strife.

History and workings of the national security law

As mentioned previously, Hong Kong’s national security law makes any expression of secession, terrorism, subversion, or collusion with foreign or external forces as criminal acts.

Many protesters in Hong Kong and around the world are criticizing the law for its broad definitions of what it considers to be illegal. According to the law’s full text translated by the South China Morning Post, one instance of these broad definitions is in Article 29.

This states the act of “provoking by unlawful means hatred among Hong Kong residents towards the Central People’s Government or the Government of the Region, which is likely to cause serious consequences” is considered a punishable offence.

Yet the definition of what constitutes “hatred” towards the government is not exactly specified here.

Furthermore, breaking the law can result in imprisonment of up to a lifetime sentence.

The national security law is also unique in that it doesn’t just apply to residents of Hong Kong. Article 38 states:

“This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.”

This means anyone, whether they live in Hong Kong, the United States, or anywhere else in the world, is technically able to be punished by this law. This broad reach the law possesses has also been a point of criticism.

The new national security law, from its conception to its execution, is an unprecedented instance of mainland China exerting control over Hong Kong’s affairs.

The law was passed by China’s highest legislative body, the National People’s Congress (or NPC), which bypasses Hong Kong’s own elected legislative branch. The national security law also allows for security personnel from China to freely operate in the region, which many critics say will endanger people’s freedom in Hong Kong.

Reignited criticism and protests in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is already dealing with protests that have persisted since last year. Protests that gained worldwide recognition, ever since the introduction of a now-aborted bill that would allow China to extradite criminals from Hong Kong to Beijing’s government.

The new national security law, however, seems to be just a different version of that policy but with many more stipulations, severe punishments, and widespread implications.

Hong Kong protesters, pro-democracy supporters, and even people from abroad, have cited that the law could endanger people’s desires for autonomy in Hong Kong. Not only that, but it could also potentially threaten their freedom of speech as a whole.

For example, the law has a heavy impact on the literature world alone. Bookstores and libraries are already removing books published by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

The policy also affects the entire book publication pipeline. It’s harder for authors to find publishers, publishers can’t find printing houses to create books, and printing houses are having difficulty sourcing distributors to release those texts to the public.

Many establishments are now erasing what are called Lennon Walls, or walls of post-it notes. When protests in Hong Kong started last year, many people used these as a way to express themselves. Now where once stood tiny pieces of paper with a variety of messages on them, now there are only blank sheets.


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Hong Kong’s cafés have been replacing pro-democracy Post-it notes with blank ones. They have to, or risk being on the wrong side of Hong Kong’s new national-security law. ⁠ ⁠ From the appointment of a party commissar to work with the chief executive, to the pulling of politically sensitive books from library shelves, Hong Kong is already a changed city.⁠ ⁠ Censorship is spreading. A new Office for Safeguarding National Security has sweeping powers to investigate and detain people for crimes covered by the new law: subversion, sedition, secession and collusion with foreign countries.⁠ ⁠ Already Carrie Lam has begun picking judges to try national-security cases. ⁠ ⁠ The first case involving the new law relates to Tong Ying-kit, who is accused of separatism and terrorism for allegedly riding a motorcycle on July 1st towards a group of policemen while flying a flag reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”.⁠ ⁠ Residents have long feared that Hong Kong might turn into just another Chinese city. Now that is happening, fast. Click the link in our bio to read how China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong. ⁠ ⁠ Credit: New York Times/Redux/eyevine⁠ ⁠

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Even though the law has only been passed recently, it’s already had a massive impact on the Hong Kong public. In the aftermath of an unofficial primary held for pro-democratic candidates, which attracted over 600,000 voters both in-person and digitally, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam claimed this activity is potentially violating the national security law.

This means over 600,000 people could potentially be punished with imprisonment or other penalties according to the policy.

Many critics of the law also say it will impact the upcoming election process in Hong Kong, since candidates who have been proven guilty of violating the national security law will be unable to run for office. As a result, they believe it will reduce their chances at fighting for their freedom.

The Hong Kong government’s response

The government of Hong Kong has continually defended the law, claiming it will in fact protect people’s freedom of speech and bring stability.

“I am confident that after the implementation of the national security law, the social unrest which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year will be eased and stability will be restored,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said, “thereby enabling Hong Kong to start anew, focus on economic development and improve people’s livelihood.”

Lam has also cited that “for the past 23 years, the HKSAR government has failed to have a deep understanding of ‘one country, two systems’ in order to handle it well.” However, many protesters and pro-democracy advocates also say the new national security law actually infringes on this policy.

One key aspect of the law that has caused controversy is the influence Beijing’s government will have in Hong Kong. The law will create a new governing body known as the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

This committee will be headed by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, consist of several higher-up government figures, led by a Secretary General appointed by the Chief Executive, and have a National Security Advisor from China’s central government.

Hong Kong’s current Chief Executive Carrie Lam is already a strong supporter of Beijing, and the inclusion of an advisor from there strengthens these connections. Another key aspect of the law that many find disturbing is the lack of transparency from the Committee and its legal affairs. Article 14 of the national security law states:

“No institution, organisation or individual in the Region shall interfere with the work of the Committee. Information relating to the work of the Committee shall not be subject to disclosure. Decisions made by the Committee shall not be amenable to judicial review.”

The national security law’s broad applications and reach has not only drawn ire locally. Multiple international countries have also spoken out against the policy.

International implications

In the wake of Hong Kong’s national security law, multiple countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are speaking out against what they believe to be the limits the law puts on free expression.

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has also expressed its concerns about the law and people’s right to freely express themselves.

Besides speaking out, members of the international community are taking their own measures against the new national security law.

The UK and Australia are offering residency to Hong Kong citizens, which has drawn immense backlash from China. President Trump also recently passed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which ends Hong Kong’s special trade status.

Just like last year, Hong Kong is becoming a hotbed of protests and controversy, now due to this new national security law.

Yet this policy deals with more than extraditing criminal cases. This new law has already raised concerns about free speech in Hong Kong, and as it continues, the international implications could be truly devastating. 

Karening a wrap? The CAREN ACT makes it harder to weaponize racism

Karening in San Francisco may soon come to an end.

This past week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Shamann Walton proposed the new “CAREN Act,” or the ‘Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act.’ And it has a similar aim to an amendment to act AB 1550 California Assemblyman Rob Bonta proposed this past month.

These policies are part of a new initiative within California’s state government to stop discriminatory 911 calls from being weaponized against people of color aka “Karening.”

What these policies do to Karening

The CAREN Act, which doesn’t just target Karens but anyone who makes a discriminatory 911 call, is similar to another part of California law known as act AB 1550.

This act has been in effect since last year, but it was recently amended in June to account for discriminatory 911 calls based on race, gender, appearance, or any other protected class.

Prior to the amendment, one major flaw was that AB 1550 only punished people who filed false police reports. What it didn’t do, however, was hold them accountable for making calls based on discriminatory reasons.

This new change to AB 1550, in addition to the newly-proposed CAREN Act, is meant to hold these people accountable and punish them for this discrimination.

Not only that, it also allows for these false 911 calls to be treated as a hate crime punishable by a felony or misdemeanor. Essentially, it’s turning Karens’ most often-used weapon right back at them.

According to the California Legislative Information website, AB 1550 makes false police reports in California punishable by up to a year in jail. Not only that, people harmed by these fraudulent calls to sue for damages up to $1000. If a false call contributes to any severe damage or harm against someone, they can then sue for up to $10,000.

Of course, Karens have to complain

Even with benign acts like the CAREN Act, AB 1550, or other similar policies, some people are critical about these laws. One prominent criticism is that supposedly people won’t be able to call 911 without being legally punished if a criminal happens to be a person of color.


The point of laws like these is to protect people of color targeted by false or non-emergency-related calls. They are by no means meant to make legitimate 911 calls punishable in any way. 

A press release from the office of Rob Bonta, who proposed the recent amendment to AB 1550, says:

“The intent of AB 1550 is not to discourage individuals who are facing real danger or who seek to report a crime in good faith from calling 911.”  

“Instead, this bill could protect millions of Californians from becoming targets of hate and prevent the weaponization of our law enforcement against communities of color.”

What makes Karening discriminatory and false as opposed to genuine should seemingly be a matter of common sense, but many on social media don’t always seem to know the difference.

Yep, definitely can’t tell the difference…

Oh no, it was only a matter of time before we got a Karen here:

The CAREN Act, AB 1550, and similar policies aren’t meant to take away the significance of reporting criminal acts whatsoever. In fact, they’re meant to improve people’s protection by ensuring not only that people of color aren’t adversely targeted by law enforcement, but also so law enforcement are using their resources to deal with legitimate and actually important crimes.

California isn’t alone in this

California isn’t the only place to have laws like AB 1550 or proposals such as the CAREN Act. Other states such as New York, Oregon, and Michigan have either introduced or passed similar policies in their state legislatures. 

Not only that, but these do have real legal impact. One woman who called the police on a man in New York’s Central Park in an incident which has gone viral, all because he asked her to leash her dog per park policy, is now facing charges for the fake 911 call.

The measures various states are taking to hold people accountable for making discriminatory 911 calls are big steps in many communities.

Even if they are taking effect at just the local or state level, these laws are great safeguards for people of color. Hopefully similar measures will eventually cover every state in America, so watch out, Karens. Your days are numbered.

Getty Images’ new inclusion scholarships promote diversity in creativity

Getty Images is doing its part to bring more diversity to the the visual media industry, with its inaugural 2020 Inclusion Scholarships.

While many companies in the US have made statements about creating a more diverse environment, unfortunately not all of them have exactly made good on those promises.


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Today we are announcing the recipients of our inaugural Inclusion Scholarships. The scholarships were launched in March with the aim of supporting emerging editorial talent within minority groups, offering aspiring photojournalists the creative means and solutions to pursue education that will enable careers within the industry. @gettyimages partnered with specialist organizations @womenphotograph, @_creativeaccess, @nabjofficial, @aajaofficial and @officialnahj to award five scholarship grants of $10k each. Please join us in congratulating Michael Blackshire, Pamela Elizarraras Acitores, Haiyun Jiang, Tami Aftab and Abigail Holsborough. Click on Link In Bio to read the full press release.

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The visual communications giant announced the recipients of its inaugural 2020 Inclusion Scholarships this past Thursday.

Five fortunate individuals each received $10,000 in scholarship money to help in their next project or to go towards their education in the creative field they’re pursuing.

This exciting new scholarship program was the result of a massive partnership between Getty Images and organizations such as Women Photograph, Creative Access, National Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Getty Images’ Inclusion Scholarships were launched for the first time ever in March with the goal of enabling emerging creators to pursue their dream education or project. 

The recipients of this scholarship all come from a diverse array of backgrounds, and it’s exciting to see how their efforts will shape the media industry.

The recipients of the 2020 Inclusion Scholarships are:

Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship – National Association of Black Journalists

Michael Blackshire: From Louisville, Kentucky. Michael is a recent graduate from Western Kentucky University with a double-major in Photojournalism and African American Studies. He is planning on studying at Newhouse School, Syracuse University in September.


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The greatest rapper of all time Andre 3000 and the nicest Atlien you’ll ever meet. Favorite 3000 verse: “Twice upon a time there was a boy who died. And lived happily ever after, but that’s another chapter. Live from, home of the brave with dirty dollars. And beauty parlors and baby ballers and bowling ball impalas. And street scholars that’s majoring in culinary art. You know, how to work bread, cheese, and dough. From scratch, but the catch is you can get caught. Know what your selling, what you bought. So cut that big talk. Let’s walk to the bridge. Meet me halfway. Now you may see some children dead off in the pathway. It’s them poor babies walking slowly to the candy lady. It’s looking bad. Need some hope like the word ”maybe’, ‘if’, or ‘probably’. More than a hobby when my turntables get wobbly they don’t fall. I’m sorry y’all. I often drift. I’m talking gift. So when it comes you never look the horse inside it’s grill. Of course I feel like the bearer of bad news. Don’t want to be it but it’s needed. So what have you ? Now question. Is every Negus with dreads for the cause ? Is every Negus with golds for the fall ? Naw. So don’t get caught up in appearance. It’s Outkast’s Aquemini, another black experience. #outkast #andre3000 #andrebenjamin #sorrymsjackson #msjackson #aquemini #atlien #twodopeboyzinacadillac #jazzybelle #chonkyfire #complexcon2017 #complexcon #returnoftheg #stankonia #southernplayalisticadillacmuzik #daartofstorytellin #sofreshsoclean #shelivesinmylap #playersball #gitupgetout #thelovebelow #heyya #takeoffyourcool #classof3000 #idlewild #foreverever #skewitonthebarb #elevatorsmeandyou #hootiehoo #complex

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Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship – National Association of Hispanic Journalists

Pamela Elizarraras Acitores: a recent graduate from the Parsons School of Design in New York, with a major in Product Design, Pamela will be pursuing a Master’s in Photography with a focus on mixed media.

Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship – Asian American Journalists Association

Haiyun Jiang: based in Ohio, Haiyun will be pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Scripps College and School of Visual Communication at Ohio University. 


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Before the storm. #brooklyn #newyork #storm

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Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship – Women Photograph

  • Tami Aftab: London born and based photographer, Tami is currently pursuing a BA in Photography at London College of Communications.


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Turmeric and Chilli

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Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship – Creative Access

Abigail Holsborough: based in London, Abigail is pursuing a BA in Fine Art Print and Time-Based Media at Wimbledon College of Art.

These scholarships are a great step in the right direction for giving these creatives a greater voice in the industry.

As more organizations besides Getty Images create opportunities and resources for creators from underrepresented communities, it will be exciting to see how these creators enrich the creative world.

Why foreign college students are worried about their US education

Foreign college students in the US are worried right now, and for good reason.

As if the COVID-19 crisis in the states couldn’t get any worse, now international students are facing the possibility of being deported.

And for those who have already returned home, they may not be allowed back into the country. This frightening reality comes into play as a result of recent changes the Trump Administration made to student visas in the past few days.

These new changes won’t just devastate the livelihoods of international students. They will also negatively impact universities and create a logistical nightmare for many people to deal with.

Here’s how ICE’s changes could harshly impact students and universities alike, and what some institutions are doing to combat it.

Foreign college students are worried

For many students, their college experience is a key part of their life, and this arguably is especially the case with those coming from abroad.

Leaving one’s home country to spend an extended period of time abroad is a big adjustment to get used to, especially if one is studying there for four years, or more if they’re getting a graduate education.

Despite the adjustment, it’s usually an experience many look forward to. It’s a chance to explore a new place and culture, a chance to learn and connect with others, a chance to enrich one’s own life.

This has all been upended by the COVID-19 crisis, and the new changes to international student visas are only making things worse.


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I was recently given the space in a class to speak about what is happening with SEVP and ICE. I was encouraged to turn that speech into an open letter that that is what I did. You can read the full letter through the link in my bio, but these are some key quotes I wanted to pull from the entire post. I am aware that this is one side of a very complicated story, one that is unique to every international student. However, often we do not have the chance to speak about these experiences as a result of many factors. Especially to my American friends, if you’ve never had this discussion with your international friends I encourage you to give this a read. Thank you. #protectinternationalstudents #sevpupdate #openletter @intlbruins @ucla_isr @uclapresident @ucla.evp

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International students already face troubles in university such as worrying about the cost of their education, their immigration status, and life after graduation, all in addition to everything else most university students juggle.

Many international students have expressed their concern via social media over the de facto travel ban that is essentially in place for them.

Without international students, the US will be deprived of individuals who bring their skills and experiences to this country. To some, the university they study at is practically their permanent residence, and they visit their home country typically just over winter and summer breaks.

The changes ICE made for international student visa holders is doing more than just depriving them of their education. For some, it’s depriving them of a home.


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I had a pit in my stomach all day today and was holding back tears after reading so many articles online. As a fellow international living the the U.S., I am used to working hard to earn my place here, despite the odds being against me. I cannot begin to imagine what it would feel like to be forced to leave the U.S. without the degree you have invested so much time, energy and money into pursuing. This new ruling by ICE is DISTURBING, and I highly encourage you all to read through the articles in my story to find out why. The new rulings of the Trump administration towards hardworking internationals are not helping the American people like they claim it is. Please read why, and if you are American, PLEASE GO VOTE. Vote for people (like me) who don’t get a say in what happens to them in this country.🌟 #ProtectInternationalStudents . . A little heavy for #10daysofcreativity but it needed to be said❤️

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How these new changes work

The changes ICE plans to make for international students are related to their visas and temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The US grants these students either an F-1 visa or an M-1 visa. An F-1 visa is given to those who are attending any academic institution, seminary, conservatory, or language program. Most international students have this type of visa. M-1 visas meanwhile are given to those typically in vocational or technical schools.

These changes for visa holders include:

Students with F-1 and M-1 visas will not be allowed re-entry into the US if they’re taking a full course load that is entirely online.

These students also cannot remain in the country, or they may face immigration consequences that even include being deported. These students can remain in the country if they enter a program that has at least some in-person instruction.

F-1 students who are in courses that are all in-person can stay in the country and are bound by existing federal regulations. However, they can only take a maximum one course or three credit hours of online courses.

Students who enrolled in programs that use a hybrid of in-person and online teaching can also stay in the country as well as take more than one online course.

Their institutions must also fill out the Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.”

This doesn’t apply to F-1 students in language training programs or M-1 students, as M-1 visa holders are prohibited from taking online courses.

These policies can be found in full on the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s website.

With most institutions transitioning into online teaching to keep students safe from the pandemic, an immense amount of international students are at risk.

The most cruel part of all this: students are forced to choose between potentially exposing themselves to coronavirus through in-person courses or to sacrifice their education and leave the country.

The impact of Trump’s policies on students and universities>

Not only will the Trump administration’s policies impact the lives of countless students, but it will also create logistical nightmares for them and the universities. 

Students would have to adapt to doing coursework scheduled around US timezones, all while in their own country’s respective timezone. For students from Europe, that can mean they’re up to 5-8 hours ahead of some US timezones. As for those in Asia and Australia, they’re typically at least 12 hours ahead, if not more. 

One also needs to consider factors such as access to the internet and technology. Unfortunately, not everyone around the world has readily available access to these.

Some students may even be taking courses in the US which they normally can’t learn in their home country. This would make learning their coursework online and abroad even more difficult. 

International students are also vital parts of university student populations. They generally make up a decent portion of many universities’ enrollments. Some institutions can have up to 30-40 percent of their student population be international students.

Universities have already suffered immensely due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is likely admissions in the coming semesters will be down because of it. Depriving institutions of such a large population of students will likely be another devastating blow to them.

Not just in regards to funding, but also in terms of their diversity and community. International individuals in general also play a key role in this country’s economy.

International students are so much more than just a statistic or economic benefit for universities or even this country. They also bring their diverse background and experiences to their institutions. As they seek to learn here, we can also learn from them about their global perspectives.

In this time where many are divided, it’s essential that we reach out to those who can share their range of experiences with us. Connecting with others and their cultures does more than just foster better communication. It better informs people’s global perspectives as a whole.

Universities are not happy

In the wake of ICE’s new policies, many universities are rising up in defense of their students. Most significantly, Harvard and MIT filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for these new changes. 

Not only that, but institutions around the country are helping out in this effort by filing amicus curiae briefs. These are documents filed by parties not involved in the lawsuit that help to provide insight and expertise. In this case, it’s these universities’ way of making their voices heard and supporting their international students. 

With these new changes announced by the Trump administration, international students are having their education, their livelihood, and in some cases, even their homes threatened to be ripped away from them.

A country providing a visa for someone to study there is arguably a commitment. It’s an unspoken agreement that not only will the student diligently pursue their education there to the best of their ability, but that the country will also accommodate them and their efforts to do so. 

These changes to student visa-holders break that agreement, and it threatens to destroy much of what these people hold dear.

If you are an international student or want to help them remain in the US, here are some resources and petitions to view:

Why the WNBA doesn’t support white privileged Kelly Loeffler

When it comes to social justice, the WNBA is certainly among the champions of the effort.

Players such as Maya Moore and Natasha Cloud have been prominent figures in the fight for change, especially in the case of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not only that, but the league itself is an extremely diverse community that prides itself on equality and using its platform for good.

So when a partial owner of one of the WNBA’s teams criticized the league for supporting #BLM, there was going to be backlash from players and fans alike.

Senator and Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) did just that.

A message from Loeffler

On Tuesday, Loeffler expressed her opposition to the efforts the WNBA is taking to support the Black Lives Matter movement. In a letter obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, she recently wrote to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert:

“The lives of each and every African American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country,” said Loeffler.

“However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.”

Loeffler’s point about diversity and inclusion is especially ironic here, however, considering how she wants to draw attention away from the fact that Black people are dying in the US at the hands of police brutality.

Not only that, but she politicizes the movement that is fighting against these tragedies. What’s so political about people dying?

The senator and co-owner did not stop there. She also proposed adding the American flag to the player’s attire and fan merchandise.

“Though I was not consulted about—nor do I agree with the League’s decision in this matter, I am proposing a common-sense recommendation to ensure we reflect the values of freedom and equality for all,” Loeffler said. “I believe we should put an American flag on every jersey. Include it in our licensed apparel for players, coaches and fans.”

The rhetoric she uses here appears to strongly echo with that of “All Lives Matter” supporters. Despite the seemingly-benevolent slogan, it’s generally used as a way to divert attention and care away from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Freedom for all?

Well, the systems in place in this country aren’t targeting white people the way they are BIPOC communities.

“All of us have a constitutional right to hold and to express our views. But to subscribe to a particular political agenda undermines the potential of the sport and sends a message of exclusion,” said Loeffler. “The truth is, we need less—not more politics in sports.”

For someone against bringing “politics” into sports, it certainly appears that Loeffler is stirring up politically-related controversy in the WNBA. Especially when she, being a senator, refers to protestors and their establishment of autonomous zones in some areas of the country as “mob rule.”

Soon after Loeffler’s message, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert released the following statement saying:

“The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team.”

Loeffler’s insider trading controversy

For one who claims to be against merging politics into other fields, Kelly Loeffler has actually been previously accused of using her political position for private gain. In fact, she was previously investigated for insider trading earlier this year. 

As a member of the Senate Health Committee, Loeffler was accused of using her access to information about the coronavirus which was new at the time to determine how to invest her money.

Specifically, she allegedly sold millions-worth of stocks shortly after a private, all-senators briefing on the coronavirus in January. This also happened to coincide with the approximate time the pandemic began to negatively impact the US economy.

She was also further scrutinized considering her husband Jerry Sprecher is the CEO of the International Stock Exchange, which also owns the New York Stock Exchange.

Loeffler and spokespeople on her behalf have continually denied these allegations.

After an investigation that lasted several months, the Senate Ethics Committee and the US Department of Justice dropped the insider trading investigation against her, and other Senators including Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last month.

The WNBA and its fight for social justice

Despite the criticism from Kelly Loeffler, the WNBA and its players are still committed to fighting for social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Some players such as Maya Moore and Natasha Cloud even sacrificed their careers to focus on social justice issues.

Some of the efforts the WNBA is taking in solidarity with the movement include displaying the “Black Lives Matter” slogan on courts, such as the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The warm-up shirts for players will also feature the same slogan, as well as “Say Her Name,” which is a reference to Breonna Taylor. They will also have jerseys which specifically honor her. 

These and the other initiatives the league is taking are immensely positive steps in honoring victims of police brutality such as Sandra Bland, Vanessa Guillen, and Breonna Taylor.

The efforts of the WNBA and its players’ social justice efforts show just how powerful they are in the fight for positive change. These are great leaps not just for the sports world itself, but the Black Lives Matter movement as a whole.


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A strong voice bringing about meaningful change @mooremaya 👏

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Here’s how YouTuber Jim Browning cons the con-artists

We’ve all seen them at some point on the internet, those annoying notifications that pop up on your screen.

No, this isn’t about trolls or fake news. This is about those irritating internet scams claiming your computer is infected with a vicious virus, or that you’ve just won a few thousand dollars.

Where most people just ignore them, some unfortunately fall prey to them. However, YouTuber Jim Browning goes above and beyond to not only try to warn people about these internet scams, but also to dismantle them completely.

Here’s how Jim Browning has become the scourge of scammers everywhere.

Turning the tables on scammers

Much of Browning’s content on YouTube involves exposing and even undoing the work of scammers all over the world. By remotely monitoring scammers, Browning catches them in the act all in real-time.

Through the use of software such as a virtual machine, which is meant to imitate a real computer, Browning connects with scammers in a safe way that allows him to monitor and turn the tables against them.

This is because a correctly-made virtual machine can make it so scammers can’t detect it’s not an actual computer. It also prevents them from stealing any genuine information.

Some of the most dangerous types of scams the YouTuber goes up against are forms of refund scams, but these offer anything but a refund.

The only thing victims get from these is their information stolen and their livelihoods threatened, as scammers siphon and launder money from their bank accounts.

Tech support scams are another deadly type of scheme in that scammers can steal your bank account information, your identity, and even upload terrible viruses to your computer.

These scams are just a fraction of efforts Browning has foiled. With the access he obtains into scammer’s operations, he not only warns potential victims, but he also foils the scammers themselves.

Where they’d normally steal a victim’s personal information, Browning instead tracks them down online through their IP address, reveals their information, and catches them red-handed. The results he shows in his videos are truly satisfying to watch.

How to steer clear

While most people, especially those of younger generations, are wiser to internet and phone scams, not everyone is as tech-savvy. Many scammers prey on older individuals, since most may not necessarily know it’s a fraud. This makes them especially vulnerable targets.

One way scammers gain access into a person’s computer is through remote desktop control software such as TeamViewer or Supremo. These programs are typically used collaboratively, or to help others with their computer from a distance.

By allowing someone else to control your computer wirelessly, scammers use this as a way to steal people’s personal information and manipulate their user interface.

Despite the developers having clauses in their software licensing agreements that strictly prohibit using their program for fraud or malicious uses, that unfortunately doesn’t stop scammers from doing it.

If you need to use these softwares for whatever reason, make sure you’re using them with someone you trust.

Knowing how these scams work is also a good defense tip on making sure people don’t fall for their tricks. Most if not all of Browning’s videos help educate viewers on how these various types of scams work.

What to do if you’re stuck in a scam

Should you find yourself suspicious of a scam, hang up the call or stop corresponding with them completely. If they have access into your computer, turn it off completely, as that will cut them off from your machine. 

Most importantly, if they’ve seen anything related to your bank account, which many scammers want to know about in order to get your money, contact your bank immediately to make sure your money and accounts are secure.

Your best bet to avoiding scams is to simply ignore any sort of phone call or e-mail that seems suspicious. If you want to have a bit of fun messing around with scammers though, one website known as re:spam uses artificial intelligence to turn the tables on scammers and distract them.

Jim Browning also has a video that mentions this same site, as well as other ways people can get back at scammers.

A real internet hero

Jim Browning’s efforts are certainly valiant, especially when the internet is a prime place for scammers and other cyber-criminals to lurk.

Thanks to his videos, him warning people about these scams, and him foiling these scammers himself, it’s safe to say Browning is almost a cyber-crime-fighter, keeping people safe from the dangers of the digital realm.

In addition to his YouTube channel, Browning also has a Twitter and can be supported on his Patreon.

#FreeBritney: Why Britney Spears’ conservatorship is a prison in disguise

Britney Spears has been trapped in a legal prison in disguise for over a decade, and barely anyone has talked about it.

Until now.

While most people may not pay attention to the early 2000s superstar anymore, that doesn’t mean she’s been suffering from her own struggles any less.

Even longtime fans of hers are still discovering the fact that she’s been under a conservatorship for approximately the past 11 years. This conservatorship does more than limit her personal freedoms.

It strips away her personhood.

Let’s dive into the nature of Britney Spears’ conservatorship, and how her fans are rising up to try and #FreeBritney.

The history

Britney Spears’ conservatorship originally began in 2008, after the singer suffered an unfortunate series of mental breakdowns.

This resulted in events such as her suddenly shaving her head, and even attacking a photographer’s SUV with an umbrella.

Soon after, she was quickly admitted into a mental health ward for recovery. A court-approved conservatorship was then put into effect, with her father Jamie Spears and a lawyer acting as her conservators.


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The late 2000’s was an extremely difficult period for American pop icon Britney Spears. Spears’s aunt Sandra Bridges Covington, with whom she had been very close, died of ovarian cancer in January of 2007. In February, Spears stayed in a drug rehabilitation facility in Antigua for less than a day. The following night, she shaved her head with electric clippers at a hair salon in Tarzana, Los Angeles. She admitted herself to other treatment facilities during the following weeks. In October of 2007, Spears lost physical custody of her children to Kevin Federline. The reasons of the court ruling were not revealed to the public. In January of 2008, Spears refused to relinquish custody of her sons to Federline’s representatives. She was hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after police that had arrived at her house noted she appeared to be under the influence of an unidentified substance. The following day, Spears’s visitation rights were suspended at an emergency court hearing, and Federline was given sole physical and legal custody of the children. She was committed to the psychiatric ward of Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and put on 5150 involuntary psychiatric hold. The court placed her under temporary, and later, permanent conservatorship of her father James Spears and attorney Andrew Wallet, giving them complete control of her assets. She was released five days later. As of January 1st, 2020, the conservatorship remains in place (2007) #2000shistory #history #britneyspears @britneyspears #freebritney #mentalhealthawareness #popicon #britneyjeanspears #historyinpictures #ilovehistory #conservatorship #historygram #historygeek #historybuff #historical

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A conservatorship, also known as guardianship, is a court-approved legal agreement traditionally used with people who are elderly, extensively physically or mentally ill, or cannot take care of themselves.

This places the finances and properties of the individual in the conservatorship (the conservatee) into the hands of a guardian appointed by a judge (conservator).

However, it also takes away many typical human rights and abilities such as the right to vote, to obtain a personal lawyer, and interact socially.

In many conservatorship agreements, this is meant to protect the conservatee and prevent them from potentially endangering others, since the conservatee is typically unable to take care of themselves.

In Spears’ case, however, many of her fans have speculated that her father and lawyer are using her conservatorship agreement to manipulate and restrain her. This contributed to a new fan movement that began in 2009, the #FreeBritney movement.

The call to #FreeBritney

The #FreeBritney movement began in 2009 after fans speculated about Spears’ overall health. That she was being manipulated through her conservatorship.

While Spears projects an image of self-control and empowerment during her concerts and has also made guest television appearances such as being a judge on X-Factor, many are concerned still about the singer being trapped and manipulated.

As a result of her conservatorship, Spears’ personal finances and properties are regulated exclusively by her father and lawyer. Not only that, but each of her purchases (from the smallest Starbucks drink to anything related to her estate) must be recorded on court documents.

Her father and lawyer can also control any access she has with other people. This includes her fans, her personal relationships, and even her own children.

Even escaping the agreement is difficult, as Spears is unable to hire her own personal lawyer to defend herself. If you’re wondering how bad this can be, even convicted criminals are still provided their own lawyers, as it’s a guaranteed right in the Constitution.

As a conservatee, Spears is heavily restricted when it comes to her personal rights. While restricting the activities a conservatee can do is meant to protect them and people they may interact with, Spears appears more than capable of managing herself.

Spears’ fans aren’t the only ones who have called for her freedom. In the past, other celebrities including Miley Cyrus and Rose McGowan have also expressed support for the singer.

Previously being a rather small-scale trend, the #FreeBritney movement has been among the top trending topics on Twitter for the past couple of days. The hashtag sparked back up just after Kanye West announced he is running for President.

While the #FreeBritney movement appears to be fueled in part by speculation, many believe there’s something sinister at work here.

Unfortunately, much of the business around the conservatorship agreement occurs behind closed doors, so fans are left in the dark on the legal side of things.

Despite the noble intentions a conservatorship agreement can have, using it to manipulate a self-sufficient individual makes it into a vile and cruel prison.

Perhaps with the work of many fans, Britney Spears can finally be free from her legally-binding prison.