Revolution Online, April 12, 2012
Day of Outrage Lives Up to Its Name: Hundreds in NYC Resist the Murder of Trayvon Martin
Revolution received the following report:
A spirited multinational crowd of hundreds of people, of all ages, turned out in Lower Manhattan April 10 for a national Day of Outrage: We Are All Trayvon Martin; The Whole Damn System Is Guilty! The Day of Outrage took place one day before George Zimmerman, the man who carried out a modern American lynching of Travyon Martin more than six weeks earlier, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
A dominant theme voiced during a rally at Union Square and an energetic and defiant march afterwards was that people are plain fed up: fed up that yet another young Black man has been murdered in cold blood; fed up at the brutalization, murder, incarceration, harassment and terror that Black people in this country face on a daily basis; and fed up at those who are not fed up.
"Enough is enough," said J, a 40-year-old Black woman who attended the rally. "It's time we stood up and made noise."
J said she had been motivated to turn out because she is "an activist at heart," and that it breaks her heart to see so many unarmed youth of color killed. Her cousin was one of those murdered by the system; he was Tasered to death about two years ago. J said that she knows what it is like to have someone murdered and not receive any justice.
K, a 30-year-old white woman, held a homemade sign that read; "Throwing flour on Kim Kardashian will get you ARRESTED. But stalking and killing an unarmed child WON'T?? WTF." The first part of the sign referred to an incident in which a woman was arrested for throwing flour on Kim Kardashian at a recent red-carpet event. The reality spoken to in this sign, K said, "makes it impossible to ignore that we have some very deep problems with our justice system in this country."
She continued: "To me, there's not a lot of nuance to this—it was an innocent kid with no criminal record walking through a neighborhood, and somebody who clearly has some issues follows him and shoots him. I just can't understand how some people can not be outraged. I'm more sad about the people who aren't outraged. And that includes people I know."
K was asked if she had any sense of why people she knows are not more outraged. "Because they believe the sound bytes from the right-wing media that Trayvon was a thug," K replied. "They take that at face value."
One young Black man wearing a hoodie spoke on the microphone to this system's demonization of entire generations of Black youth. "We're nothing but gangsters. We're nothing but thugs," he said, angrily characterizing this demonization. He connected the murder of Trayvon Martin to a system that is the "most heinous," "most racist," and "most exploitative" that has ever existed, and causes suffering all over the world.
He denounced as intolerable a situation in which 2.5 million people—the majority of them Black and Latino—are locked in prison, many of them in solitary confinement, while the cops murder and harass young Black men on a regular basis. He ended by calling on people of all nationalities to stand up. "This is a human problem," he said.
Sunsara Taylor, a writer for Revolution newspaper, began her comments on the mic by talking about the case of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Black youth visiting Mississippi in 1955 who went to the store to get candy and—after whistling at a white woman—was taken by white men and beaten beyond recognition before being shot to death and dumped in a river; the men who lynched Emmett Till were acquitted in one hour by an all-white jury and never punished. (See "Emmett Till and Lynchings, Past and Present," an excerpt from Revolution: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, by Bob Avakian, in Revolution #264).
"Here we are," Taylor said, "57 years later!"
And today, she continued, there are more Black men in prison than were enslaved in 1860. Taylor then posed the question: "Is this going to be going on 57 years from now?"
We need a real revolution and a new state power, she told the crowd, to put an end to lynchings like that of Trayvon Martin, and to the mass incarceration and slow genocide that could accelerate, that is carried out against Black people in this country—all of which would be reasons enough to make revolution—as well as horrors such as the U.S. bombings of people all around the world, the astounding numbers of women who are raped and battered, and the destruction of the environment.
Taylor emphasized the April 19 Day of Resistance to Stop Mass Incarceration (see Revolution #265) and urged everyone to get a copy of Revolution newspaper before leaving.
Taylor said that people must not stop until getting justice for every Trayvon Martin. For every Ramarley Graham. Every Sean Bell. Every Troy Davis. Every Oscar Grant. Every person who had raised their hands earlier when one speaker asked people at the rally to do so if they knew someone who had been profiled, or beaten, or killed by police.
"This must end!" Taylor said. "And we must be the people who end it."
Revolution asked L, a 25-year-old Dominican man who grew up in Brooklyn, what had motivated him to attend the Day of Outrage.
"I'm with anything that stands against any abuses of power or any injustice," he said. "I stand for that. I'm with anyone willing to fight against it." L said it was exciting to be part of an expression of outrage against the murder of Trayvon Martin, but also infuriating that there was a necessity to do so. "I'm feeling a little angry," L said, "because this has been going on forever."
J, the 40-year-old Black woman whose cousin was Tasered to death, expressed a similar sentiment. "It's sad that we have to do it," she said, "but it's good that we're able to do it."
J cited the history of the sit-ins and protests of the 1960s as evidence of the impact of people standing up. "History has taught us," J said, "that this stuff does work." A moment later, she added: "History has been repeating itself, but we just don't have that leader yet."
Actually, we do. In Bob Avakian, the chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, humanity does have the leadership it needs to make revolution and get to a world free of all exploitation and oppression. Revolution told J about Avakian—the fact that he came out of the struggles of the 1960s, in which he worked closely with the Black Panthers, and had gone on to develop a whole new synthesis of communism on the basis of studying both the tremendously positive achievements and also the shortcomings of the past experience of the communist revolution and also drawing from a wide range of human endeavor. J was urged to check out Revolution in hard copy and online and find out more about Avakian's leadership. J expressed that she would be interested in doing so.
K, the 30-year-old white woman with the sign about Kim Kardashian, spoke about her brother, a person of color who lives in Chicago and is harassed constantly by the police. K. said her brother often expresses to her that he wishes he could leave Chicago and go somewhere where he won't be hounded because he is a youth of color who dresses in a hip-hop style.
"But honestly," K said, "I don't know where that place is. Where can he go?"
He can go to this movement for revolution that Bob Avakian is leading. A movement working every day towards a world in which no one will ever again have to ask that question.
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