Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, has been arrested. This happened only because of our massive rallies, marches and demonstrations. To accept calls for “calm” at this time are ill-advised and dangerous.
Amadou Diallo’s and Sean Bell’s cases got to court, but they did not get justice there. Too often, the courts don’t provide Black people with justice. We support the Democratic Party, but too often, they don’t fight for us. Black people put Obama in the White House, but when it comes to things like police killings, his administration has failed us.
If we stop now, they will stop listening and responding to our need for justice. Let’s support Occupy Harlem’s effort to build a united front against racist killing and join their demonstration on Saturday, April 21.
It is only at our rallies and demonstrations that we hear the unvarnished truth. There we see and talk to the victims of police brutality and get the latest news and analysis from our own community fightback organizations. Come out on April 21 and stand up and be counted.
The Martin case reminds us of all of the NYPD murders of unarmed Black and Brown people going back for decades. Of late, we have only to mention Ramarley Graham, Bell and Diallo. Going back several decades, we remember grandmother Eleanor Bumpers and 11-year-old Clifford Glover.
Let us not forget the chokehold deaths of Arthur Miller and Anthony Baez. The Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, had a horrendous near-death experience at the hands of the police.
Nationally, police violence has claimed the lives of Black folks young and old, male and female. Sixty-eight-year-old veteran Kenneth Chamberlain was murdered in his apartment by White Plains police. Homeless 29-year-old Black woman Anna Brown of St. Louis was dragged by police from an emergency room and left to die in a jail cell. The deaths of Rekia Boyd of Chicago and Oscar Grant of San Francisco join a list of thousands of victims of police killings nationwide.
White supremacists don’t just kill Black people. White armed and uniformed militia vigilantes at the Arizona border recently murdered two unarmed Latinos.
The NYPD has used official violence and harassment to terrorize Black and Brown people. They have criminalized innocent citizens. We are subject to racial profiling and stop-and-frisk tactics. Inside our very homes and adjacent public spaces, the cops harass young Black and Latino people. They do this in the housing projects; the gentrifying landlords give police free rein to enter our apartment buildings and patrol the halls.
These deaths and beatings are not the result of “rogue cops.” They are a result of how the system has been set up to operate against the interests of Black, Brown and poor people. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has not changed the system that routinely murders our innocents. Is this because we have become complacent due to Black faces in high places?
Join Occupy Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park at noon on April 21 to strike a blow against police violence and vigilante injustice. Don’t be “cool,” don’t be “calm.” Keep applying the pressure and keep the courts, the politicians and the police honest.