Concerned citizens are being urged to wear black Oct. 22, 2020, as they and organizers recognize the 25th annual Protest Against Police Brutality being held Thursday (3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) in Union Square Park, Lower Manhattan, NYC.
Grassroots activists have scheduled the gathering to protest the national issue of police brutality, as well as discuss the feasibility of defunding the NYPD. Hosted by the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, the event will also be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/O22NY.
Their press release reads: “The National Day of Protest aims to bring forward a powerful, visible, national protest against police brutality and the criminalization of a generation. It aims to expose the state’s repressive program. It aims to bring forward those most directly under the gun of Police Brutality AND to also reach into all parts of the society—bringing forward others to stand in the fight against this official brutality. And the National Day of Protest aims to strengthen the peoples’ organized capacity for resistance in a variety of ways.”
Due to the worldwide anti police brutality protests earlier this year sparked by the law enforcement killings of Breonna Taylor (March 13 in Louisville, Ky.), and George Floyd (May 25 in Minneapolis, Minn.), heightened attention has been paid to the tyranny imposed on African American communities.
A diverse group of family members and supporters of people killed and brutalized by law enforcement will rally and march Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Union Square Park located at the intersection of Broadway, 4th Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan.
The protest is part of a variety of events throughout the country taking place during this year’s 25th observance of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
“Coming days before the presidential elections on November 3, the National Day of Protest is being held in the midst of the largest mass uprisings against police brutality this country has seen in decades,” said Juanita Young. She is the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, 23, who was shot to death March 1, 2000 by NYPD Officer Louis Rivera in the Bronx.
The police murder of George Floyd May 25 in Minneapolis set off a summer of protests that have touched every state in the U.S. Despite the overwhelmingly peaceful nature of a vast majority of these protests, the response, both official and unofficial, has been heavily militarized and violent.
“People are sick of seeing police kill and not answer for it as anyone else would. We’re sick of racist mass incarceration and immigrant children getting locked up and separated from their families,” said Young.
In North Carolina, Gilbert Barber, 22, was involved in an automobile accident May 18, 2001, and subsequently was shot to death by Guilford County, N.C. Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gordy. Barber’s father, Calvert “Butch” Stewart, said this year the National Day of Protest has taken on a new meaning because the militarization, brutalization and killings by law enforcement across the nation has been intensified by the oppressive actions of right-wing terrorists against all people and especially people of color.
“We, the citizens of this nation, have to stand up and speak against the tactics used by all law enforcement nationwide,” said Stewart. “If there aren’t any civil actions in your area, you can stand in solidarity with the families that have been victimized by law enforcement by wearing black on October 22.”
The co-author of this article Andree Penix Smith is the mother of Justin Smith who “was beaten to death by five sheriffs while unarmed and handcuffed following a high speed chase when they attempted to pull him over, they claimed, for a faulty headlight on a deserted road in Tulsa, Okla., Aug. 14, 1998. He stopped the car when he reached an area where there were potential witnesses. While they were beating him, he couldn’t defend himself because of the handcuffs so he spit in one of the officer’s faces, and that’s when they stomped and choked him to death. A witness told me his last words were, ‘I CAN’T BREATHE!’”
The organizers’ press release continues: “This year marks the 25th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation, and it is taking place in a time of both great danger and enormous possibility. The explosion of righteous nationwide protest this summer has taken things to a level we could have only dreamed of when we started the October 22nd Coalition back in 1996, but it is also happening during a time of growing fascism.”
They are asking supporters to do three things:
- Endorse the call using the 2020 October 22 National Day of Protest endorsement form here: shorturl.at/jCNP0
- Contact any local Stolen Lives families with whom you have contacts and ask them if they would like to be listed as supporters of this call, using the Endorsement Form above.
- Contact email@example.com or log onto http://www.october22.org.