NYC: Going Out to High Schools to Build for March 14 Whistle Day

March 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From the NYC Revolution Club:

The last two days a couple of us have been going out to high schools in Harlem to build for March 13 and 14 national day to blow the whistle on murdering pigs. It is hard to even get down the street while carrying an enlarged poster of victims of police murder, the centerfold from the current issue of Revolution showing many faces of people unjustly killed by police. The poster is 40" x 60" so just imagine walking down the street with this. People stop you constantly. One older Black man said "Let me see. What? All those?" We said this is just a few. He said "what is happening in this world? Everybody killing each other." A young revolutionary said "we need revolution." He said "that's what it will probably take."

So far, we have been out to school 2 mornings this week. The kids are very sleepy but many greeted the #ShutdownA14 stickers with delight—almost everyone took them. We were seeing lots of familiar faces, getting their names. This was the same area we organizing youth last year for October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality and the November 15 Dialogue between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. We saw a young woman we met building for the dialogue, she signed up her friends for March 13 and 14. They were getting whistles, running around blowing them. We met 2 youth who had gotten tickets for November 15 dialogue but didn't come. One is from journalism class and he took stickers for others. Another is a young gay guy who hangs out with young women.

There is a developing enthusiasm for March 14 and April 14 at this school. There was notable joy in faces of some, especially young men, as I said, "Wear the sticker! Stop murder by police." We agitated some about the police killing of Tony Robinson in Madison and the righteous protests—what was happening there right now with thousands of students walking out, and what needed to happen here on April 14. Several young women gave us their names.

Another young man in bright green pants, a fashionable young man, came back after looking at the sticker and said "I want to do this!" and gave us his name. One thing we noted, a lot of people we have been meeting over the last period knew about the Cornel-BA Dialogue—some came and others didn't but for people in this area of Harlem, the dialogue is a reference point.

A young white woman with 2 little girls stopped. She works with Occupy and goes out to Rikers Island prison complex. She said she recognized us from a demo at Staten Island where we spoke. She lives in a shelter and said she is always getting reported for organizing occupants. She took a pile of flyers to get out on the train.

In the community around the schools, many people stopped. A young Black woman, not high school age but maybe late teens or early 20s, was very outraged. "I want to help with this." An orthodox Jewish man came by and pointed to the poster and said "This is terrible! This is so bad!" He called on other people to look at the poster. An old Black woman with a cane going across the street said to him "Yes sir, it hasn't been easy for us. This is what we've been facing for hundreds of years." This was significant, both that the man was so concerned and that the poster opened that exchange between people.

At end of day, one of us ran into an old friend from his working at warehouse days. He talked about all his police encounters since they had seen each other. He is like someone from the book On the Run… cops know him and constantly go after him.

At the high school, one Black student with a group of friends said, "If they get me, I want my picture up on that poster!", pointing to the enlarged centerfold. Noche from the Revolution Club said, "We want to stop this! We don't want you on that poster!" The guy turned around as he went upstairs and threw his arms up in the air in a joyful way with big smile on his face. This was a palpable expression of youth feeling they have no future under this system, and a recognition of people's humanity. At the same time, we refuse to accept this future for our youth—we WILL put an end to this!



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