“Put on your f*****ng boots, ’cause it’s time to march.”
Like many, Casey Neistat is using his platform to share why he is joining Black Lives Matter protests in Los Angeles. He begins, “I’ve been out protesting everyday since they began in the shadow of George Floyd’s murder.” He made this video to explain what it is he is protesting and why it matters.
Casey describes the case of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by plainclothes police officers in her home on 13 March 2020. He explains how the officers had a “no-knock search warrant”, which allowed them to enter her home in the middle of the night, unannounced. “They’ve faced no punishment,” Casey says. “That’s not just. That’s not right. And if there are laws that say that that is okay, that are protecting those three men, that law is wrong.”
He goes on to cite the deaths of George Floyd and Eric Garner as further examples of unjust police killings, saying, “None of that is justice.”
Casey then discusses how difficult it can be to make effective change – “sometimes you have to take to the streets. You march. You force your voice to be heard” – before speaking about the “muddled” nature of the conversation. He explains how sensationalist media focuses on “the looters and criminals”, using “peaceful discourse as an excuse for criminality”. He says that “police teargassing demonstrators for a photoshoot” is another instance that makes for “compelling television”, and encourages us to look beyond these individual moments and see the people “all over the world standing up against injustice”.
He highlights his privilege and how he never fears mistreatment due to the colour of his skin. He gives examples of not fearing for his life in dealing with the police, not worrying about receiving a bank loan and not being concerned his skin colour could affect the treatment he would receive from a doctor. “Knowing what to do with that privilege is really hard, but you can use that privilege to hold other people accountable when you see racism taking place,” he says.
He ends the video by comparing the current resurgence of anti-racism movements to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Calling out those who choose to quote Martin Luther King Jr. on their Instagram or Twitter, he asks, “Would you have shown up?” He says that they had their movement then, and that this is our movement now. He challenges us to meet our words with actions. “You have to honestly look in the mirror and, knowing that this will be remembered, ask yourself how you want to remember your role in this.”