Houston: Vigil and March Express Grief and Rage at the Police Murder of Jordan Baker

December 23, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From readers:

Eleven months ago, on January 16, Jordan Baker, an unarmed 26-year-old Black man, was gunned down by Houston Police Department officer Juventino Castro in the Acres Homes area because he “fit the description.” The official police narrative reads like a script: “The suspect was running, then turned around, crouched down, and reached into his waistband. I feared for my life.”

Houston, December 20. Photo: Special to revcom.us

On Sunday, December 21, a couple of nights before a Harris County grand jury was to announce whether or not the killer would be indicted, about 45 people gathered for a candlelight vigil in the parking lot where the murder took place. As a police helicopter hovered overhead, and patrol cars circled the area, friends, family and those who knew Jordan came together with many who didn't, to pay their respects, and to show determination to get justice for Jordan Baker. Some Latino youth who worked in fast food joints nearby came and linked arms with the mostly Black gathering. People cried and prayed and chanted “Black Lives Matter! Jordan's Life Matters!”

A team of revolutionaries joined the vigil and distributed copies of Revolution and cards about the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian on religion and revolution. Most people we talked with said they were really fed up, and expressed that many others feel the same way. In various ways, people are connecting dots, and are looking to connect more. Many expressed, in so many words, that the oppression of Black people is deeply embedded in American society. Some said that we are still living in a kind of slavery. Points of view varied over why this is happening and where this is headed.

One young woman asked with a lot of seriousness, “Why are they doing this to us?! Black people are the nicest people!” She had summed up that the powers-that-be had defeated the upsurge of the 1960s by killing its leaders and wondered how we could prevent that this timeā€”and she wanted to know more about this leader, BA, and the strategy for revolution. Another young woman saw society sliding toward “civil war,” which “would be bad,” and she felt that a big problem was that Black people didn't vote. We let people know that now there is the leadership that we need to actually win. There was a lot of interest in the Dialogue between BA and Cornel West. Many were challenged by the quote from BA, “What's Missing Is You.” And some took cards for the Dialogue to get out and organize others to watch the video, while they continue to struggle for justice for Jordan Baker.


On December 20, 45 people, surrounded by almost 100 Houston police, marched in the Galleria/uptown financial district of Houston demanding justice for Jordan Baker. A grand jury is presently in its final deliberations and is expected to make a decision soon. According to the Houston Chronicle, since 2008, Harris County grand juries have not indicted Houston cops in all 121 shootings.

Throughout the day on Saturday, the police continually issued threats and blocked off the march. Many of the people who came out have been emboldened by the national upsurge of protests around Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and were adamant that police killing the youth cannot keep going on. Amidst all of this, many people expressed their anger and frustrations at the police, and discussions on how can these police murders end went on among the crowd.

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