Since its founding in 2017, the "Not F––ing Around Coalition" (NFAC) has marched in Stone Mountain, Georgia, demanding the largest confederate monument in the nation be removed from the park. In Brunswick, Georgia, the group protested the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. They were also present in Louisville, Kentucky demanding justice and transparency in the Breonna Taylor murder case.
White armed groups have also appeared at protests around the country to assert their Second Amendment rights. Unlike these groups, founder of NFAC, John Fitzgerald Johnson told CNN, his group intends to “protect, self-police, and educate Black communities on firearms and their constitutional rights,” adding that his group is “not against anyone.”
NFAC has been compared to the Black Panther Party, organized in1966 in Oakland, California after the assassination of Malcolm X and Matthew Johnson, a Black teenager, was killed by police in San Francisco. The NFAC founder says his group is composed of “US citizens exercising our constitutional rights and the color of our skin shouldn’t make any difference.”
Though verbal clashes with White armed groups at protests have occurred, officials in cities that have seen NFAC’s presence, including Louisville, have coordinated with the group and have largely reported peaceful protests. However, the group has faced criticism after accidental weapons discharges at two events, including one in July that injured three NFAC members as reported by the Louisville Courier Journal.
The second accidental weapon discharge occurred on October 3, where local officials in LaFayette, Louisiana approved an event permit for NFAC who held a protest demanding justice for 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin killed by police in August. Despite the arrest of the person whose weapon fired accidentally, the event reportedly had a peaceful ending.
With growing frustration with injustices towards Black people increasing NFAC’s membership, scholars and state officials are curious to see the direction the group takes in approaching its mission. Judson L. Jeffries, professor of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University, reflected on this, telling CNN, the group could take on an approach similar to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “showing a great deal of patience and love for those who were oppressing him” or take on a self-defense approach supported by Malcolm X.
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