The Call for the 17th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
October 22, 2012
Law enforcement across the country continues to brutalize and kill with impunity, a report by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement documenting that in the first six months of this year, 120 Black people have been "executed without trial by police, security guards and self-appointed law enforcers." Before we even have time to bury and mourn the dead, police steal another life. And another. And another.
A few of the Stolen Lives are well known, because people have agitated, organized, and mobilized in the streets to make their names and faces familiar, compelling us to remember them and the crimes that law enforcement across the country commits against us when it snatches them away. Most of the names are less known, showing up as brief stories on the local news, if at all, and family and friends are left to bear the loss and deep unspoken bitterness alone.
Many people have come to expect police brutality on a local and national scale, because we have been told this is just how things are supposed to be. But some of our experiences with police across this country are often fraught with intimidation, outright oppressive bigotry and brutality. Police criminalize populations already deprived of any sense of true justice, and then those same police repress the voices brave enough to speak out against those wrongs. A whole generation with barely a positive future to look forward to is being trained to accept an escalation in repression and criminalization, from increasingly warehoused youth in schools preparing them for jail and prison to police being permitted to wantonly execute people without ever being brought up on any charges for their murder. Now those same police who have kept us submissive while we are denied our basic needs and hopes for a better tomorrow are training the militaries and police in other countries to bring our worldwide brothers and sisters a similarly dark fate.
Police are set loose on us like wild dogs, from New York City where black and brown youth are targeted with racist NYPD "Stop & Frisks," to Anaheim, California where recent police killings and repression of the angered communities underscore years of racist brutality against Latin@s. Local and federal agencies have been caught unabashedly spying on Muslim, Arab, and South Asian peoples from college campuses to their homes, with no results yet no apology. We have seen law enforcement attempt to smash grassroots people's movements across the country, such as the dozens of vicious attacks on the Occupy Wall Street encampments. Organizations that stand up to police violence have been under heavy assault, including the burglary of ANSWER’s office in Los Angeles, NYPD’s attempted raid of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement's Crystal House, FBI raids of organizers’ homes in the Pacific Northwest looking for “anarchist” clothing and literature, and the “mysterious” burning down of the headquarters of Communities United Against Police Brutality in Minneapolis. And then there's the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
But where there is oppression, there is resistance. It has been a long time since we have seen such an incredible upsurge in activism and resistance, against police brutality and for many other connected causes, led by those affected most – and our peoples are not yet done rising! Victims of mass incarceration in some of the country’s most vile prisons have stood strong through coordinated hunger strikes demanding an end to their inhumane treatment. Freedom fighters in immigrant communities have risked detention and deportation by declaring themselves “undocumented and unafraid.” Rather than giving up and going home, Occupiers have branched out into communities, joining and helping build community movements already in progress. People are taking on police on all levels, from an upsurge in cop-watching activity in the most oppressed communities, to unions shutting down ports all along the West Coast, to legislative policies demanding accountability and an end to racist practices, to families of victims bravely taking the lead and standing up in the face of the most heinous of crimes against their loved ones. Several killer cops in various cities and Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio have been indicted on charges this year, thanks not to improving DAs or reformed police departments, but to powerful grassroots movements for justice. And thanks to decades of relentless struggle, we have seen our brother and hero Mumia Abu Jamal taken off of Death Row.
In 2012, just as it does every four years, the U.S. presidential election takes the spotlight in much of the country's news and other media. We have embedded in our minds how important it is that we vote, that our power is in the ballot box. So, when do we get to vote to stop police brutality? Or vote to stop repression of social justice movements? Or vote to stop the criminalization and mass incarceration of our young people? We can’t, and we will never be allowed to do so.
We can stop these injustices by standing together, strong and united with all peoples affected by the growing racist police state. We must take our collective movement up to the next level, stand on the shoulders of the recent inspiring movements here and internationally, and mobilize people of all communities to express their outrage, creativity, and resistance in the most visible way. This October 22nd, stand with thousands of our peoples in cities across the country and demand an end to police brutality, repression, and the criminalization of a generation! WEAR BLACK, FIGHT BACK!
Join us if there is already an October 22nd event in your area. Create one if you are in an area where there is currently no group organizing. For listings of activities in your area, check the Assembly Points page.To start building for an event in your area, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
TO ENDORSE THIS CALL, EMAIL THE ABOVE ADDRESSES OR SIGN BELOW AND MAIL TO: October 22, P.O. Box 2627, New York, NY 10009, along with your tax-deductible donation to the national organizing effort. Suggested donation $15.00 (paid to "IFCO/October 22")
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