Get on Twitter.

You need to get on Twitter.

On second thought, I’m going to take that statement a step further and say you have a social responsibility to get on Twitter.

No, I’m neither joking nor hyperbolizing to make a point.

Twitter is the single greatest collective source of current information about the resistance happening in Portland right now. Activists and freelance journalists report nightly from the front lines, and they tell a vastly different story from the one found on cable news or in the Oregon Live comments section. This is how I learned about the Saturday night shooting only minutes after it occurred. It’s how I know that a medic, a Black woman, attempted to render aid to the victim and was stopped by the Portland police. It’s why I no longer believe that police violence can be reformed away.

White supremacists have strategically infiltrated our law enforcement agencies. This should tell us that we cannot trust law enforcement to factually report on race-related hate crime or activism against police brutality. Nevertheless, theirs is the version of events most commonly disseminated by broadcast news networks, which often further distort the facts with inflammatory, click-baiting headlines. This is why so many people living outside of Portland keep repeating the fallacies that downtown has been devastated by riots and that police brutality is the only force standing between law-abiding citizens and “violent anarchists.”

The institutions that are supposed to keep us informed are failing us. That means it’s our responsibility to figure out the facts for ourselves and educate one another. If we are to organize and fight back successfully, we have to be accurately informed. Twitter makes this possible by giving us many more perspectives than can be found in major news publications, and most of them come from people who are physically present for newsworthy events as they unfold. While this is not a failsafe against misinformation, it offers us an additional, valuable way to fact-check official narratives and to corroborate freelance reportage against eyewitness accounts.

So, your task:

  1. Create a Twitter account.
  2. Follow the accounts listed below. Why these? Because most of these folks are out on the streets every night or close to it, and they’ll give you a solid launching pad for further research.
  3. Assemble your own picture of what’s happening in Portland, then widen your aperture to include Kenosha and Minneapolis and other protest epicenters, then use your newfound knowledge to correct your friends and family when they spread disinformation about the Black Lives Matter movement. Because we are well past the point where “agreeing to disagree” is a viable option. The stories we tell about what’s happening in our country can bring about far uglier consequences than a Facebook spat or familial tension over Thanksgiving dinner. Kyle Rittenhouse murdered two people because of a story that America was under siege and needed to be defended. People who’ve never set foot in Oregon cheered PPB for fracturing a man’s skull with ballistic weapons because they believed the story that Portland is being razed to the ground every night. Local governments funnel millions of taxpayer dollars into police budgets because of the story that police are essential to community safety. And none of it is true.

Activists
Alpha Beta @betacuck4lyfe
Cozca @KohzKah
Joshua Potash @JoshuaPotash
Lilith (they/them) @lilithxsinclair
PDX Comrade Collective @RdPirateRoberts
PDX Resistance @Pdx_resistance
PNW AntiFascist @PNWAntifascist
PNW Youth Liberation Front @PNWYLF
PopMob (Popular Mobilization) @PopMobPDX
Precious Butch Energy @Showmeurbeans
Proud Bulba @ProudBulba
Soundtrack to the End @_WhatRiot
THE WITCHES @Bitchwitch20
Triss Winters @TrissWinters

Journalists
Alex Zielinski @alex_zee
Cascadianphotog Media @Cascadianphotog
Claudio @PhrenologyPhun
Cook Cajun, Punch Nazis @nogumbofornazis
Griffin – Live from Portland @GriffinMalone6
Nathan Howard @SmileItsNathan
Robert Evan @IwriteOK
Sergio Olmos @MrOlmos
Tuck Woodstock @tuckwoodstock

Other ways to find current info:

Tap the magnifying glass. In the navigation bar at the top of the screen, tap For You, Trending, and News. Search the #Portland and #PDX hashtags.

I also strongly recommend following Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) and the Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) to get a sharper picture of the inconsistencies between official narratives and the perspectives of those on the ground.

Stay together, stay tight, and keep watching this space because there will be more to come.