Revolution #277, August 12, 2012
Voices from the BAsics Bus Tour:
Notes from a journal of a young woman volunteer on the BAsics Bus Tour
It was a Friday morning when I got dropped off in the city. I was wondering what this bus tour was going to be like and how the people were going to be. I got to the RV late that night and the next morning we drove to a city a couple of hours from New York.
I was wondering how the first day was going to be. This was my first time ever doing something like this. We went around into the projects and the poor neighborhoods. There were two guys about 18 years old and one about 13. We walked over to them and they looked nervous. They didn't know who we were. We said we were the BAsics Bus Tour. One guy in our group had a pin that said stop "stop and frisk" on it and one of the kids said "Can I get one of those buttons?" So we gave him one. Then the kid that got the button was telling us a story about how he gets stop and frisked so much. He said that just because he had his hand in his pockets that [the cops treat him as if] he has a gun and that the cop said that whenever he sees him, he is going to check under cars and stop and frisk him even though he never has anything on him.
Once he was done telling us that story an older guy walked by who was his friend. The kid said, "Yo, come over here." The older guy said "No," and walked away. Then a few minutes later, he came back and said, "Does this have anything to do with religion?" The kid said "No, it's about stop and frisk." So he came back over and he read a quote out of the BAsics book and then, he said, "This is way deeper then stop and frisk." So the older guy bought the BAsics book.
The next day we met a girl about 18 that knew about stop and frisk. We asked her how it was to live in this neighborhood. She said, "Well it's not that bad anymore, because you just get used to it." That made me kind of upset because she doesn't think that she deserves better than that. Then a few days later, we met a guy. He didn't look interested at first, but then he was like "What's this about?" We said, "The revolutionaries are here." He said, "Oh really," and we said, "Yes. Are you fed up with the way this society is? Would you like to change it completely?" And he said, "Of course." We said, "But you can't change the world one person at a time. It's a group effort and you can't back down if someone doesn't agree with you. Just try to transform the people to believe that there can be a better world than this."
On Friday the 27 of July, we woke up early and went to Noche Diaz's court case. Noche was so happy to have everyone come to support him even though he shouldn't have even needed to go because he did nothing wrong. He is a hero trying to stop the cops from torturing innocent people for nothing and because they have nothing better to do. He is a freedom fighter. Stop and frisk is the crime, Noche should do no time! Before the court case we were standing outside the court house on the opposite side of the street. Carl Dix [founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and national leader in the movement to stop mass incarceration and to stop "stop and frisk"] made a speech about how everyone needs to stand up for what they believe in and how we should all stand up for Noche.
On the other side of the street there were a bunch of cops watching. I went into the criminal court with Sunsara Taylor [writer for Revolution newspaper and initiator of the call to End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women!] and the cop told me to turn my shirt inside out because it said "I am a part of the thousands working for a revolution." I did it and then we walked up stairs and waited for Noche to get called. I've never been to court before so I was kind of nervous, but at the same time kind of inspired that Noche risked his life to stop a "stop and frisk" and to be a hero so I would stand up for him no matter what. After waiting for about an hour they called Noche up. Everyone was nervous. We didn't know what was happening. A few minutes later the judge said the next hearing would be in a month from today, goodbye. So everyone got up and walked out. Nobody understood what that meant. So we were in the hallway and the cop was like "Stand on either side of the hall; people have to get through." Then one of the guys that was with us had a stop "stop and frisk" button on so the cop said "Take off that button. You can have it on when you exit the building but not while you're inside the building." Then the guy said, "Now, which amendment does it say that you shall not wear a button?" and everyone laughed except for the cop. The cop said "Take off the button," so the guy did and then we walked outside the court house so Noche could explain what happened.
A few minutes later a woman that was with us said to the cops: "We are all children of the sun" and then walked down the street to hand out newspapers and the Noche flyer. One of the cops decided to follow her down the block, so two of the people that were with us followed him just to make sure nothing happened.
Later that day we went to a park in another neighborhood to get out the BAsics book and palm cards. We used the sound system and on the tv played the Revolution talk by Bob Avakian. We handed out whistles. A lot of little kids ran over and asked if they could have a whistle. We said, "What are these whistles for?" And they said "They are for when you see a cop messing with someone, you blow the whistle so they know someone's watching them."
A few minutes later we started chanting: "Brothers being stopped and frisked, We say no more. Sisters being raped and dissed, We say no more" and "Wake up, Rise up, Join the Revolution Club." It caught a lot of people's attention. Then a group of teenagers came over to ask for stop "stop & frisk" buttons.
When we were walking through these neighborhoods, you wouldn't see kids playing with electronics. They would be playing in dirt and garbage. That almost made me cry. There are kids that have iPhones and laptops and everything you could ever want, but then there are kids that starve or that play in dirt with a fork. This tour literally changed my life seeing how other people are living and how they can barely make it. It makes me so mad because there are some people that can't even eat and then there are some people that have four houses, a boat and things you don't need to survive. It just makes me sick. If this world was different, everything would be so much better. If everyone had a nice cooked meal and a nice house and a job to support their family—not some people living in the streets or homeless people. We are all human beings, we should all be treated equally. No matter what nationality people are or color or gay or bisexual—we are all humans and we should all be treated the same. This trip made me see that it is possible to change this world, but it is going to take a lot of hard work and you can never give up to make this revolution possible!
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