Ft. Greene, Brooklyn, NY

Emergency Town Hall: Rodney King to Eric Garner

December 13, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Lesson One—don’t head out to any public gathering these days unprepared for the unexpected. This past Sunday, December 7, 200+ people showed up at BRIC (a new theater/arts center in Ft Greene, Brooklyn) for the final performance of Roger Guenveur Smith’s RODNEY KING.

Ft. Greene

Ft. Greene

Ft. Greene

Photos: Dread Scott

Roger Guenveur Smith’s play, a virtuoso one-man show, recounts the story of Rodney King, possibly the first person to have his brutal beating by LA police go “viral” by way of national TV in 1992—leading to the LA Rebellion when the guilty cops were acquitted of beating King. The play was followed by “An Emergency Town Hall: Rodney King to Eric Garner” with Roger Guenveur Smith, his musical collaborator Marc Anthony Thompson, and a range of political commentators and writers. A lively back and forth erupted around what it will take to stop this epidemic: policy changes and “better policing” or...

Revolutionary artist Dread Scott spoke from the audience: “We wouldn’t have even heard of Mike Brown if the defiant ones in Ferguson had not gotten into the streets. This is a system! This country was founded on slavery, then Jim Crow, now New Jim Crow—the police are there to enforce this and it will take people staying the streets to make Black lives matter, to stop these police murders.”

As the meeting drew to a close, Roger Guenveur Smith called on the audience, mostly theater and arts people, to march with him out of the theater and into the streets. Many did just that, and we ended up a few minutes later in the intersection of Flatbush and Fulton. The group stopped three lanes of traffic in each direction on Flatbush (artery to the Manhattan Bridge) for nearly half an hour in the bitter cold, chanting “Eric Garner, Mike Brown—Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down!” Revolution newspapers, Carl Dix statements, Alice Walker poems, and 10 revcom.us posters that we’d brought were put to very good use.

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