October 22--it's coming. A National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. And people ask: will it really change things? And people wonder: can it accomplish what is needed?
We don't need to talk here about what the enemy has been doing. It fills our press every week, and we don't even cover 1 percent of what could be covered on this.
And we don't need to talk here about how the program plays out for the people. Sweated in the streets for being "the wrong color"...or losing a loved one for playing football without permission (yes, this happened to the Baez family in New York)...or seeing people like you demonized and disrespected in all the media, all the time.
We don't need to talk here about what it is like to see killers in blue go free, time after time after time. And we don't need to talk here about how the fear and anger of many middle class people gets misdirected against the people on the bottom, the people under the gun of the police. We talk about this a lot, and it's very important that it BE talked about and brought out, over and over, what with the way the big-time liars try to turn the truth on its head...but not in this piece, right now.
This piece is about how we begin to change that, big-time. About how we got an opportunity on October 22, and about how we--all of us --really have to seize it with all our heart.
Imagine this: you walk out on the morning of October 22 and you see other people on the street in black, people you never knew, or knew just to nod at--and like you, they're in black. And you know why and they know why. The sister delivering the mail sporting a black ribbon. The guy behind the counter all in black. You go downtown, or punch in at work, or hit the subway, or roll by school, and you see people wearing black. Lots of people. You see the posters in the bodegas or the beauty shops, you even see a public service announcement on TV: October 22, Fight Police Brutality, Wear Black.
You go food-shopping--you see some sisters wearing black jeans, black shirts, talking serious. Or you go to school, and not only is everyone wearing black, some of the students are demanding to talk about this problem...and the best teachers are standing with them on it.
Or you're on the street, and you see some cop begin to sweat and abuse and slap around some brother for nothing, for drinking out of a paper bag or some other trifling thing, and the cop looks around and he sees people in black standing all around him... and he feels he's got to back up off his shit, at least for now.
Imagine this: actors on the radio reading lists of victims of police brutality, maybe telling a little bit on each one, how they were murdered, or how they "died in custody." Imagine the news getting out on the radio, the TV: demonstrations, diverse & determined, in Chicago, New York, L.A., all over. Mixing up young and old, all colors, people from the 'hoods, sympathetic people from the suburbs, and all people in between. Gang members from different sets all wearing black for this day, uniting with students from across town. Imagine yourself in a march, maybe your first or maybe your hundredth, with youth organized in squads, acting as honor guard for the relatives of victims marching at the front.
Imagine the night. A culture of resistance takes shape at concerts, at spoken-word events, at all kinds of gatherings. A different spirit on the street. United. Determined.
Imagine jolting the whole damn society awake, putting things back in focus. Like who are the real criminals? Who are the ones that PUT the dope in the communities and who took the jobs out? Who are the ones who build the prisons and close the schools?
Imagine this: all across the country people getting a different idea on who's really representing justice, who's really representing courage--the political liars and blue-coated brutalizers, or the people who stand up and put out the truth?
IF we all pull together, and IF we all work harder and fight harder than we've worked or fought in a long, long time--we can make imagination reality. We can take some really urgent steps on a path to a different place.
What would it mean? One student put it this way: "Everybody wearing black, every-body shouting the same thing, everybody with the same message, telling America, `Look, this is it, there's a new day coming, a whole new frontier, we are the ones who will be in control.' "
There are times when a movement needs to marshal all its strength for a powerful blow against the oppressor. When old antagonisms must be overcome, or put aside, because of the greater antagonism we face. Times when everyone strives together to change the way things are.
The response so far to October 22 has shown us that there is a moment here to seize. It has shown us the potential--the question is up to all of us as to whether we move to seize that moment, to realize that potential, and on what scale. Acting together we can force the truth out. The diversity of who's come together on this--and the still greater diversity we must and can marshal in the next few weeks and days--can inspire those who've given up hope and awaken those who've been walking in a fog. The determination that we will show on that Day--and we WON'T let them turn us around--will draw forward new people.
People will see who has justice on their side for real--and they will see the growth of a movement against this injustice. They will see a movement where there is unity and struggle--where we unite all who can be united for a powerful new expression of resistance that can seriously begin to turn the tide on October 22.
What do we need to do? Hook up with the organizing committees. Hook up with your friends. Take this National Day of Protest into the social clubs, the art scene, the unions, the student groups, the churches and mosques and temples, the fraternities and sororities, the professional associations, and everywhere else you belong or know people. If you need help in putting this out, then ask for help: the kind of movement we're building has to be one where every-one learns, everyone teaches, everyone works together to solve the problems and seize the opportunities. YOU--YOUR BRAIN, HEART, MUSCLE, DREAMS--ARE NEEDED!
Get to the committees & get posters and T-shirts and buttons that can spread this further.
The time is now. Seize the time.