On Thursday, March 21st, people gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza to rally in solidary with Kimani Gray’s family and against police brutality. Sponsored by the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, a diverse set of speakers denounced the role of police in our society. One, Cat Brooks, Onyx Co-Chair, was particularly eloquent and thought-provoking.
Here are excerpts:
…To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here today either. I’m tired of getting up here, I’m tired of speaking, and I’m tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result.
And what I mean by that is that I think it’s really time for us to question the insanity of continuing to ask the system that creates these killer cops to jail these killer cops. What sense does that make?
I’m sorry, I’m. Losing. The. Logic. In the strategy. I’m losing the logic in begging the plantation owner for freedom. It is time to take our freedom. But to do that… we can’t just all of sudden… we’re not ready, right?
What we have to do is organize. What we have to do is build this movement beyond ourselves. What we have to do is take this mess to the streets. Knock on doors, to inform people what’s happening. Tell them… tell them what is happening. Be clear. They are murdering innocent black and brown and poor men in the streets like they are dogs…
After you inform them, have something to plug them into. Besides a protest, or a march, or a rally. Have some work for them to do.
It’s not working. I’m sorry, it’s not working. Too many dead black and brown boys out there. It’s too many, and it’s too much. And I’m tired of screaming. And hopefully you’re tired to.
Let’s start having conversations about what justice outside of this legal system looks like… about what empowered communities look like… about us keeping our streets safe, us keeping our women safe, us keeping our children safe. We are more capable of doing it than those damned pigs.
It’s time for all of us to get it together.
Rise in power Kimani. Onyx stands in solidarity with you.
On Sunday, March 24th, one day after Kimani Gray’s funeral, the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn rallied again in protest against his murder by two NYPD undercover police. Carl Dix, a prominent activist and writer who was arrested and tried last year for protesting Stop & Frisk, spoke at the Brooklyn rally.
… This was murder. This was no isolated incident… This is unacceptable. This must stop. And I’ll tell you, it is up to us to stop it…
I’ve seen black mayors, black police chiefs, and these cops keep killing our kids, because that’s what they’re out here to do. To brutalize and murder people whom they hate and fear. People who look like the people who rose up when I was young and rocked this whole system on its heels. They don’t want to let this happen again.
That is why I say it will take revolution, nothing less, to stop the horror of police murder, and all the other horrors they bring down… Stopping all that will come down to revolution, and nothing less.
We should live in a world where those who are entrusted with public security would sooner risk their own lives than kill or injure an innocent person. And it will take revolution to bring that kind of world into being.
Because in this world the so-called trained law enforcement personnel – the pigs, that’s who I’m talking about – they get the benefit of the doubt when they kill our kids. They can step up there and say “I thought that candy bar was a gun. I thought that wallet was a gun. I thought that cell phone was a gun. They can plant guns on the dead bodies of our children. And they claim it’s justifiable homicide…
What we need today is to build resistance. Determined mass resistance to what the cops and the whole criminal injustice system brings down on people. That’s what I was doing when Cornell West and I called for non-violent civil disobedience to stop Stop & Frisk. Because if you don’t stand up, they will beat us down so far, we will never be able to do anything about what they do to us…
A lot of people have said that people in this neighborhood were wrong to stand up and resist… Politicians were saying it. Preachers were saying it. Well let me be very clear. You were right to stand up and resist in this neighborhood. If people hadn’t stood up, they would have had a much easier time trying to sweep this murder under the rug. But because people stood up, people are talking about this all over New York City. What happened to Kimani. Did the cops throw that gun down? They’re talking about it all across the country.
More police than protesters in Brooklyn And still more… just in case.
And the other reason… the way they sweated the youth in this neighborhood 24-7before the murder of Kimani. Then when people gathered in vigil… the police harassed them, manhandled them, pushed them around. When people started to march on the sidewalk they started to brutalize them and arresting people. Kimani’s parents submitted an application for a permit for a march… and the police department said “No!” What they are saying to us is “We can kill your children, but you can’t protest.”
We have to say “Fuck No!” We will stand up. We will fight back. We will resist. We’ll march and we’ll resist in other ways as well. We will not sit back and let you murder our kids…
Poster by Sandy Sanders at Oakland rally
MLK poster from Brooklyn rally
OAKLAND RALLY VIDEOS 3/21/13:
Jeralyn Blueford statement read by Mollie Costello
Gary King’s mother
Cat Brooks, Onyx
Anne Weills. Civil Rights Attorney.
Andrea Barrett (Berkeley Copwatch)
Solidarity Statement read by Tova