Voices from National Day of Protest,
October 22, 1998
We Stand United Against Police Brutality
Revolutionary Worker #984, November 29, 1998
Carl Dix is a founding member of the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality and a national spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party. Here are his remarks at the October 22nd rally in New York.I don't know how y'all are feeling, sisters and brothers, but I'm feeling damn good. I'm feeling good cuz we kicked Giuliani's ass.
We're here today to deliver a serious message. We're here to say no more to brutal, murdering cops. No more to repression and police state policies. No more to the criminalization of an entire generation of our young people. No more to Giuliani's whole police-state program. And we're delivering that message together with people all across the country, in over 50 cities.
Today is a national day of protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation.
Now, we had to fight to be able to deliver this message. As all of you know, Adolf Giuliani and his lapdog Safir tried to stop this message from being delivered. Now we need to look at this, sisters and brothers. Giuliani and the NYPD, their hands are dripping with blood. They're dripping with blood of the children of all of these mothers and fathers up here whose lives were stolen by the NYPD. That's the New York Pig Department. They're dripping with the blood of many, many more people. You know, these people with their hands dripping with blood want to come up and say that these mothers didn't have the right to protest police brutality. They wanted to come up and say that this young generation out here didn't have the right to protest being criminalized. That's what they was trying to say. That's what they was trying to stop us from doing.
We kicked his ass! And our march and rally today are the fruits of that victory.
But as we stand with that victory, we also need to be clear that we can't rest on that victory. We've got to keep getting busy. We've gotta be busy against police brutality not just on October 22nd. We've gotta be fighting it on October 23rd and year long because this is a nationwide epidemic we're looking at, sisters and brothers. We've got to keep on documenting the reality of police murder in the Stolen Lives Project. We've got to keep on giving a platform for the victims of police brutality to speak up, and we have to keep on reaching out in society to win others to stand with them--and together build and erect a giant stop sign to police brutality.
But there's a million more reasons why we've got to keep getting busy, sisters and brothers. We've gotta keep getting busy because this whole system is messed up. It's messed up, and the way we will really get free is when we rise up and get rid of this rotten capitalist system through revolution, sisters and brothers.
Now some people might say that's an extreme program. But we're up against an extreme situation and an extreme system.
I mean what good is a system that imprisons and executes its children rather than educate and cherish them?
What good is a system that throws people off of welfare and bails out billion- dollar banks?
What good is a system that tolerates and gives a green light to police murder?
I say a system like that deserves to be overthrown through revolution, sisters and brothers.
See, as a revolutionary, when I fight against police brutality, I'm also working to build a movement, a revolutionary movement that can contribute to that kind of solution. And I call on all of those who hate this system as much I do to get down with the Revolutionary Communist Party and its youth group the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade.
But I've also gotta say another serious point and that's whether or not you agree with me on the need for revolution, if you can see that police brutality is wack, that it's wrong and it needs to be stopped, then we've all gotta get down together and fight against it. Whatever perspective you're coming from, whether you're Black, white, red, yellow, whatever, whether you're a professional, grassroots, working class, we all have to get together because it's only through that kind of unity and persevering in the struggle that we're gonna put these brutal, murdering cops--and those who give them the green light--in check, sisters and brothers.
Stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation!
October 22, 1998 saw a significant mix of people from different viewpoints and political trends come together and unite to stop police brutality, repression, and the criminalization of a generation. Here are some of the voices who spoke out on that day around the country:
Ron Daniels, Director,
Center for Constitutional Rights, New York:
When we fight against police brutality, we're not just fighting against police brutality. We're fighting against a society that would deny us jobs, housing, health care.... We are fighting for a society which is going to be a decent society where every human being has basic human rights and that's what Giuliani wants to deny, that's what the right-wing politicians would like to deny, that's who the police department is working for, those right-wing fascist forces that do not want democracy and development for the masses of our people.... We also want to congratulate the October 22nd Coalition and the Stolen Lives Project has demonstrated that we have an epidemic of police murder in this country, in these United States of America. So we all have to work together. We have to work in a united front.
Mario Tafura, Amnesty International,
Despite the fact that the United States is the self-proclaimed land of the free and home of the brave, there are ongoing, systematic human rights violations committed daily at all levels of government and in all branches of law enforcement. That includes the police, the FBI, the CIA and the Border Patrol.... Across the country thousands of individual complaints about police abuse are reported each year. Police officers have beaten, shot and killed unresisting suspects. They have misused batons, chemical sprays and electroshock weapons. And they have injured and killed people by placing them in dangerous restraint holds.
Omowale Clay, December 12th Movement, New York:
We're not going to allow them to establish fascism in America. We're going to march, we're going to fight. we're going to send a message to the people that you need to be in...whose streets? Our streets! From young Clifford Glover who was murdered at 10 years old in 1973 all the way to Anthony Baez--in the spirit of all those brothers and sisters who died at three o'clock in the morning by themselves, alone with these pigs-- we say...fuck the police!
Marcos Vilar, National Committee to
Free Puerto Rican Political Prisoners
& Prisoners of War, Chicago:
I'm Puerto Rican and I don't forget...for a hundred years we've been brutalized, oppressed--police brutality, soldier brutality, prisons brutality, judge brutality and all kinds of brutality.... Free Mumia Abu- Jamal. Free all political prisoners and free the 15 Puerto Rican prisoners of war and political prisoners.
Megan Ortiz, National Congress
Puerto Rican Rights, New York:
In a school last week 26 students were attacked by pepper spray when police tried to subdue one student up in the Bronx. That was just a taste of what's going to happen to our young people if the young people inside the schools don't organize and stage a walkout if necessary to keep the pigs out of their schools. So I want to tell all of you to organize against the cops in schools, to organize against the cops that are killing our children and our young people.
Phillip Hall, activist from the Matthew Shepard funeral attacked by New York City police on October 19, New York:
I have a message to send to the mayor: you will make this city unsafe for people of color over my dead body; you will make this city a haven for bashers over my dead body!
Minister Tony Muhammad, Western Regional
Headquarters of the Nation of Islam,
We cry out to stop police brutality.... We cry out and we warn America.
New York Civil Liberties Union, New York:
Police brutality is a serious and substantial problem. Three myths that I don't want you to believe any longer: Number one, they say over and over again it's an isolated incident. Not true. Not true. Since 1994, since Giuliani took over, there have been over 12,000 allegations of excessive force filed at the Civilian Complaint Review Board.... Number two: They say that it's only a few bad apples. Not true. There's a systemic problem at the NYPD. There is a legacy of racism, of sexism and homophobia.... And the third myth: they say over and over again there are no racial overtones to it. Not true--53 percent of the complaints are filed by the African-American community and 80 percent of the complaints are filed by Blacks and Latinos.... Giuliani has created a new New York. It is increasingly authoritarian and repressive. We do not have to accept it and we can, we can and we must fight back.
Pastor Andrew Robinson-Gaither,
Faith United Methodist Church,
National Coordinator of the Faith Initiative
of the October 22nd Coalition, Los Angeles:
Where there is no struggle there can be no change. Free the people! This is the most significant grassroots movement of people of color and others in America today.
Representative of the Zulu Nation, New York:
Do not fear what you see... We say stand up, and raise your heads proudly and let them know we want no injustice no more.
Hector Torres, Almighty Latin King
and Queen Nation, New York:
Remember this, whether you're Rodney King, Martin Luther King or a Latin King, they're gonna try to whip your ass when the lights are out.
Sister from the Watts Committee
Against Police Brutality, Los Angeles:
We got something beautiful growing up in Watts. We are getting organized and fighting back against police brutality.... We blow whistles if the police are trying to brutalize or murder somebody. We come out of our houses, get up in their face and take pictures as evidence... We refuse to accept our people being beaten, choked, pepper-sprayed, locked up and murdered. We are human beings, we demand to be treated with dignity and respect.
Bear Lincoln, whose friend Acorn Peters
was murdered by a police ambush,
The police are not here to protect you and serve you; the police are your enemies. They will shoot you. They will kill your family. You must believe that, because that's why a lot of us are here today, because our families have been murdered, been killed. And we must stand against the police. We must stand together, and we will be stronger than them.
Travis Morales, supporter of
the Revolutionary Communist Party and member of
the Houston Ad Hoc October 22 Coalition:
We all have different views about what we are going to do. But I have to say very clearly that if we're serious about putting an end to this violence that kills us in our cities, that kills us at the border like Esequiel Hernandez, that goes around the world killing our sisters and brothers like they did in Iraq--we're going to continue to have this violence against us day after day till we overthrow by revolution this system that oppresses us and people all over the world. Now I know a lot of you may not agree with that right now and that's cool because in the meantime we have to be fighting the system today. We have to be fighting the attacks whether they be the police brutality in the cities, the Migra brutality at the border, the way they're building more prisons and jails instead of building schools for our kids, the way they're painting all our young people because of the way they dress or the color of their skin or the way the speak as nothing but animals and criminals that should be locked up.
Jim Lafferty, National Lawyers Guild and
Coordinating Committee of National October 22nd Coalition,
speaking in Detroit on 10/22:
They tried to stop the march in New York, but they failed. And I'm proud to say it was Lawyers Guild lawyers, with the Center for Constitutional Rights, who won that victory. We're very proud as well that we're part of the Stolen Lives Project... Our message to corporate America today is that our day will come. Stay tuned.
Rev. Paul L. Jakes, Jr.; Chair of
the Christian Council on Urban Affairs, Chicago:
Today let us remember the sacred words of Isaiah, who teaches us that we have come to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of the prisons, them that are bound.
Michael Novick, People Against Racist Terror
(P.A.R.T.), Los Angeles:
We need to understand that they have their boots on our necks every minute because they know that as soon as they let up, that we will be at their throats, tearing the system down.
Angela Sanbrano, Central American
Refugee Center, Los Angeles:
In this time we are unfortunately experiencing too many situations where police acted with excessive force and killed people who witnesses say did not pose a threat to the police... In the immigrant community we are experiencing a similar situation where undocumented workers are being killed by border patrol agents. These incidents are escalating.
Donald Evans, Families to Amend
California's Three Strikes, Los Angeles:
Every one of the young people here today are those that are threatened by this 3 strikes law. It gives police authority to beat our heads, frame our children and then put them in prison.
John Shapley, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement,
Daily, constantly, even now as we speak, prisoners are being brutalized by the police inside the system.... We cannot be free until we set our political prisoners and prisoners of war free.
Henry Howard, Refuse & Resist!,
We have the right, the duty and the power to stand as one people, to speak with one voice, to send the clearest message to the reactionary movement, to the racists and women haters, to the gay bashers and welfare slashers, to the prison builders and executioners, we say the future is not yours--Refuse and Resist!
John Crew, ACLU Police Practices Commission,
San Francisco Bay Area:
We have to stop tolerating the code of silence, not just in our police but in our politicians, who take an attitude of `hear no evil, see no evil' about police misconduct.
Yuri Kochiyama, veteran revolutionary activist,
It's a wonderful feeling. It shows how many people are against the police and against police brutality and repression and the criminalization of a generation. It shows how together the people are, how politically and socially aware they are.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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