Revolution #250, November 13, 2011
New Freedom Fighters in Brooklyn:
28 Arrested in STOP “Stop and Frisk”Civil Disobedience
Revolution received the following report:
November 1, Brownsville, Brooklyn. The Network to Stop Mass Incarceration, participants in Occupy Wall Street, and people from the neighborhood joined together, nearly 100 strong, for a rally and march to STOP “Stop and Frisk.” Twenty-eight people were arrested participating in nonviolent civil disobedience outside the 73rd NYPD Precinct as others were part of bearing witness.
Among those arrested were: Rev. Luis Barrios, professor at John Jay College for Criminal Justice; Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party; Randy Credico, social comedian/activist and former director of the William Kunstler Fund for Racial Justice; Margaret Ratner Kunstler, widow of the late William Moses Kunstler; and Gbenga Akinnagbe, the actor who portrayed Chris Partlow on the TV show The Wire. The Washington Post, Channel 12 News, and Democracy Now! reported on the event.
This action was part of the movement to stop mass incarceration, which has initiated determined struggle to end the racist, illegitimate¸ illegal practice of stop-and-frisk by the NYPD. The police are on pace to stop-and-frisk over 700,000 people this year alone. Eight-five percent of those stopped and frisked are Black and Latino, and 90 percent of them are found to be not doing anything wrong at all.
The abuse of stop-and-frisk goes on all the time in Brownsville and people spoke bitterness and expressed their determination to end this illegal police practice. Nicholas Heyward, Sr., whose son was killed by police years ago, spoke along with several of those participating in the nonviolent civil disobedience. The rally grew as people from the neighborhood stopped to listen. Dix said he had put out a call for a new generation to step forward like the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement who challenged segregation—and that a number of young people have already answered that call and stepped up. He called them up to stand with him, and a multinational group of young people, Black, white, Latino, Asian, both men and women, gathered around him.
At the precinct, those engaging in civil disobedience formed a line right up in the face of the rows of police. As 28 people were arrested, people continued to chant, “We say no to the new Jim Crow, stop and frisk has got to go,” and “We won’t stop until we STOP stop and frisk,” “Stop and frisk don’t stop the crime, stop and frisk IS the crime.” After the arrests, one Brownsville resident said, “It touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Stop-and-frisk doesn’t affect me but it’s unjust, demeaning and dehumanizing.”
Out of the 28 people arrested, at least eight of them had been arrested at the first bold civil disobedience action to STOP “Stop and Frisk” on October 21 in Harlem where 33 people were arrested including Cornel West, Carl Dix, and several reverends and social justice activists (“From Up Against the Wall to Up in Their Faces . . . A Movement Has Begun to STOP ‘Stop and Frisk,’” Revolution #249, November 6, 2011).
Very significantly, many people from Occupy Wall Street have joined this struggle—some after hearing about stop-and-frisk for the first time. An OWS contingent marched up to Harlem for the first action on October 21; many from OWS participated in this Brooklyn action; and people from OWS have been an important part of ongoing organizing meetings to plan further actions to STOP “Stop and Frisk.”
When asked what difference this will make, a 30-year-old white male from Occupy Wall Street talked about his experience that day, for the first time participating in nonviolent civil disobedience: “I think it will make a huge difference because, you know, we marched in Harlem and I saw all those kids come out and all those people come out and stand on the other side of the street. I talked to people on the streets today and people were thanking me for going out and doing this… I went to a barber shop to use the bathroom and the guys at the barber shop gave me a round of applause and thanked me for being out there because their friends and their loved ones and they themselves are being victimized by this every single day so I know this is making a difference.”
There is a new generation of Freedom Fighters stepping forward to take on the New Jim Crow, from all walks of life, with different life experiences compelling them to play this role. As Carl Dix told Revolution: “We are aiming to win this battle, to STOP “Stop and Frisk,” to force them to just scrap this policy—it’s no damn good, it is unjust, it’s illegal and unconstitutional and human beings should not have to put up with this stuff. But the way that that’s going to happen is not just talking about how bad it is, not just lobbying some politicians, or something like that. Direct action, dramatic action... has to continue.” For more information, including dates for further civil disobedience go to: www.stopmassincarceration.tumblr.com.
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