Interview with High School Student Organizing in the South for #ShutDownA14

“It’s so liberating because of the possibility of freedom and hope... I will be walking out A14!”

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The following is an interview conducted by with a high school student from the South who is taking responsibility for organizing students in her city to walk out as part of the nationwide Shut Down called for April 14. For a while, she was  the only person in her area to take up #ShutDownA14, but by working with the national Student and Youth Network of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and members of the Revolution Club in other cities and taking the call for #ShutDownA14 very broadly, she has been able to build growing momentum and plans for #ShutDownA14.

Revolution: Why are you acting on #ShutDownA14?

Student: First off, let me give you a little background on myself. I decided to act when the Ferguson police officer wasn’t indicted for Mike Brown’s killing. After that I was like, wow, I’m gonna travel to New York and I traveled to New York on a Greyhound. I got involved with a demonstration that I found online somewhere, and we began to march to Times Square, but I didn’t want it to end there. I didn’t understand why this young man’s life was stolen or taken away. I can just imagine this young man with his hands up saying, “Don’t shoot.”

Building for A14 in other parts of the country

After, I got linked up with [the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and the movement for revolution]. I got linked up with these people and they were very eager and happy to help me out. As I started doing more work with these people, they began to open up my eyes about other things I’ve always had questions about, but I just didn’t have the answers to. They told me books to read and gave me advice. It helped me see other things that I didn’t know were there because I always had the question: Why is there so much hate amongst my community? Why has my race been oppressed generations upon generations? Why these people—the police—killing? I was like NO this is very systematic on how this is all set up. And I looked back at the leaders like the Black Panther Party, Malcolm X, MLK and I compared and contrasted the way they work and honestly the system just continues to do this and it’s like they do this systematically and it’s much deeper. I decided that I wanted to do something about it, because I was needed to take a stand.

How could I continue to live like this?

Revolution: You’ve recently taken responsibility for mobilizing your campus, as well as students/youth across the country, for #ShutDownA14. Can you describe what that’s been like?

Student: It’s been fun. But, it’s like you run into things once you show that you’re really serious. You run into support and you run into people who previously supported you but no longer do—they become apprehensive because they can’t make sense of it or say maybe you shouldn’t walk out. I’ve run into support of people saying, “I want to read your newspaper [Revolution],” or, “I want to you in my debate team.” And they want to learn more...

It’s so liberating because of the possibility of freedom and hope. I love the possibility. It feels good to know that you’re so solid in these beliefs with these morals and ideas—you believe them so much and have so much concrete evidence that your character changes.

Banner #ShutDownA14
"We went to a thrift store and got a sheet, went to Daily Dollar and bought some spray paint and hung it on a cemetery fence by the freeway near my school. "

I’ve come up with PowerPoints (pictures/graphics), handed out stickers (with the #ShutDownA14 logo), created a sign-up sheet. I’m planning a fundraiser with some cupcakes. I did a banner drop “#ShutDownA14 End Police Brutality. End Police Murder” with three of my friends. We went to a thrift store and got a sheet, went to Daily Dollar and bought some spray paint and hung it on a cemetery fence by the freeway near my school. I’ve done five classroom presentations on an introduction to mass incarceration and passed out #ShutDownA14 stickers. It’s going to be vibrations like no other.

Students elsewhere in the country raise their voices calling for #ShutDownA14

Revolution: The full title for #ShutDownA14 is “Stop Business As Usual! We Will Not Go Back! No School! No Work! Say No More to the System Giving a Green Light to Killer Cops!” What do you think that day needs to look like specifically at high schools and college campuses?

Student:Specifically at high schools and college campuses we need to go to school and be there, including the students who usually ditch. Yes! I have a responsibility! I will be walking out! Wearing all black and shouting out the names of the people killed by the police. Have bands marching out! Letting them know what’s going on. That shit speaks volumes!

Revolution: You’re getting a shipment of one thousand stickers for #ShutDownA14. What do you plan to do with them? And, what are you calling on students to do on your campus?

Building for A14 in other parts of the country


Student: For my campus I’m going to gather everyone who said they’d like to join. I’m going to continue doing classroom presentations. I’m going to speak more to how this is a slow genocide as part of building for the shutdown. I will have a group meeting at my school on Wednesday. I’m going to post them randomly in different places, pass them out and have people say why they’re serious to act on what’s going on.

Revolution: You’ve participated in weekly student Stop Mass Incarceration conference calls. What has that been like? And, why should others join the conference call?

Student:The conference calls have been great, very conducive. They allow you to understand what’s going on in other areas of the country. I continue to join these conference calls because they are informative and give me more security—especially when you feel like backing out. They’re a sense of leadership and people who care about the same things I do. It will clarify things you weren’t so sure about. It gives ideas, you’re able to elaborate and reflect off the things you’ve come up with.

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