Helicopters symbolize law enforcement’s presence and power in the U.S. Patrisse first mentions helicopters when describing the many ways that police surveilled Van Nuys when she was a child, noting that they were like vultures hovering above them all night and day, looking for their next prey. When Patrisse was older and in the process of starting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement while living in a village for artists of color in Central LA, helicopters hovering above her house foretold the violent police raid to come. Helicopters appeared yet again when Patrisse was leading a massive protest in Beverly Hills, signifying that police could attack her and the other protestors at any time. Together, then, helicopters represent Patrisse’s argument that Black Americans live in constant fear of being racially profiled and unjustly targeted by police.
Helicopters Quotes in When They Call You a Terrorist
The groups of kids they first called gangs were really young people who were friends, they were my friends, and they took a defensive posture against what looked and felt like an actual advancing army that came in on foot and came in police cars for which the county had appropriated ever more dollars to patrol us with. And worse than the cars, most frightening of all, were the helicopters overhead. At all hours of day and night they hovered above us, shone lights into the midnight, circling and surveilling, vultures looking for the best next prey.
Police, the literal progeny of slave catchers, meant harm to our community, and the race or class of any one officer, nor the good heart of an officer, could change that. No isolated acts of decency could wholly change an organization that became an institution that was created not to Protect but to catch, control and kill us.
Immediately, the police surround the three of us, who are not armed and who are dressed like three people who were sitting in their house and planning out their day, which is what we had been doing when we first heard the helicopters.
Ten, maybe a dozen, cops force us at gunpoint […] into the courtyard in front of our cottage while the others swarm past us and enter my home like angry hornets or a sudden airborne plague.