From #StopTheCops to #RiseUpOctober, this past weekend was host to major rallies and marches with the same mission: Resist against a system that refuses to value the lives of people of color. Here’s how it all went down.
New York City
On Saturday, October 24, thousands of people united under the #RiseUpOctober banner and marched through the streets of Manhattan demanding an end to police violence against citizens. Organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and lead by Cornel West and Carl Dix (spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA), the march was the culmination of three days of activity, which included a rally and march in Brooklyn on Thursday to mark the date as the 20th Annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Murder, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation and time to say the names of victims held in Times Square on the same day; and an hour-long shut down of business outside New York’s Rikers Island jail facility on the 23rd.
Among Saturday’s marchers were dozens of family members of people who have died at the hands of the police, including Kadiatou, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who was killed by the NYPD in 1999.
Other speakers included professor West, Oscar Grant’s “Uncle Bobby,” “Vagina Monlogues” playwright Eve Ensler and “Django Unchained” director Quentin Tarantino. The New York Daily News reports that NYPD union the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is asking New Yorkers to boycott Tarantino’s movies in response to his speech. “I’m a human being with a conscience,” he said, per the Associated Press. “And if you believe there’s murder going on, then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered.”
The rally began at Washington Square North, then participants marched up Sixth Avenue and rallied again near Bryant Park. And a group of about 200 continued on to Times Square after the conclusion of the official event. Eleven people were arrested, including a man whose crime was standing on a bench. He had a 2-year-old child on his shoulders at the time of his arrest.
These posts summarize the day:
Following the action, West and Dix posted the following message:
Brothers and sisters, fellow resisters: You are beautiful. You have straightened your backs and can inspire millions of others. The spirit of Rise Up must go forward—and that spirit needs to be made manifest in STRUGGLE and ORGANIZATION. Be out there on November 22, the anniversary of Tamir Rice’s murder. Be out there November 27, to actively boycott Black Friday. Be out there December 3, one year after the cops who murdered Eric Garner were exonerated. Be out there, making a powerful force of the voices of the relatives of those murdered by police. Be out there, carrying forward the struggle to shut down Rikers Island. And be there this next month, at organizing meetings of Rise Up.
On Saturday, the Black Youth Project 100 joined with We Charge Genocide, Assata’s Daughters and Organized Communities Against Deportations to demonstrate at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference. “Together, we’re organized to demand that our lives, our communities and our futures be made a priority,” the groups said in a press release. “The police chiefs who belong to the IACP, and their local departments have a debt to pay for the lives and the resources they’ve stolen and we’re here to collect.”
The 300+ participants in the #StopTheCops march had the following demands as they moved from the Chicago PD headquarters to the site of the conference where they held a sit-in:
We demand all local, state and federal budgets to defund the police and invest those dollars and resources in Black futures.
We want reparations for chattel slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration.
We want to end all profit from so-called “criminal justice” punishment—both public and private.
We want a guaranteed income for all, living wages, a federal jobs program, and freedom from discrimination for all workers.
We want the labor of Black transgender and cisgender women (unseen and seen, unpaid and paid) to be valued and supported, not criminalized and marginalized.
We want investments in Black communities that promote economic sustainability and eliminate the displacement of our people.
Activists shut down the entrance to the building where the conference was being held, and briefly replaced the American flag with one that read “Unapologetically Black.” Sixty-six people were arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing traffic, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The day in pictures and video:
Saturday saw the streets of this New York college town filled with more than 200 protestors who participated in “Black Lives Matter: A Community Conversation on Surviving and Thriving” a solidarity march and teach-in. Organized by Cornell University’s Black Students United, Social Justice Council at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca and the Ithaca branch of Showing Up for Racial Justice, the action moved from the Bernie Milton Pavilion to Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, where the three-hour teach-in was held. The Cornell Daily Sun billed it as the city’s first Black Lives Matter event.
”#AllLivesMatter is a form of white supremacy because its not an organic movement its a response to the movement for black lives” BLMTeachIn— BSU_Cornell (@BSU_Cornell) October 24, 2015
“Until the killing of black men becomes as important to the country as the killing of a white men we who believe in freedom cannot rest”— BSU_Cornell (@BSU_Cornell) October 24, 2015