TLC Podcast host Rafe Foreman talks with photojournalist Amy Katz about her experiences in covering the Black Lives Matter protests in Washington, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. In this episode, Amy shares how she was tear-gassed within 5 minutes of her arrival in Portland, despite being clearly identified as a member of the press. “During my first visit to Portland…the police really respected that we were journalists. They also were not attacking protesters…so I felt safe. But it was a totally different scene when I arrived back in Portland on July 21.”
Over the ensuing ten days in Portland, Amy was tear-gassed over twenty times. “I realized that if I was going to do my job, I had to learn how to operate blindly, assuming that I would be tear-gassed and would have my eyes shut for considerable amounts of time. So I started to practice putting on my protective equipment with my eyes closed and then learn how to operate my camera…with my eyes closed so when I was blinded with tear gas I could still take pictures.”
On July 29, Amy was shot with rubber bullets while walking in a single file line with several other journalists, their hands in the air waving press passes, their shirts and hats emblazoned with PRESS or NEWS MEDIA, shouting “Press!”. The shooters, wearing US military camouflage and gas masks, refused to identify themselves or the particular agency who employed them.
In this interview, Amy details the need and urgency for justice in our country and outlines the things that TLC warriors can do to help stop the chaos.
Protests are not acts of terrorism. Symbolic action is needed for free speech. But the government used tear gas and shot at the Press – hardly a symbolic act. The government attacked and assaulted the Press, protestors, and citizens who held their hands over their heads, saying “Don’t shoot!”
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Episode Guest, Amy Katz
Amy Katz is a photojournalist for Zuma Press, which produces and represents award-winning news, sports and entertainment from some of the world’s greatest photojournalists. Amy has traveled extensively, living and working in over 10 countries on four continents.
For the last 20 years, Amy has been designing and teaching communication courses for universities and corporations, nationally & internationally. A”wandering Taoist”, she has lived in Hong Kong, Korea, Israel, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Hungary, Germany, the Carribean & USA. Her community service/healing work has included helping Vietnamese & Ethiopian refugees, disadvantaged children at Mother Theresa’s orphanage in India, suicidal crisis callers in rural America, abused women in Hungary & Bosnia, and people everywhere suffering from drug addictions, depression and feelings of hopelessness.