Revolution Online, October 27, 2011

Black Attorney at Occupy Wall Steet

"It is time. It's time."

On October 20, Carl Dix spoke at Occupy Wall Street about the importance of people joining the struggle to STOP Stop and Frisk—calling on them to come to Harlem for the October 21 rally and civil disobedience action at the police precinct. This is one of the interviews Revolution did with people that night in the park.

Revolution: What do you think about the struggle to STOP Stop & Frisk?

Older Black woman: The issue of stop and frisk, of unlawful detention, of holding people without any reasonable cause, looking to search them, all of that particularly as it impacts Black and Latino youth, that's been going on a long time, there is a whole history to this. In all movements there are cyclical advances and retreats and I think that my experience with former mass movements, or mass outcry against stop and frisk would probably go back to the 1960s during the period of really mass demonstrations, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the women's movement, where combinations of people of color who are always suspect anyway, regardless of whether they're rising up or not—when people of color are also in a period of where there is populous anger and organizing, they are going to be more susceptible to being stopped and frisked. That's the last time I remember effort to mobilize against stop and frisk, police brutality, and those kinds of things. And so I think that's a kind of re-raising of consciousness, awareness of the illegal police practices, of the state's efforts to repress the voices of people in revolt. It's just great to see that again. And I am very glad to see that there is going to be a rally, a big demonstration about this tomorrow, we need to do this we need to do more of this all the time.

Revolution: I was talking to someone about this yesterday and they said a lot of people support this, but this person was saying well, if a small number do this, what good can it do, even if it's a hundred people, is that really going to change anything? What do you think about that?

Older Black woman: A single spark can start a prairie fire.

Revolution: Mao said that, right?

Older Black woman: That's right.

Revolution: When we talked earlier and I had mentioned this analogy between what is needed now and the Civil Rights Movement. When people think about the Civil Rights Movement, they usually think about the big mass demonstrations, like in Washington D.C. But it didn't start out like this.

Older Black woman: People don't even realize that Rosa Parks did not just happen to sit down on a bus one day and just say I am tired. Rosa Parks was a trained organizer; she had been planning for a long, long time, to pick the right place and the right time to raise the public. She was part of other people who knew that there had to be a right place and a right time to begin the action. Even this as a beginning, we're here, we're here at day 31, this is only the beginning, even as we're seeing this thing getting replicated around the world. This again is only beginning of it. But I think there is a difference here. This is what is exciting to me. We did not have... last time I remember seeing this kind of action of people in the streets, we didn't have the kind of technology that we have today, Twitter, Facebook, etc. We didn't have it, so there wasn't the capability of getting the word out in this kind of way. And as I said, see what's happening, not just here. There are all these other places that have occupations going on. I think this is very symptomatic of the times. It is time. It's time.

Revolution: You mentioned that in the '60s there was this kind of coming together of people from different struggles, do you get that same feeling here?

Older Black woman: Look at it. I think the interesting thing... and I'm so glad that I finally got off my couch, got my baby boomer ass off my couch and finally got down here. I'm in Brooklyn. But you have to be here because how the media portrays it, you do not get that it is as diverse as this. Most of what you see on TV it looks like it is primarily the white left. But if you are here, you can see that this is an incredibly diverse crowd. This is the people at every single sector. We represent, my three friends, we represent—can I tell? [absolutely] I'm 62, she's 72, and she's 84. We're out here and just the idea that we three would be out here, these are things for which we've always believed in.

Revolution: What do you think would be the effect, if people here at Occupy Wall Street went to Harlem and participated in the STOP Stop and Frisk?

Older Black woman: I think that's what is called for. I think that is required. I understand that this group has been marching and been expanding and going into other areas. But, let me say this, as I understand it this is still a movement... this is really a coalition of mass movements, this is raw, this is not an organized single party, single line, single platform. There are a lot of people I know who are in this group who have either been victims of stop and frisk, have children, relatives who have been victims of stop and frisk, are likely just by being here, becoming victims of stop and frisk—to go to and support this rally in Harlem, I think this would make a huge difference. And I think it would also let the people of Harlem know that it's not just Downtown, it's Uptown, it's the, East Side, the West Side.

I am, boomer that I am, I'm like one of these people who started off in mass movements and then got, you know, I became a professional in the non-profit sector.

Revolution: Can I ask what your profession is?

Older Black woman: There have been a number of professions, but I'm actually an attorney. So that's why I do know something about stop and frisk.

Revolution: There are "people's lawyers" who are extremely important.

Older Black woman: That's how I actually became... coming out of the movements is how I decided I wanted to be a people's lawyer.

Revolution: You probably know the other saying by Mao, serve the people.

Older Black woman: Of course. Of course, are you kidding? But then I moved out of litigation to non-profit, but the problem with that is that it has become so professionalized, so bought off. What keeps the non-profit sector alive is big money, so that is an inherent contradiction. There was some point I was trying to make some point.... Oh, yeah, I became a professional, but this is what I live for. I come and see this, and this is what I live for. I hope that I see you tomorrow.

Revolution: You will see me tomorrow.

Older Black woman: OK, alright.

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