Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover once said the most threatening thing about the Black Panthers was their free breakfast program for kids. Seriously.

That didn’t stop the FBI from keeping close tabs on people like Rodney Barnette, a founding member of the Compton chapter. A Vietnam veteran, he became disillusioned by the racism he experienced after returning home from the war. During his time organizing through the Panthers, he helped push the group's "radical" agenda that involved feeding hungry kids, protecting elderly in their neighborhoods, and providing black people easier access to health care and hospitals.

Eight different FBI agents followed Barnette for several years. They traded information with one another as they intimidated and gaslighted him, even going so far as to get him fired from his job at the post office. It was all in an attempt to demoralize and crush a movement they couldn’t control.

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Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash
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Since COVID-19 was identified in December 2019, it has spread around the world, wreaking havoc on our daily lives.

As of July 6, 2020, there have been over 11.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported across 216 countries and territories.

Over 500,000 people have died.

Cities and countries instituted strict lockdowns or issued shelter-in-place orders, but as we retreated indoors to flatten the curve, economies ground to a halt. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Hospital ICUs hit capacity. Inequality has been made painfully obvious as the most marginalized communities are forced to bear the worst impacts. Never before has it been more clear just how interconnected our health and the health of the planet truly is.

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