An Offer To Help Organizations Fighting For Justice

Last week, a white woman in New York City’s Central Park called the police on an African-American man. She had unleashed her dog in an area reserved for bird watching and, when asked by him to comply with the park’s rules, reached for her phone.

“An African-American man is threatening my life,” she told the 911 operator, her voice containing just the right measure of manufactured hysteria.

She knew exactly what buttons she was pressing. Her fabricated and cynical accusation, which exploited a long history of racial injustice, was made with the full awareness that her false claim would likely be believed over his true one.

On that same Monday, 1,200 miles away in Minneapolis, George Floyd – a black man accused of using a forged $20 bill – was suffocated to death by a police officer who rested a knee on the back of his neck for close to nine minutes. Floyd’s name joins a host of other now-familiar names – Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and many others – who died at the hands of police officers.

Since last week:

  • I’ve watched as peaceful protestors, yet again, fight for long-overdue systemic change.
  • I’ve watched as President Trump fuels the flames with authoritarian rhetoric intended to incite further unrest for his electoral benefit.
  • I’ve watched as dozens of journalists have been arrested, shot with rubber bullets, knocked to the ground, or harassed by police, even after identifying themselves as press.
  • I’ve watched as politicians and pundits knowingly blur the line between looters and protestors, a prelude to stifling peaceful dissent.
  • I’ve watched one police officer push down a man walking with a cane, another pull down a protestor’s mask to shoot him in the face with pepper spray, and another kick down a woman already sitting on the ground.

Oscar Jimenez, a CNN correspondent who identifies as black and Latino, was arrested while reporting on live television despite having a press badge and offering to move.

Enough’s enough.

I heard a phrase that stuck with me this week: “Silence is violence.” We, at Throughline, would like to channel our sense of dismay, hopelessness, and anger into something more productive.

So, here’s our offer. If you represent a nonprofit or advocacy group working to peacefully address issues related to racial inequality, social justice, or police brutality – and your role requires you to speak to the press – we’d like to provide you with media spokesperson training, for free.

Please send me an email at, tell me about your organization, and let’s start a conversation. We may provide you with tailored media training, invite you to join a small-group session, and/or send you a free copy of The Media Training Bible. We’ll deliver our training virtually to keep you safe during the pandemic.

We may not be able to take on every group that contacts us – but we do want to make a positive contribution.

In the meantime, be safe.