One thing we’ve seen time and time again at protests in 2020 is how appreciated and respected volunteer street medics are to the protestors they’re caring for and on, several occasions, saving the lives of. Another thing we’ve seen time and time again at protests in 2020 is how much cops hate volunteer street medics and how often they’ll single them out for violence and abuse. It’s so bad, in fact, that Human Rights Watch has written a report about U.S. police attacking volunteer street medics, often while they’re in the middle of performing life-saving first aid.
We don’t know if that’s what happened when W. – a familiar sight at various protests in the Pacific North West as a volunteer street medic – was hit in the head with a flashbang grenade in Olympia earlier this month. But we do know who is likely to bring flashbangs to a protest and we do know who likes to try to take off people’s heads with them. We also know that this particular flashbang did some serious damage to W., leaving him with burns on his head and a completely obliterated eardrum.
W. now needs to raise several thousand dollars for reconstructive ear surgery to restore his hearing. We were not about to let him have to scrape the funds together on his own so The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was happy to show our gratitude to street medics like him by making a significant donation to his crowdfunder. Our friend literally volunteers his time and skill set by putting himself in the line of fire to save people who have been badly hurt – we all need to show W. and street medics like him that we have their backs when things go the other way for them.