I thought the event which would define my 2021 was November 3rd, 2020.
Biden/Harris were elected November 3rd, 2020.
Wes Flexner’s 2021 was dictated by the last week in July, 2020.
I attended protests in downtown Columbus during the last week in July 2020 which were in support of Black Lives Matter.
Previously, I was impressed with the Short North’s support of the idea of people shouldn’t be murdered by our police. The streets were covered with murals, and people who weren’t into police killing people.
While in the Short North, I figured out which things friends painted, read messaging, saw women everywhere partying like it was Mardi Gras, and exchanged smiles with black dudes who probably hadn’t felt like this since Obama’s first election.
I tried to determine the logistics of spraypainting these wood panels the city had placed to protect the windows of businesses and give people an outlet for their feelings.
It created a loud message where a vibrant community area was explicitly saying they weren’t down with police killing black people.
A yuppie couple was spraypainting “George Floyd” or something related. I chatted with them for a second, and they gave me a can.
I found a corner to write “Please Vote” as big as I could and returned the can to the lady who was unaware I usually don’t bomb with 5 dollar Montana paint.
I felt really flossy.
I couldn’t afford spray paint so I could paint a piece at that moment.
I was impressed + amused at people caring about things that were fairly marginalized 10 years ago with european paint.
Beautiful women everywhere attempting graffiti which opposed racism in summer attire…I felt like Hip Hop hadn’t seen this besides rap videos.
I’ve liked wealthy attractive women + graffiti and have opposed police killing black people since I first heard of those things
I just wanted for November 3rd to occur within the next hour. It was late July..
I decided I needed to immediately talk to Dave Chappelle or go Downtown.
While I doubt Chappelle would’ve really cared if Belton or Montana was in play, I am sure he would’ve been delighted to see everyone caring about black people being killed by the cops.
This would be funny if so many black people didn’t suffer horrendous deaths from those yr supposed to call if something bad occurs.
I hadn’t ventured downtown because early 5-31-20, it was strongly recommended I avoid downtown.
After recieving several warnings regarding downtown protests…. I looked at the internet…
Rep Joyce Beatty and several City Council members were pepper sprayed shortly after I received these warnings.
I assumed that because I was a previous victim of police brutality, filed a report with internal affairs, and later covered the BLM movement in 2015 for our Free Press… someone didn’t want another incident..
I spent June quietly photographing protestors, handmade signs, + paintings.
I cried in my car at a suburban protest because I couldn’t believe suburbia was riding so hard opposing oppression.
I knew this was real. I knew social revolution had occurred.
Chappelle released 8:46.
I figured after awhile of quietly watching things…I could finally attend a downtown protest.
Ohio’s Statehouse in downtown Columbus was the only area I avoided.
I figured in nearly August… I probably was safe to visit the statehouse. The protestors + city seem to have figured out a process.
Once arriving at the Statehouse, it was exactly the view I expected…in a really positive predictability.
Ohio’s Statehouse was lined with people of various races using different things to express their outrage.
Amongst this…exists a euphoria from a group of people rising to the occasion of history.
Some marched with signs and chanted. Some road in pickups and waved signs.
I was really into the group of young black kids stunting on Dirtbikes like they were from Philadelphia.
I was taking flicks and video with the idea of sharing it later.
I was flicking the statues of war heros which surround the statehouse.
A young black man walked up to me. We stated chatting.
I explained to the young man: “in history…2020’s protestors will be viewed same as people glorify these war heros. Your winning the war.”
The young man said: “Shoot a picture of me.”
I told him: ‘someone found and murdered BLM protestors after 2015. I wasn’t gonna single him out for possible retribution.’
While at the protests, I made it a point to smile, and send non-threatening energy towards the cops who were watching protests.
As I said, Police had teargassed, and maced a bunch of protestors in previous weeks.
I assumed it probably felt weird to watch George Floyd’s execution and then your friends teargassing those who it bothered. Perhaps I could eleviate their defensiveness.
I went home confident something would change after this social revolution.
A few days later, I decided I wanted to drive to the Bethel Center around midnight in Northwest Columbus.
I stopped at Winterset because of flashing lights. I looked both ways.
I was driving 10 mph across the street. A car came out of nowwhere and smashed into my car.
Airbag deployed. The front of my car kinda dropped + crumbled.
After I realized my car was destoyed, but my body was uninjured. I was relieved.
I had several near death experiences 2018-2020. I was walking away from this one.
I calmly looked at my arms which were working, and rubbed my face. I wasn’t physically injured or bleeding.
I looked at the airbag, and then over my shoulder.
I saw the automobile that hit me was driving on the sidewalk after colliding, and finally pulled itself back onto Henderson Rd and was quickly out of site.
I unbuckled my seatbelt and got out of my automobile.
I looked at my car’s demolished front end, inflated airbag and sighed.
A group of people who I quicky found out were Russians had witnessed the accident at the intersection of Henderson, and Winterset.
I chatted with the Russians.
A man in his driveway approached the Russians, and me.
He inquired of my safety. He fiddled with his phone for a second.
His garage camera recorded our collision.
We exchanged information. I was emailed video footage of the wreck after he pulled it from an app.
We called the cops.
I called Geico to report the accident and to tow my car.
The cops and the Broad and James towing guy worked quietly while the Russians chatted.
It was a calm.
The tow truck guy was a young black dude . He was wearing work attire which were simple and stylish. The young worker’s fade added to the fact, he looked like he could survey a wreck, and complete a job.
The cops wrote down my report, and watched the video footage.
The officers shared an understanding that the car that hit me was legally at fault, their car was speeding, ignoring traffic signals and fled an accident.
Once I realized I wasn’t being blamed for car running into me, and leaving the scene of an accident. I was relieved.
I asked about their day.
‘Have you seen the news…2020 is a bad year for cops.’
I told them I appreciated them. I asked them if anyone had robbed a gas station , or was involved in some sort of theft which would require speeding.
There weren’t any leads or explanation why that car was driving so fast & ignoring traffic signals .
I took a walk for a second just to look @ Russians, cops, and a young working man kinda peacefully exist after so much drama during previous 5 years.
I needed to look at this from a distance.
Once my car was fully ready to be removed, I asked the cops if I needed to sweep the road of debris. They said no.
The tow truck driver had put my bumper in the front seat area of the car
The tow truck driver dropped me + my car off at my building.
I only had liability insurance. I sold the car to a junk yard so I could buy food.
I didn’t really tell anyone about this accident.
Between the protests, and the November 3rd election…I didn’t want to scare people from protesting and voting.
November 4th, Democracy Now ran a story about an Isreali spyware firm which was involved with the tracking, and murdering of government officials, activists, and journalists.
I figured out a logistic in a repeated experience.
Apple is suing the Israeli Spyware Company because Apple wants people to feel safe using cell phones.
This dictated 2021 because I didn’t own a car, and some didn’t know I was almost killed. When anything disappointing occurred I was just like…’I shouldn’t have to tell everyone I was almost killed several times to receive basic human respect, and honesty.’
With that said:
George Floyd’s murderer was convicted.
Ahmued Arbery’s murderers were convicted.
Daunte Wright’s murderer was convicted.
5 years back. 10 years back. Rodney Kings ago….police who violently attacked and often killed Black People weren’t convicted.
2021 was a change for the better.
Joyce Beatty was named the Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2021.
Joyce Beatty is the Representative of my neighborhood district 3 in Columbus, Ohio in the United States Of America Congress.