The revolution can be heard and played in repeat beginning today (October 14), thanks to the new Gimlet/Spotify podcast “Resistance," which highlights stories from national activists and leaders in the movement for Black lives.
Hosted by poet and producer Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr., the first episode, “Is It Too Revolutionary?,” features the story of 22-year-old New Yorker Chi Ossé who protested for the first time following George Floyd’s May 25 death by Minneapolis police officers. Describing the experience, Ossé said:
We went to Barclay Center, and it was a peaceful protest. It was a nonviolent protest. And these cops were taking pictures. And, like, then they started pushing barricades onto people. They started pulling out their batons. They started beating people. They pepper-sprayed me and a friend of mine who I went with.
As a new demonstrator, Ossé explained how he quickly went from tears to anger after experiencing this treatment. “I cried that first day in the middle of the protest. But then it was like, anger,” Ossé explained. “I have never been that angry at police officers before. When these motherfuckers are beating us and spraying clouds of pepper spray for people fricking chanting.”
By the third day of protests, wearing a beret through the streets of Brooklyn, Ossé was seeing familiar faces and thinking about starting an activist collective. With 12 other likeminded early-20-somethings, Ossé formed the group Warriors in the Garden. Three weeks after he first hit the streets in protest, he announced on Juneteeth that he’d decided to run for city council in 2021. His campaign page says, “Throughout his childhood Ossé witnessed the negative effects of gentrification, police brutality, education inequality, economic disparity, health care gaps and food deserts in his community. As an activist-candidate, Chi will tackle the issues with creative and practical ideas that work across New York City.”
On the day that Ossé announced his candidacy, Tejan-Thomas Jr. was there to capture the audio. In his introduction, Ossé described how youth today can quickly go from street activist to office seeker. “I am Black and queer, and I’m a native Brooklynite and New Yorker,” he can be heard telling a crowd in Central Park. “This is my 20th–23rd day protesting both physically and virtually. I’m fucking tired, but I am more tired of white supremacy.”
To hear more from Ossé and his team about how the last few months have motivated them to resist racism, listen to the premiere episode below: