Seizing Every Opportunity to Build for April 14

April 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a member of a Revolution Club:

I am currently working two jobs and attend school by night so at times it can be very difficult for me to make it out to the Revolution Club meetings or the discussions at Revolution bookstore let alone make it to some of the powerful demos around town. I definitely try my best to be involved and maintain communication with my fellow comrades on what needs to be achieved and how we can go about that but for the most part my jobs and school can really take up a lot of my time, unfortunately. I have had to call out from work many times and to be quite honest I have NO problem with that, after all the movement needs me, but my sick days are piling up and I’m afraid I can’t afford to miss more time off work. I have been trying to spread the word around #SHUTDOWNA14 but as I just mentioned a lot of the times when the Revolution Club goes out to do demos I am always caught up in school or work and when I am free I have this unsettling urge to be involved but many contradictions come into play for example sometimes transportation gets in the way and considering I am a woman and I live in a rather dangerous neighborhood and I refuse to take public transportation by night unless I absolutely have to take those risks.

With that being said I have been pondering on how I could really contribute to this movement and finally pass out all of the materials (flyers, whistles, newspapers, posters etc.) that have been collecting since I heard about the shutdown. Finally I took it upon myself to take advantage of the time in between work, school and home. Yesterday I had a couple of hours of “free” time so I decided to take a trip down to the community college I attend and pass out flyers, put up posters, and talk to people there and along the way about their thoughts on the issue of police brutality and how they can organize and help support the shutting down of April 14. I was alone but I felt rather confident in my training and before I left the house I did an extensive amount of research on the issue either by reading some of the articles out on regarding police brutality as well as referring to the Stop Mass Incarceration Network website for some guidance and watching the video clips from Revolution—Nothing Less.  I felt more than prepared.

I took the bus to school and as soon as I got on I sat down and began talking to the people next to me. “I want to show you guys something, take a look and let me know what your thoughts are…” I first talked to a young boy probably around the age of 19 who was on his way to work; I showed him the stolen lives poster that has been circling around Shut Down A14. I could tell he was rather intrigued by the poster and took a long look at it examining every person that had been murdered at the hands of the police. He was quite appalled. He said he had only heard about this on the news but that in his opinion it wasn’t hard to believe that the police would go to such extremes. As I spoke to him I noticed that people on the bus were staring at us in complete interest. I noticed a man who was listening in on our conversation and who then asked to see the poster. Immediately he said “This shit has been going on since I was your age.” The man was probably about 50 years old. He included “The cops shoot people dead in the streets and sometimes even in their own homes and get away with it, this MUST stop. Just last night a cop shot another unarmed black man.” He was referring to the murder of Walter Scott who was just shot recently by police in South Carolina. We discussed revolution and uprooting the system to change these types of monstrosities and he completely agreed. He said that he was in prison for some time and that there is no hope for people who get out of prison, after he expressed his frustrations he took a few flyers to pass out to his family and friends.

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As he stepped out of the bus one woman also asked to see the poster. She looked at the images and asked “Why?”… “Why do police shoot at people when they have their baton, a taser gun, a bullet proof vest, and training to do their job without having to kill? Why? They always say that they fear for their lives, but if you have all of that training and you still fear for your life when you are dealing with someone who is unarmed and has no real way of causing harm to you then perhaps you are in the wrong business and maybe you should rethink your career choice.” She discussed the politics involved in all of this and especially how they came into play when the people in Ferguson rose up after the murder of Michael Brown. She too was appalled by this, she mentioned she worked in ministry and took a big stack of flyers to pass out at the churches she volunteers for. Aside from these important encounters the bus ride was full of discussion amongst the people themselves on this issue of police brutality.

As I got off the bus and walked the rest of the way to school I passed out more flyers to the people on the sidewalks. “Join us for a day of protest against police brutality! Say no more to Killer Cops!” Almost every person I walked by took a flyer and stopped for a bit to discuss what the flyer was about. I encountered a couple who said that they had just heard about the murder of Walter Scott and as a matter of fact had seen one of the demos in East LA on black lives matter the day before. They were very interested and took a few flyers to pass out as well. One man I came across was so inspired by this that he thanked me for taking the time to spread the word on this. He said he was probably going to have to work on that day but I mentioned to him that if he couldn’t make it to the protest on that day that he could still contribute in any way or organize and spread the word. He agreed and took a few stickers with him to wear on that day in support of shutting down April 14.

I finally arrived on campus and as soon as I walked up I saw a couple and as I debated as to whether or not I should hand out some of the last bit of flyers I had, I overheard their conversation. “I hate capitalists!” the girl exclaimed. “I just despise capitalism!” I immediately came over and handed them a flyer. They said that they too had heard about the shooting of Walter Scott and were just horrified that this type of bull shit was continuing. They seemed very glad to hear that there was a movement organizing against this and she too took a few stickers to pass out. So far it was an incredible experience to have encountered so many people that not only sympathized with the movement but were outraged by the continuous murders of Black and brown youth by the police but were also more than willing to take flyers and stickers to pass out to their friends and colleagues and spread the word for this movement.

When I got on campus my main mission was to put up as many posters as I could. I spent almost an entire hour putting up posters all over campus when I noticed that some of the campus police were taking them down. And not only were they taking them down but one cop even ripped one off the wall as if it gave him intense satisfaction in doing so. I immediately confronted them on this and asked “Why are you ripping these posters down?!” He responded by saying that he had received orders by his sergeant, who had been “watching me on camera” as I was putting them up, to take them down because I didn’t have a school permit to put them up. Most of these posters were up on bulletin boards and to my knowledge I thought it was free range considering there were many posters up advertising restaurants, massage parlors, school events, houses for rent, etc. So I asked “You mean to tell me that ALL of these posters have permits to be up here?” The cop immediately said “Yes.” I honestly found that very hard to believe so I asked again. This time he responded, “Well, we received specific orders to take down your poster.” And when I asked him for the ripped posters in his hands as he handed them to me he said “Oh, it’s not that I disagree with this or anything, I didn’t mean to rip it down.” As if that would make the matter any better. When I asked him for all of the other posters they had taken down he said that he couldn’t give them to me because his sergeant wanted to see ALL of them. I then looked over at his cart and noticed a huge stack of posters that I had just put up. I grabbed all of them, put them in my bag and handed him only one. “If your sergeant wants to see them, he can take this one.” I then went ahead and asked how I could go about getting a permit; he suggested I go to the campus police office and inquire there and said that I could only post up posters that were “approved” by them. If that doesn’t sound like BULLSHIT then I don’t know what is. I was so outraged by this.

To be quite honest this doesn’t surprise me nor does it demoralize me. I immediately contacted some of my comrades in hopes that they could help guide me on what I should do next. They were the ones that suggested I write to SMIN and revolution paper to get word out on this. Aside from this really fucked up encounter with the campus police and the fact that I had to leave with a bag full of posters that I intended to get out, I must say the day was full of excitement and it has left me with high hopes for what is to come. I am only one person, this I know and I am aware that it can potentially become dangerous for me to go out and spread word on this alone considering my encounter with the police and all and although I try my best to stay involved and work collectively with the Revolution Club sometimes time just doesn’t allow for it. I am restless, eager to spread word on this. I am always on the bus, at work, or in class and I always come across opportunities to pass out papers and flyers and I just thought, why not?

The other day my sister came home with two ShutDownA14 posters and said she got them from someone who was passing them out at Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles and she thought I would be interested knowing that I am politically involved. I thought this was funny, coincidental, and truly fucking amazing! Great job to the comrades out in LA putting in work!! This really inspired me and showed me how much getting out there and spreading the word really makes a big difference. The goal of this letter is to sum up my experience and to share with you all that there is a true potential for this movement. We must continue to spread the word in any way that we can, we must mobilize and organize and prepare the ground and the people so that we can go all out for April 14. No more green light to killer cops!! Shut It Down!!!

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