In the past week, Black activism has been linked to the recent shooting and killing of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. As a result, a series of events have been put in motion, evidenced by the greater threat of police intimidation, harassment and excessive use of deadly force. Nonetheless, waves of massive protest demonstrations against police violence continue to sweep across the country, as veteran activists intensify their efforts to organize local communities.

For example, the December 12th Movement held a public forum at Sista’s Place in Brooklyn, N.Y. to discuss a course of action because of what Viola Plummer described as this “escalation of madness in the community.” Plummer, chair of the December 12th Movement opened the meeting by expressing her eagerness to hear what the people had to say. “This is not the type of meeting where we tell the people what they want.” said Plummer. “You will decide what we will do. It’s the people who make revolution.”

For nearly three hours, approximately 60 people were engaged in open and honest dialogue about why they attended the meeting, the collective need for organizational unity, community policing, pressuring elected officials, the tactical use of social media versus human interaction, economic boycotts and economic empowerment. There was candid discussion about the anger and frustration felt as a result of the absolute lack of accountability afforded to police officers as well as the media’s outright disregard of not only Delrawn Small but also Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, all shot dead by police since July 4 and the killings captured on video. Plummer asked, “How many of you are angry?” Everybody’s hand went up as their heads nodded in agreement.

The discussion recounted the tactics of intimidation used by the state: Ramsey Orta who videotaped the Eric Garner death by police, jailed; Chris LeDay, who posted the Alton Sterling videotape, jailed; and legislation recently passed in North Carolina blocks public access to police body-camera footage. Plummer then reminded everyone of her role as chief of staff for State Assemblyman Charles Barron and the work around his proposed legislation to eliminate the use of secret grand juries.

An audience member talked about recently passed legislation from the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, chaired by Vanessa Gibson, the Right to Know Act.

As folks shared their experiences and interactions with the police, the question of rights arose: What am I legally able to say and do when stopped by the police? Noting the rule of maintaining a distance of 25 feet, Plummer explained, “We at the December 12th use what we call ‘holla loud and draw a crowd.’” To Plummer’s point, an elder added, “I’ve come into incidents with police when they’re harassing or even arresting folks, and I make it my purpose to go and stand away the distance they say and I film it whether I think something is going to happen or not. It creates a presence for the rest of the people … this is something you can do and you’re within your right to do so.” He continued, “The police quiet down as a crowd develops. And I would suggest to all of us that when you see something suspicious, take out your phone.” He even drew a few laughs when he said to pull out your phone even if you have low battery. The gathering agreed on this first tangible step: Take out your cellphone to record any suspicious police encounter.

There was another proposal on the floor for discussion, banking black, in essence withdrawing money out of white-owned banks and depositing into Black-owned banks. The discussion became dialectical when anticipating the opposing views—the naysayers. “If we make one statement … just one statement and go to Chase and say I want my money—little or much—it’s a statement!” said Plumber. “It is a statement … by statement by statement by statement. Because what they’ll get in their minds is, ‘Wow, like Harriet Tubman said. they’re waking up.’ You have no idea of the psychological impact.”

After a brief debate, consensus was reached on the second tangible step , a commitment to banking Black with Carver Federal Savings Bank. They also agreed the second phase of their plan of action will include discussion around boycotting major retail outlets such as Target, Walmart, etc.

Mr. Omowale Clay explained, “I’m going to show you how I’m going to assert my authority over you—period. Our response is to talk loud and draw a crowd to assert our authority over them.”