December 20: The Defiant Ones from Ferguson Join Cleveland Protest

December 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a reader:

40 people from Ferguson—and others from Washington, D.C., Akron, Mississippi, and nearby colleges—joined over 150 protestors here to stand with Tamir Rice’s family and demand an end to police killings. Tamir, a 12-year-old Black youth playing with a toy gun, was gunned down by a Cleveland cop in November.

The Ferguson youth brought a huge, colorful banner saying “Ferguson is Everywhere” with pictures of victims from all over the country—and that message marked the day with 10 hours of disruption of business-as-usual. From beginning to end, there was an intense push-out of the message that we will protest until the genocide of Black and brown people is stopped, and we all felt the high energy and militancy impacting the day that the defiant ones from Ferguson brought to the scene. And the authorities, their enforcers and the racists felt the no-backing-down spirit of the people. No doubt about it.  

The protest went for 10 hours, starting with a rally at the park where Tamir was gunned down for having a toy gun, to the First District police station (the station where the cop who killed Tamir was from), where people locked arms and blocked the street for almost an hour chanting “Tamir didn’t have to die/We know the reason why/The whole damn system is guilty” and “ftp, Fuck the police.” A large banner saying “No More Police Murders/We Need Revolution!/” was out there. Two men drove their trucks against the crowd, yelling backward shit. As one truck backed up, the man pulled a gun out.  

We marched into the police station, called out the cold-blooded murder of Tamir and did a die-in there. Then we marched blocks to a busy intersection, and blocked it. It was intense as two vans pushed against us and one of them hit a young woman from Ferguson who had to go to the hospital. What did the police do? They just watched it all go down, and even when the woman was hit, the cops did not apprehend the man for running into her.  

We ran through a Walmart store, because it was at a Walmart near Dayton where John Crawford III was killed by police for carrying a BB gun that he had picked up from a store shelf. There were about 50 of us going through the aisles chanting and holding signs. There were some employees that gave the thumbs up, and many people shopping supported the protest. One white woman and her children smiled with support. At one point store security lined up employees, so we could no longer go through the aisles. At that point one protester went down the line calling on the employees to join us and said to the Black employees, “This could be your son.” There was a real challenge inside and outside Walmart to join this movement for justice and to stop police murder. A couple of employees left their job and joined us. With chants and signs and our determination, we broke some people out of just thinking about Christmas shopping to thinking about our call to action to stop police murder. 

As we were chanting “Black Lives Matter” a customer in line yelled out “All Lives Matter.” Someone from Ferguson responded: “All lives matter, OK—but that’s a person that don’t get out here and march with us, that’s a person that don’t stand for what we stand for. But yet and still he’s in a line, and we’re yelling a chant, and he’s buying something—so when you tell me all lives matter—that’s where your gonna put your item on your counter, and begin to look at that item and leave it where it stands and walk out that building.  ‘Cause I want you to all understand, WE matter, regardless of anybody that look at you the wrong way… if you look around you we got different color of people that are out here, I believe that we are all human, we are all people, we all stand for something!”

Then at Public Square (center of downtown) a few people spoke. A Revolution seller brought out how the system is illegitimate—from mass incarceration to the destruction of the environment—and revolution is the only answer. A woman whose son was killed by the police spoke about how she was inspired by the determination of the march, and that it was one of the best days she has seen.

We went to Tower City to disrupt shopping at its high-end mall, but the police locked down the building, refusing to let anyone in or out until the protest left. They even kept a protester in the building for almost an hour. Then we marched through downtown disrupting traffic and blocking traffic in the theater district, including a die-in, and people took notice. After a break for food, we marched through a housing project where some people answered the call, “Get out of your houses and into the streets!” by doing just that.  Several joined the march and some got Revolution newspapers. One person said how isolated and surrounded the people feel in the projects and that they want to be part of a movement to stop the daily abuse by the housing police and the city police.  

Throughout the day, the police were there to hem us in and block us from going onto the highway (as we had done a few weeks ago), lock us out of Tower City. Early in the day the police chief told Tamir’s 16-year-old brother, Tavon, that the police were there to keep everyone "safe." It was outrageous that the chief pig, Calvin Williams, would tell him this when his brother was gunned down in a park where youth play. The park was in fact no longer safe when the cops drove up and shot Tamir within 2 seconds at close range. Protecting who? Not Black and brown youth.

With all their bullshit about “protecting” the people, we know from facts that as Bob Avakian said (BAsics 1:24) “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness.”

Throughout the day, the defiant ones from Ferguson fired up the crowd—that we have right on our side and we are going to set the terms, the terms being that we are going to stop the genocide of Black and Latino people, not just make our voices heard. They helped put revolution into the mix. Chants like “You Can’t Stop the Revolution” and “What’s the Solution? Revolution!!” rang out loud and clear at times throughout the day. Lots of posters from, like “Get Organized for an Actual Revolution,” were carried. Scores of Revolution newspapers got out as well as invitations to the BA Everywhere Dinner Celebration on Sunday.

As one person who marched all day told me, “I felt people’s determination, so angry and so much wanting to get justice. It felt like this is not the end but the beginning.”

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.