[Please Watch/Listen & Signal Boost] Man Arrested While Picking Up His Kids: ‘The Problem Is I’m Black’ | The Atlantic 

If you’ve never experienced arbitrary harassment or brutality at the hands of a police officer, or seen law enforcement act in a way that defies credulity and common sense, it can be hard to believe people who tell stories of inexplicable persecution. As I noted in “Video Killed Trust in Police Officers,” the dawn of cheap recording technology has exposed an ugly side of U.S. law enforcement that a majority of people in middle-class neighborhoods never would’ve seen otherwise. 

Today, what’s most disheartening isn’t that so many Americans still reflexively doubt stories of police harassment, as awful as it is whenever real victims are ignored. What vexes me most is police officers caught acting badly on camera who suffer no consequences and are defended by the police agencies that employ them. 

The latest example of abusive, atrocious police work posted to YouTube comes from St. Paul, Minnesota, where a black father, Chris Lollie, reportedly got off work at Cossetta, an upscale Italian eatery, walked to the downtown building that houses New Horizon Academy, where he was to to pick up his kids, and killed the ten minutes until they’d be released sitting down on a chair in a skyway between buildings. Those details come from the Minneapolis City Pageswhere commenters describe the area he inhabited as a public thoroughfare between commercial buildings. If you’re 27 and black with dreadlocks, sometimes you’re waiting to pick up your kids and someone calls the cops to get rid of you. The police report indicates a call about “an uncooperative male refusing to leave,” which makes it sound as though someone else first asked him to vacate where he was; another press report says that he was sitting in a chair in a public area when a security guard approached and told him to leave as the area was reserved for employees. The Minnesota Star Tribune visited the seating area and reported that ”there was no signage in the area indicating that it was reserved for employees.” 

So a man waiting to pick up his kids from school sits for a few minutes in a seating area where he reasonably thinks he has a right to be, private security asks him to leave, he thinks they’re harassing him because he’s black, and they call police. This is where the video begins, and that conflict is already over. The man is walking away from it and toward the nearby school where he is to pick up his kids.

So problem solved? It could have been.

Instead, this happened: [See Video Above]

What the video shows is a man who is politely but firmly telling a police officer that she has no right to ask him for identification, because he hasn’t done anything wrong or broken any laws, and is present in the building to pick up his kids. “What’s the problem?” he asks at one point, and answers his own question: “The problem is I’m black.” We can’t see inside the heads of the people who called the police or the officers who showed up, but that seems like a highly relevant factor–it certainly wasn’t unreasonable for him to reach that conclusion. 

His story about getting his kids wasn’t merely plausible, given the man’s age and the fact that there was a school right there–it was a story the female police officer shown at the beginning of the video or the male officer shown later could easily confirm. 

Lollie is also absolutely correct that no law required him to show an ID to police officers. As Flex Your Rights explains, “Police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you’re involved in illegal activity,” and while 24 states have passed “stop and identify” statutes “requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place,” Minnesota isn’t one of those states.

It is easy to renounce the militancy of others till the barrel of capitalism and the State are down your throat. When it is YOU getting erased you want voice, but until then to you all others should speak only when spoken to, or else. These are those whom have a vested interest in maintaining status quo power. They are the same ones who co-opt the struggles of the oppressed for their own agendas, for elections and watered down policies that substantively replace the demands of oppressed peoples with bogus rhetoric.

Beware of them. I call them Democrats.

One day we’ll have to defend a revolution. If we hope to preserve even a shred of it, we aren’t gonna defend it with hugs and kisses. Start having those conversations with yourself today, because your timidness and inability to act tomorrow will only side you with our oppressors. 

I am constantly getting emails and seeing memes on Facebook, standing for the proposition that the police and the government have “no racial animus” in the murder of young Black men like Michael Brown, jr. “It’s not Black and White: It’s the Police Against the People.” Yeah, well, what people? Before there was today’s militarization of the police, [and concerns by white America], there was a long-term police occupation of the Black community in urban areas, and later came the war on drugs 30 + years ago, that was really a war on *US in Black/POC neighborhoods, and that is why we see police militarization now, along with them adopting the increasing paramilitary style to combat the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s-70’s. Most people may not know where it comes from, but trust me, we sure as hell know.

We Black people have been suffering from the police state crimes of this government from its inception. We have always been over-policed, violently repressed, and subject to summary execution in the name of law and order. We looked at the assassination of Dr. King and the destruction of the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s-70’s due to a climate of police state terror. They only call any of this fascism now when it happens to white people as well. This policing system was created by Southern Plantation owners as slave patrols hunting down Black slaves hundreds of years ago who escaped from plantations and handling the overseer duties against the slaves on the plantations themselves, and all this is based on continued oppression down to this day. We have suffered more than anyone from this police state, which puts the lie to an American democracy. Both Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass spoke about this over 150 years ago, and most of white America did not want to hear it then, it took a bloody civil war, and even that did not end racism completely.

It is great that Libertarians and others on the right have organized to also raise this issue today, as well as Left-Liberals, but do not “fake the funk” that somehow in essence it is all something “new” or has just recently changed. It’s just that white America has recently noticed that even some white people are being beaten and even killed as well now, and this police state might be a threat to them somehow. But this has never just been about you, so don’t pretend you have been “fighting this all along”, and you have no right to try to get us to change our generations-long struggle to now claim that “we are all suffering” [so you Blacks should see things as we say it]. No, not yet, not now, not ever!

america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie
August 14th, 2014
"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."
— Marcus Garvey
Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.
Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).
The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”
This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.
Context Always Matters
“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”
— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)
A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.
“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  
St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.
On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 
Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”
— Wikipedia 

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless. 
These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed.  
Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.
It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid
“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”
— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion
America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.
But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression. 
Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”
In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”
The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.
Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”
—Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 
Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.
Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.
Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 

america-wakiewakie:

“But they’re looting and burning down stores”: Debunking the Logic of Oppression in Ferguson | AmericaWakieWakie

August 14th, 2014

"This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy."

— Marcus Garvey

Ferguson protesters pulled nearly two city blocks back from police as they demonstrated in song last night. They held their empty hands high, an action symbolic of the “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant which has come to embody the circumstances of Mike Brown’s unarmed death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police. Yet, despite the peacefulness of the crowd, in an episode of déjà vu reminiscent of the crackdown on the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement, Ferguson police closed-in on protesters in military fashion, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians.

Indiscriminate violence against black communities has long been the norm for police departments across the U.S. In the wake of Mike Brown’s death, many people (read mostly white people) have consistently defended the actions of Ferguson police (and police in general).

The latest iteration of this defense has come on the heels of a burned-down gas station and reports of alleged looting. On Tuesday I received an anonymous message saying “They burned down a gas station, stop crying racism.” I received another today which read, “Those people shouldn’t be in the middle of the road doing anything. Imagine how many of them have guns. Look up how they are looting and robbing.”

This line of reasoning ignores totally the slaying of Mike Brown and the antagonisms of a militarized police presence at a community protest (mind you, Ferguson, MO is over 60% black while its police force is 95% white). It is victim blaming which says inanimate objects ought to become the center of discussion and outrage surrounding the death of a living, breathing, vibrant human being, and that never should we mention the white supremacist institution which murdered him or the cop(s) who pulled the trigger.

Context Always Matters

“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”

— Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)

A while back I tweeted that the most powerful weapon to destroy a people’s resistance is to erase their history. For the phenomenon that is victim blaming, this is absolutely essential. If people (read mostly white people) can erase an oppressed population’s history, they effectively erase the oppression they themselves committed and make invisible the power they obtain from it.

“Looting” rhetoric is a method of erasing the previous violence and oppression visited upon Ferguson’s black community, specifically the killing of Mike Brown, but also even before it. This rhetoric conveniently rejects greater sociopolitical, economic, and historical context for the sake of bolstering itself and in doing so it can dismiss the continuation of white supremacy in contemporary institutions (like police departments).  

St. Louis County, home to St. Louis and Ferguson, hardly has a good civil rights record. White supremacy has a long, strong history there.

“In May [1917], three thousand white men gathered in downtown East St. Louis and attacks on blacks began. With mobs destroying buildings and beating people, the Illinois governor called in the National Guard to prevent further rioting. Although rumors circulated about organized retribution attacks from African Americans, conditions eased somewhat for a few weeks.

On July 2, a car occupied by white males drove through a black area of the city and fired several shots into a standing group. An hour later, a car containing four people, including a journalist and two police officers, Detective Sergeant Samuel Coppedge and Detective Frank Wadley, was passing through the same area. Black residents, possibly assuming they were the original suspects, opened fire on their car, killing one officer instantly and mortally wounding another. 

Later that day, thousands of white spectators who assembled to view the detectives’ bloodstained automobile marched into the black section of town and started rioting [joined by the Guardsman called to stop it]. After cutting the water hoses of the fire department, the rioters burned entire sections of the city and shot inhabitants as they escaped the flames. Claiming that “Southern Negros deserve[d] a genuine lynching,” they lynched several blacks.”

Wikipedia

In the aftermath conservative estimates put between 40-150 black Americans dead and nearly 6,000 homeless.

These events are telling. Throughout them we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, yet because whites held power, black people suffered. Recent events in Ferguson reflect the same relationship: Violence is wielded by the powerful while any retaliation by the oppressed is systematically and brutally repressed. 

Ultimately, the role of “looting” rhetoric removes the context of these power dynamics, its history, and allows for a game of moral equivalence to be played — one where to white people property damage is just as bad, if not more heinous than killing a young man. Considering that for the majority of U.S. history black people literally have been treated like property, it is unsurprising this reasoning is so pervasive.

It’s Institutional Racism, Stupid

“As an officer of the law, I am committed to administering justice swiftly and even-handedly, regardless of whether the suspect has dark skin or really dark skin.”

— Fictional Police Officer Vincent Turner, as quoted in the Onion

America’s justice system is racist. There is no other way to put it. From its racist policing built on profiling, to its war on drugs which dis-proportionally incarcerates black (and brown) people, to its sentencing laws that increase in severity if you are black, to the fact that a black man is killed by cops or vigilantes every 28 hours. It’s murderous and racist to its core. So when “the law” is the instrument of oppression, this leaves little recourse for communities like Ferguson.

But the logic of oppression will always place the onus for civility on the victims of oppression, never itself. In Ferguson this means restricting protesters to a few normalized avenues of addressing their grievances, which almost always are prescribed and deemed reasonable and legitimate by the very same racist legal system which kills black youth. Even then, if black Americans effectively exercise their legal rights, this too is met with brutal repression.

Such has been the historical example of gun ownership and self-defense in the black American community:

“[On] May 2, 1967, 30 fully armed members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and their supporters were in the California State Capitol at Sacramento, California, protesting the infamous Mulford Act. The bill on its face was aimed at banning a U.S. citizen’s right to carry loaded weapons in public, so long as the weapons were “registered, not concealed, and not pointed in a threatening manner.”

In actuality the Mulford Act – or “the Panther Bill,” as it was tagged by the media – was designed to end the BPP Police Patrols that were organized against police brutality in the Afrikan community; as it was the Panther Party’s belief that “armed citizen patrols and the arming of the citizenry as guaranteed by the Constitution were the most effective deterrents to excessive use of police force.”

The alarmed and instantaneous reaction to the fully armed BPP in Sacramento further confirmed this, and then Gov. Ronald Reagan’s signing of the bill into law catapulted the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense into national prominence.

Three months prior to this, in March 1967, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had begun an “internal security” investigation of Huey Newton, prompting then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to announce, on Sept. 8, 1968, that the BPP was considered to be “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” At the time, the Black Panther Party was barely known outside of Oakland, Calif.”

Bay View National Black Newspaper

In the following years the Hoover Administration meticulously and ruthlessly initiated campaigns to delegitimize and eviscerate the Black Panthers. 

Here, yet again, we see the black community responding to white initiated violence, in particular the Black Panther declaration to halt police brutality in their neighborhoods. And, you guessed it, yet again, because whites held power, black people suffered.

Next time you see somebody trying to equivocate a burned-down gas station or a little looting with the violence perpetrated against black bodies, with Mike Brown’s death, stop them. Check them. Reframe the conversation again. Make them talk about the robbing of memories from marriage, kids, grandchildren, an infinite number of moments never lived because those years were fleeced from a young man with fire, gunpowder, and bullets.

Force them to talk about the theft of a system that denies Mike Brown’s family, and countless others, any effective recourse, let alone justice. Don’t be fooled into thinking a gas station burned somehow levels the field of brutality and injustice levied against the black community. Don’t play that game, because that’s what it is to them: A game where they can say “I’m right and you’re wrong,” a game that ignores the reality that they’re alive and black boys like Mike Brown are dead. 

thepeoplesrecord:

How Trayvon Martin’s death launched a new generation of black activismAugust 29, 2014 | Mychal Denzel Smith | The Nation
On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American 17-year-old walking home from a 7-Eleven. What The Washington Post and other media outlets had dubbed “the trial of the century” was over, with a deeply unsettling verdict. In the fifteen months between Trayvon’s death and the beginning of the trial, people across the country had taken to the streets, as well as to newspapers, television and social media, to decry the disregard for young black lives in America. For them—for us—this verdict was confirmation.
A group of 100 black activists, ranging in age from 18 to 35, had gathered in Chicago that same weekend. They had come together at the invitation of Cathy J. Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics, and her organization, the Black Youth Project. Launched in 2004, the group was born as a research project to study African-American youth; in the decade since then, Cohen has turned the BYP into an activist organization. The plan for this meeting was to discuss movement building beyond electoral politics. Young black voters turned out in record numbers in the 2008 and ‘12 elections: 55 percent of black 18-to-24-year-olds voted in 2008, an 8 percent increase from 2004, and while a somewhat smaller number—49 percent—voted in 2012, they still outpaced their white counterparts. But how would young black voters hold those they had put in office accountable? And what were their demands?
This group, coming together under the banner Black Youth Project 100 (“BYP100” for short), was tasked with figuring that out. As with any large gathering, people disagreed, cliques were formed, and tensions began to mount. The organizers struggled to build consensus within this diverse group of academics, artists and activists. And then George Zimmerman was acquitted. The energy in the room changed.
“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” said Charlene Carruthers, one the activists at the conference.
Carruthers, a Chicago native, has been an organizer for more than ten years, starting as a student at Wesleyan University. She has led grassroots and digital campaigns for, among others, the Women’s Media Center, National People’s Action and ColorofChange.org. She heard all types of sounds emanating from the people in the room that day, from crying to screaming. “I don’t believe the pain was a result, necessarily, of shock because Zimmerman was found not guilty,” Carruthers said, “but of yet another example…of an injustice being validated by the state—something that black people were used to.”
Some members of BYP100 went into the streets of downtown Chicago and led a rally. Others stayed behind and drafted the group’s first collective statement. Addressed to “the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community,” it read in part: “When we heard ‘not guilty,’ our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out—emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU.”
The group recorded a reading of the letter and released the video on July 14, one day after the verdict. “That was the catalyst,” Carruthers said, “that cemented [the idea] that the people in that room had to do something collectively moving forward.”
…
The demise of the Black Panther Party in the mid-1970s left a void in black political organizing. The Panthers weren’t without problems (the sexist nature of their leadership was a big one), but they represented the last gasps of a national black organizing that combined radical political education, direct action, youth engagement and community services. In the years since, racial-justice groups have struggled to effect change as profound as they managed to achieve during the heyday of the civil-rights and Black Power movements. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is mostly visible to the extent that Sharpton is able to leverage his own platform and personality for the causes he cares about. The same is true of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Until Benjamin Jealous took over as president in 2008, the NAACP—the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization—was battling perceptions of irrelevance. Under Jealous’s leadership, the NAACP changed course, but the question lingered as to whether it was equipped to fight the new challenges faced by black America. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has existed since 1993 without much fanfare; the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, started in 2004, fizzled. “The times we live in,” Carruthers said, “call for a resurgence of national black-liberation organizing.”
This past May, I traveled to Chicago for the “Freedom Dreams, Freedom Now!” conference, hosted by a number of organizations, including BYP100, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference was intended as an “intergenerational, interactive gathering” of scholars, artists and activists commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer and discussing contemporary social-justice organizing. The opening plenary featured a keynote address by Julian Bond, a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and former board chair of the NAACP. He presented a history of Freedom Summer, the SNCC-led movement to register voters and get black people to the polls in Mississippi, before a premiere screening of the PBS documentary Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson.
But the aim of the conference wasn’t just to reminisce. It was a precursor to Freedom Side, a collective that includes members of BYP100, the Dream Defenders and United We Dream, an immigrant-youth-led organization, as well as more established groups like the NAACP and AFL-CIO. Before the conference, as part of the Freedom Summer celebration, the Dream Defenders hosted “freedom schools” throughout Florida, talking to young people about criminalization, mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Voter registration drives were also held across the country.
The day after the conference ended, BYP100 hosted an organizer-training event at the University of Chicago. Early on, the attendees were split into two groups, and the two sides engaged each other in a call-and-response chant that referenced historical greats like Nat Turner, Angela Davis, Ida B. Wells, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fred Hampton. But even as they paid homage to their history in song, these young activists had their eyes on the future. Members led sessions on personal narratives in organizing, how to handle interactions with police officers, and building political power.
Read full article here

thepeoplesrecord:

How Trayvon Martin’s death launched a new generation of black activism
August 29, 2014 | Mychal Denzel Smith | The Nation

On July 13, 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American 17-year-old walking home from a 7-Eleven. What The Washington Post and other media outlets had dubbed “the trial of the century” was over, with a deeply unsettling verdict. In the fifteen months between Trayvon’s death and the beginning of the trial, people across the country had taken to the streets, as well as to newspapers, television and social media, to decry the disregard for young black lives in America. For them—for us—this verdict was confirmation.

A group of 100 black activists, ranging in age from 18 to 35, had gathered in Chicago that same weekend. They had come together at the invitation of Cathy J. Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and the author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics, and her organization, the Black Youth Project. Launched in 2004, the group was born as a research project to study African-American youth; in the decade since then, Cohen has turned the BYP into an activist organization. The plan for this meeting was to discuss movement building beyond electoral politics. Young black voters turned out in record numbers in the 2008 and ‘12 elections: 55 percent of black 18-to-24-year-olds voted in 2008, an 8 percent increase from 2004, and while a somewhat smaller number—49 percent—voted in 2012, they still outpaced their white counterparts. But how would young black voters hold those they had put in office accountable? And what were their demands?

This group, coming together under the banner Black Youth Project 100 (“BYP100” for short), was tasked with figuring that out. As with any large gathering, people disagreed, cliques were formed, and tensions began to mount. The organizers struggled to build consensus within this diverse group of academics, artists and activists. And then George Zimmerman was acquitted. The energy in the room changed.

“A moment of trauma can oftentimes present you with an opportunity to do something about the situation to prevent that trauma from happening again,” said Charlene Carruthers, one the activists at the conference.

Carruthers, a Chicago native, has been an organizer for more than ten years, starting as a student at Wesleyan University. She has led grassroots and digital campaigns for, among others, the Women’s Media Center, National People’s Action and ColorofChange.org. She heard all types of sounds emanating from the people in the room that day, from crying to screaming. “I don’t believe the pain was a result, necessarily, of shock because Zimmerman was found not guilty,” Carruthers said, “but of yet another example…of an injustice being validated by the state—something that black people were used to.”

Some members of BYP100 went into the streets of downtown Chicago and led a rally. Others stayed behind and drafted the group’s first collective statement. Addressed to “the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community,” it read in part: “When we heard ‘not guilty,’ our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out—emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU.”

The group recorded a reading of the letter and released the video on July 14, one day after the verdict. “That was the catalyst,” Carruthers said, “that cemented [the idea] that the people in that room had to do something collectively moving forward.”

The demise of the Black Panther Party in the mid-1970s left a void in black political organizing. The Panthers weren’t without problems (the sexist nature of their leadership was a big one), but they represented the last gasps of a national black organizing that combined radical political education, direct action, youth engagement and community services. In the years since, racial-justice groups have struggled to effect change as profound as they managed to achieve during the heyday of the civil-rights and Black Power movements. The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is mostly visible to the extent that Sharpton is able to leverage his own platform and personality for the causes he cares about. The same is true of the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Until Benjamin Jealous took over as president in 2008, the NAACP—the nation’s oldest civil-rights organization—was battling perceptions of irrelevance. Under Jealous’s leadership, the NAACP changed course, but the question lingered as to whether it was equipped to fight the new challenges faced by black America. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has existed since 1993 without much fanfare; the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, started in 2004, fizzled. “The times we live in,” Carruthers said, “call for a resurgence of national black-liberation organizing.”

This past May, I traveled to Chicago for the “Freedom Dreams, Freedom Now!” conference, hosted by a number of organizations, including BYP100, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago. The conference was intended as an “intergenerational, interactive gathering” of scholars, artists and activists commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer and discussing contemporary social-justice organizing. The opening plenary featured a keynote address by Julian Bond, a co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and former board chair of the NAACP. He presented a history of Freedom Summer, the SNCC-led movement to register voters and get black people to the polls in Mississippi, before a premiere screening of the PBS documentary Freedom Summer, directed by Stanley Nelson.

But the aim of the conference wasn’t just to reminisce. It was a precursor to Freedom Side, a collective that includes members of BYP100, the Dream Defenders and United We Dream, an immigrant-youth-led organization, as well as more established groups like the NAACP and AFL-CIO. Before the conference, as part of the Freedom Summer celebration, the Dream Defenders hosted “freedom schools” throughout Florida, talking to young people about criminalization, mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Voter registration drives were also held across the country.

The day after the conference ended, BYP100 hosted an organizer-training event at the University of Chicago. Early on, the attendees were split into two groups, and the two sides engaged each other in a call-and-response chant that referenced historical greats like Nat Turner, Angela Davis, Ida B. Wells, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fred Hampton. But even as they paid homage to their history in song, these young activists had their eyes on the future. Members led sessions on personal narratives in organizing, how to handle interactions with police officers, and building political power.

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thepeoplewillnotstaysilent:

Assata Shakur at world youth festival 1997 Cuba. Rare

The worst thing you can do to yourself in life is to forget your own power. You are powerful. You are magnificently powerful. 

I stopped writing slam poetry about a year or so ago. Imma try to pick back up on that. There’s a rich community of it here. 

You know sometimes cats hate on hip hop with violent lyrics, call it gangster rap or whatever, but my perspective is this:

Corporate hip hop that makes billions off commoditizing intra-community violence, propping up dudes who have no lived experience with the words they’re saying (looking at you appropriators and rappers like Drake), screw that. BUT, when you have artists painting pictures with their lived experiences, no matter how vivid and violent it may seem, that’s a release, a positive expression of dealing with a system of oppression that tried to kill them, and tried to get them to kill each other.

Pick up a mic and speak truth to power.

Home takes time. You gotta build it. And in that time between you building it and moving away from places that where once home, the relationships, the memories, all that, the longing for being where you were is intense. It makes you want to slip back instead of soldiering on creating again, differently though, the kind of bonds and memories that make you comfortable in a new place. This is where I am. I like the Bay, don’t really want to be anywhere else less on the road traveling. But not gonna lie, been a year and a half since I saw any of my homies and every time I remember that, shit is heavy like a bag of bricks to my chest. I don’t make friends real easy, so the one’s I do make I keep. Not having them around to chill with, relax, let go, release my mind, fucks with my head. I just go run or something usually, but that’s not sustainable. 

student-for-an-anarchist-society:

punkswithcleankitchens:

digitalmaoism:

littleleahlamb2k15:

gabethedrone:

United against the stateanarchism without hyphens

What’s the a with the 3 on it?

its the anus flag revamped

It’s agorism, some ancap jargon shit no one cares about

The fuck is the “H+”, the fuck is the two arrows going in circles.

Fuck ancaps. You can’t be anti-state when capitalism relies on the state.

student-for-an-anarchist-society:

punkswithcleankitchens:

digitalmaoism:

littleleahlamb2k15:

gabethedrone:

United against the state
anarchism without hyphens

What’s the a with the 3 on it?

its the anus flag revamped

It’s agorism, some ancap jargon shit no one cares about

The fuck is the “H+”, the fuck is the two arrows going in circles.

Fuck ancaps. You can’t be anti-state when capitalism relies on the state.