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On Friday, June 16, as soon as she heard that the cop who murdered Philando Castile was acquitted, 16-year-old Lucy Siale posted on Facebook a call for a Black Lives Matter protest the next day, less than 24 hours after the verdict, at Oscar Grant Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. About 400 people came out. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.
He was born David Rice and, in his youth, he joined an offshoot of the Black Panther Party, a decision that would change his life’s trajectory. For, when he and another young man, Edward Poindexter, joined the National Committee to Combat Fascism (NCCF), they walked into the crosshairs of the state. Political prisoner Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa died March 11 at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary.
Michael Brown? ... I had never heard of him ... had never heard anything he’d done ... before the news of his death came ... whoever he might have become ... whatever he might have achieved ... had he lived longer ... not been riddled lifeless by ... bullets from Darren Wilson’s gun ... and crumpled on the pavement of a Ferguson street ... for more than four hours in ... the heat of that August day ... and before ... I’d never heard of Trayvon Martin
Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police. So far in 2015, there have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, was of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toys, according to the Washington Post. Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.
The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund supports the decision of the Brooklyn grand jury to indict NYPD Officer Peter Liang for the crime of manslaughter in the killing of Akai Gurley in November of 2014. Mr. Gurley was, in the words of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, a “total innocent,” who was shot and killed while walking in the stairwell of the Pink Houses, a public housing development in Brooklyn.
Assigned to the Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB) unit, I found 80-plus patients suffering torture, sexual abuse and neglect. President Obama would recognize it as torture. The vast majority of victims were Black or Hispanic, all the abusers White. Cold, dark cells hold captives in isolated sensory deprivation – drugged, sick and in pain. Nurses prevented death only to prolong torment, sometimes for years. The number of patients suffering preventable deaths during “medical treatment” in CDCR facilities may exceed all legal executions nationwide.
The marches in the streets are not done. The die-ins disrupting traffic are not done. Any kind of closure for the families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and so many others is far from done. Athletic protest actions have the effect of amplifying the impact of a new struggle for human dignity in the face of racism. It has found expression in all 50 states and in solidarity actions in cities around the world, all with the message that Black lives matter.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.