Revolution #264, April 1, 2012

Harlem, New York

In the Face of Police Attack, Youth Say: "We Are All Trayvon Martin!"

We received this correspondence:

Harlem's St. Nicholas Park is near several high schools and a public college campus, where many students often run into revolutionaries, and have been part of testifying and taking action against police brutality and other outrages.

Earlier this week, students going through the park and just hanging out grabbed up flyers of the Revolutionary Communist Party statement "On the Murder of Trayvon Martin" and posters with a picture of Trayvon that said "We Are All Trayvon Martin" and "The Whole Damn System Is Guilty" and "Get With the Real Revolution." They were connecting what happens to them and what they worry about, with the 17-year-old who was murdered in Florida. As some students talked about this and others just hung out, school police and city cops suddenly appeared, and demanded that they leave the park. 

As more and more cop cars arrived, the police starting herding the students like cattle down the sidewalk and out of the area. A young man said under his breath, "Why they always treat us like this?" The police pushed the students, about 100 strong, down a grassy hill out of the park. The students started holding the poster of Trayvon over their heads and as they crossed the street a spontaneous chant went up from the youth, "We want Justice! We want Justice!"

Something new, important, and inspiring was happening right there on the spot. In the next block, more students joined as they came out of school. Young guys were yelling "Put your hoodies on!" Kids were forcefully pulling their hoods up and yelling "We are all Trayvon Martin!" There were kids on both sides of the streets, it was not one march, but 4 or 5 groups, totaling about 200 kids in all.

One student took all the flyers that a young revolutionary was carrying, and started distributing them to everybody. At the intersections, some guys stopped in the middle of the street, facing the cars and held the posters up. There was talk about a "hoodie day" and a walk-out in the next days.

Now there were police vans with their sirens on, following the groups. Cops jumped out of the vans and ran at the kids, threatening them: "keep moving, keep moving, do you want to be arrested?" while they shouted on bullhorns from the vans, "If you stop, you spend the night in jail!" Every young person the cops saw was being forced out of the area, and the police did not even pretend the students had done anything illegal. They harassed students for the distance they were standing from the bus stop, for coming out of the store talking, for going into the store instead of leaving the area. Cries of "We're not doing anything wrong!" and "We're not moving!" were mixed in with "Justice for Trayvon!" When the cops harassed the kid for getting out the Trayvon Martin flyer, at first he looked confused, then he very pointedly held the flyer up directly in front of the cop's face, turned and moved on. 

About four blocks from the park, the police presence fizzled out. On his way back to the park, the young revolutionary met other groupings of youth. Some students came up to him, "Do you know what just happened? The police just threw a Black child through the window" at the bank a block from the park. Shattered glass was all over the sidewalk, and the bank had a hole in the plate glass on the side of the front entrance. People gathered at the corner outraged, and the cop stationed there tried to pacify them: "The officer told him to take his hands out of his pockets. The kid did not do so, so the officer didn't know what he might have in his pockets. And he miscalculated the force that he used when he put him up against the window." This only further enraged the people, one of whom said, "We don't want to hear anymore of that bullshit. This has to stop!" People and students broadly also commented about a 15-year-old young man that had been shot in the back by police a few blocks away on Sunday evening.
About 3:15 pm police cars and vans screeched to a halt across from the park where a young woman ran toward the subway. The cops caught her and cuffed her. Suddenly the area was once again full of dozens of cops surrounding and advancing on the students waiting for the bus near the subway with more arriving. The young revolutionary who had been talking to people about the Trayvon Martin statement from the RCP and their plans for a hoodie day, spoke up for the students and was thrown to the ground, handcuffed, and arrested.

The young woman arrested was back in school the next day. Students asked the next morning about the young revolutionary, and said that people were talking about how he had stood up for them. People all over need to take a stand against the outrageous way the police targeted the revolutionary and tried to suppress the righteous anger and protest of the youth.

We are All Trayvon Martin
The Whole Damn System is Guilty
Get With the Real Revolution


Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

What Humanity Needs
From Ike to Mao and Beyond