October 22nd Coalition: Racial profiling as American as … you know the rest

Nayaba Arinde | 10/24/2013, 5:25 p.m.

Tucked away between discussions about whether Sen. Ted Cruz, co-architect of the government shutdown, is a tea party rock star and whether Kanye West’s onstage “white Jesus” escapade was ridiculous or not was the 18th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality – NYC on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx was the gathering place, with teach-ins, workshops and rallies.

Organizing the event was the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

Working with the Stolen Lives Project, which documents cases of killings by law enforcement agents nationwide, the grassroots group has been mobilizing since 1996 for a National Day of Protest in an attempt to expose “the epidemic of police brutality.”

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commmissioner Ray Kelly are still trying to battle the Community Safety Act from taking effect.

According to a new Quinnipiac poll, a majority of people said that keeping crime rates down is more important than reforming the controversial NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

But Black and Latino men who make up 90 percent of all those stopped-and-frisked may see the situation differently.

“Stop-and-frisk in NYC has not led to any major crime busts. It has only increased the number of African-American and Latinos in the criminal justice system and fed the prison- industrial complex,” said Salim Adofo, national vice chairperson of training and organizing for the National Black United Front.

“The fact that [stop-and-frisk and other types of discriminatory policing] even remain the subject of debate in our city in 2013 is an indication of how far we remain from a ‘post-racial society,’ if such an environment is even truly possible,” said Djibril Toure, a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement.

“Racial profiling in America is still alive and well. It is the modern-day version of the ‘Black Codes,’ and ‘Jim Crow,’ and an extension of the Dred Scott decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that a Black person has no rights that a white person is bound to respect. We saw this most recently with the Trayvon Martin case and a not guilty verdict of George Zimmerman,” said Adofo. “The National Black United Front’s position is that we must have independent civilian review boards with the power to subpoena. Racial profiling will be very difficult to eradicate in America, because it’s embedded into media, the educational and economic structure of this country. However, it still must be challenged,” Adofo said to the AmNews.

It a national phenomoenon.

“The call for the 18th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation is to bring forward the united, powerful, visual coalition of families victimized by police terrorism and to reach into all parts of our community,” said Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, the uncle of California police victim Oscar Grant. “May our unity bring the change that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren so rightfully deserve: freedom, justice, equality, humanity, respect and a right to take BART [Bay Area Rapid Transit] and a right to walk to 7-Eleven for Skittles and ice tea without being executed.”