Stopping Police Terror: Which Side Are You On?
New York City Meeting Launches #RiseUpOctober

July 1, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |




On the evening of June 30, at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, 150 people came together with Carl Dix and Cornel West, with family members of people murdered by police, with student and religious activists, and with each other, to launch #RiseUpOctober: Stopping Police Terror: Which Side Are You On?

In a climate charged with the spirit of the uprising against police murder in Ferguson, Missouri, outrage over the murder of Eric Garner in New York City, in the wake of the rebellion that erupted after the murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and now pain and anger at the massacre in Charleston—there was a mood of determination to STOP police terror.

The meeting was greeted by Mario Hardy of All Souls Unitarian Church. It was MC’d by long time fighter against police brutality, Sister Shirley.

A Vision and Plan for October 22, 23, and 24 from Carl Dix

Carl Dix opened things up with a vision and plan for three days of action—October 22, 23, and coming together for a massive march in NYC on October 24:

“We have to mobilize a huge march in the streets of New York in October. We have to do this because Black people continue to be targeted by racist killers in and out of uniform and this must STOP. Charleston—nine people massacred in a church during a Bible study session by a killer who spouted white supremacist lies as he murdered them. And because the whole system works to exonerate killer cops when they murder Black and Latino people and that must also stop.

Carl Dix

Carl Dix. Photo: Special to

“Now when that massacre went down in Charleston, that killer was no crazy lone wolf. The rage that drove him was nurtured by the white supremacy that has coursed through the veins of America since the first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains. The same white supremacy nurtures the climate in which cops feel justified in exchanging racist messages on social media and then going out to brutalize and murder Black and Latino people. Charleston concentrates the slow genocide targeting Black people in this country.

“This talk about forgiving and coming together is aimed at helping the system keep things under control. The New York Times explained why they moved on removing the Confederate flag when they said: ‘...if nothing happened, boycotts and other ugliness’ could follow.’ By ugliness they meant people taking their rage to the streets, which is ugly to the rulers of this country, but beautiful to those of us who want to STOP racist attacks! Reconciling with this falls into a ruling class trap that aims to smother our righteous rage. You can't end oppression by forgiving and reconciling with your oppressors. The system tells us it's wrong to hate. No, it's right to hate oppression. It's right to be enraged by racist attacks. We should hate them so much that our rage moves us to act to STOP them. You can't start healing until you diagnose the disease and root it out. The disease is white supremacy rooted in capitalism/imperialism, and it is not time to come together and heal with people who continue to preside over white supremacist attacks on Black and Latino people.

“We have to draw a huge dividing line in society over these outrages and challenge people with the question: Which side are you on? There is no room for neutrality here. There is no middle ground. You are either standing with the people who are acting to STOP these attacks or you are OK with racists in and out of uniform murdering Black people. We have to turn society upside down over this by mobilizing a huge march in New York City to STOP police terror.

“I know people have marched and done vigils around Charleston and before that around the intensified wave of police murders. That's good and needs to continue. It's good that people have acted around the Confederate flag. And there's a national march called for Charleston on July 4th, where we have to make sure that the Call for October 24 resonates there.

“But we have to take things much higher! The cops aren't holding back. In LA and Baltimore and around the country, cops shot unarmed Black men in the days after Charleston. Police in Oklahoma shot a Black man and when he said, "I can't breathe," they replied, 'F... your breath!' We have to go beyond responding every time racists in or out of uniform target Black people. We have to take our resistance higher. We have to go on a mission to bring thousands and thousands of people into the streets of New York City on October 22-24.

“This will be three days of determined resistance. Powerful demonstrations in cities across the country on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The many lives stolen by killer cops and the system that backs them up will be featured in these outpourings, bringing to life the devastation murder by police inflicts on so many people. This will be followed by a non-violent direct action in New York City that involves well-known people and targets an institution that concentrates the slow genocide of police terror and mass incarceration. And on October 24, thousands and thousands of peole will descend on New York City to deliver a message that police terror must STOP, shutting it down by the sheer weight of our numbers.

Cornel West Salutes New Generation and Addresses Charleston

Cornel West saluted the new generation: “The Ice Age is beginning to melt. Folks been scared, intimidated, and afraid, either bought off or co-opted. It’s a new day now. And it’s especially the younger generation that has broken the back of fear.“

Before surveying important events in the coming months and the distinct role of October 24th, Cornel West spoke to his perspective on Charleston:

Cornel West

Cornel West. Photo: Special to

“See what happened the other day in Charleston—when I look at Charleston I see Denmark Vesey. Mother Emanuel—he was the founder of that church. I look on the vanilla side of that town and who do I see? Angelina Grimké. You all know Angelina Grimké, right? One of the great freedom fighters, whose father was a slave holder. Her sister Sarah—they had to leave South Carolina—and she married a brother named Theodore Weld, and they wrote a classic in 1838 called Slavery As It Is that laid out slavery not as some form of subordination in the abstract. They described the labor as a species of torture. They described it as legalized terrorism. That’s what it is!

“Don’t let American corporate media tell you that some talk about terrorism began in 2001. No it started in 1492 against indigenous people. In 1619 against Black people! America always got a history of legalized terrorism and torture. That’s what Angelina was laying bare. Angelina came from the ruling class. She committed class suicide because she fell in love with everyday people. And she fell in love with a hated people—Black people. That’s one of the great contributions that we Black people have made to the world. Being so intensely hated, and yet teach the world so much about love.

“And it is true, my brother, about forgiveness. Premature forgiveness is twisted effort at sympathy. It is a pathological form of empathy. But what it also does—and this is where I think we might disagree, we don’t have time for another seminar at the moment—I start with John Coltrane Love Supreme. I’m a Jesus-loving free Black man, so I got Black church in me. But the Love Supreme simply says, when you are hated so, you say what Emmett Till’s mother said in Chicago, in August 1955. Her baby was in the coffin. They said, 'What you gonna say Mama Till?' She said, 'I don’t have a minute to hate. I will pursue justice for the rest of my life.' So you keep the love, but you got to have fighting. The problem of Charleston was, when someone takes your grandfather, and the next day you forgive them, it can’t be real forgiveness. It can’t be genuine. It can’t be authentic. You got to work it through. You got to work it out. Mourn and grieve but at the same time, emerge as a fighter! Emerge swinging. But you got to have love at the center of the swinging. That’s the key.”

Determination and Urgency from Many Voices and Perspectives

After Carl Dix and Cornel West spoke, family members of victims of police murder spoke—Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward Jr. killed by the NYPD in 1994; Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson, killed by the NYPD in 2000; and Joshua Lopez, nephew of John Collado, killed by police in 2011. Other endorsers of October 24 who spoke included Nkosi Anderson from Union Theological Seminary; long-time activist Nellie Bailey; Mo Tyler from Students Against Police Brutality.

People spoke, and came to the meeting from many perspectives, but all with passion, determination and urgency to STOP police terror—passion and energy that got translated on the spot into organizing teams to plan outreach, operations (fundraising and setting up an organizing office), and organizing a stolen lives tribunal on July 11.



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