Three Days of Protest Against Police Violence in New York City
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s Rise Up October campaign brought thousands into the streets of New York for three days of actions against police lawlessness. At a “Say Their Names” rally, Kadeem Williams, whose brother O’Shane was killed by San Francisco police, told the crowd: “It’s time to fight back, people. Quit asking your oppressor for something that you’re not gonna get. Quit putting your hands up and saying ‘Don’t shoot.’ Put that fist up and fight back.”
Internationalizing the Struggle
Family members of victims of police violence testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, agency of the Organization of American States, in Washington, DC. Martinez Sutton, the brother of Rekia Boyd, who was killed by a Chicago cop in 2012, said he is constantly harassed by police in retaliation for standing up for his sister. “At times I feel I am the next to die, and that it could happen to me at any moment,” said Sutton. “I’m still trying to find justice, but – what is justice? To me, it’s ‘just ice’ to numb the situation.”
Justin Hansford, a professor at St. Louis University School of Law, told the commission that racialized policing in the U.S. cannot be reformed, but must be abolished. “At some point, we will have to muster the courage as a society to demand more than simply asking to retrain the monster, or set up a review board for the monster, or put a body camera on the monster,” said Hansford. “Eventually, global civil society will have to defang this monster and put it to sleep once and for all.”
Black Is Back Coalition to March on the White House
On November 7, the Black Is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations will march on the White House to demand Black community control of the police. A conference will follow on the next day at Howard University, under the theme “Black Power Matters.” “It is about Black self-determination,” said Coalition chairman Omali Yeshitela. “If we want people to stop killing us, then we have to have the power, ourselves, to stop it. We have to drive the movement in the direction of Black people accepting responsibility for our own future.”
Blacks Get No Protection from Obama
The National Black Church Initiative, a coalition of African American denominations, denounced the Obama Administration for appearing “impotent” in the face of seven church burnings in St. Louis and ongoing attacks against Blacks by racist police. “The Administration does not see a pattern, or launch a systematic investigation against this mentality,” said Initiative director Rev. Anthony Evans. “There has been absolutely no movement.” Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch “have failed consistently to protect the Black community from these white racist murderous thugs who are in our law enforcement.”
Faizan Syed, director of the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Israeli Relations, expressed solidarity with the Black Christian community. “As American Muslims, we recognize that our liberation is completely linked with the African American struggle for justice, fairness and equality in this country,” he said. “Until everybody is free from terror, then nobody can be free of it.”
Mumia and the Cuban Health Model
The nation’s best known political prisoner, like thousands of Pennsylvania prison inmates, has been denied effective treatment for hepatitis-c, the disease that brought Mumia Abu Jamal to the brink of death, earlier this year. This could not have happened in Cuba, according to Dr. Melissa Barber, who runs the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization’s program that sends U.S. students to Cuba for free medical school. In Cuba, doctors learn not to treat patients “like a dollar bill,” said Barber. Sick or injured prisoners “wouldn’t have cracked jaws or be beaten up on the way to the hospital; they would be treated humanely by physicians that can see them when they need health care, in a country with little resources.” Free health care is a right in Cuba, which has been very successful in treating hepatitis-c.
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