Revolution #248, October 23, 2011

Houston Day of Defiance

From readers:

Oct. 21—Scores of youth in an inner city school with mainly Black students participated in The Day of Defiance, by wearing Black jackets and/or armbands, and participating in a speak out against police brutality.

This school has been the scene of heavy repression on a daily basis, and intense clampdowns at different points. Last year the school was put on lockdown on October 22, and some students were suspended just for having a copy of Revolution. All the youth at the speakout had experienced or witnessed police brutality. It was a scene where one youth would be telling a story, and others would chime in as their story unfolded. As one youth said, "the story is, we all got stories". Youth said whenever they are acting rowdy with each other, "the police, they be handling us kinda rough, like you can't just separate people? That ain't right." Some of the youth who were initially most confrontational, challenging the revolutionaries, turned out to have deep questions about the situation—why does it keep happening to us, is it the same everywhere, how can it be ended, or is this just the way things are?.

They said the police continually just come in and beat people up; in one case they beat up a 12-year-old boy they accused of organizing dog fights. They also cuffed his 5 year old sister and threw her in a police car, and shot his dog. This 12-year-old is now serving 6 months in the state juvenile system. As the youth were gathering and testifying, police cars circled the area, taking pictures and trying to intimidate people. But most of the youth were not intimidated—many took extra leaflets to take to other students and friends. There was also a lot of talk about "the New Jim Crow." Some had seen a documentary on TV the night before, and one youth pointed out that one in nine Black youth are caught up in the prison system. One young woman said "in Sugar Land [a suburb that holds several prisons], the prisoners are still picking cotton!"

Very few of these youth knew about the Occupy Houston protests taking place just a couple of miles away, but most had a lot of interest in learning about it, and thought it was great that middle class people like that were also rebelling against the system.

Also, Occupy Houston has endorsed the October 22 march and rally in Houston and called on people to participate in it, and we just learned that Occupy San Antonio has endorsed the rally in that city.

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