Voices from the Audience

August 31, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Revolution/revcom.us spoke wtih many people in attendance at the program sponsored by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network where Carl Dix, Dr. Cornel West, and others spoke to What We Must Do to STOP Police Murder and Terror—Get Ready for #RiseUpOctober: Massive Mobilization to Stop Police Terror & Murder, October 22-24 in NYC. These are some of their comments.


Black woman just out of college: “It’s not just the men. Look at what they did to Sandra Bland, disrespected her, threw her to the ground. And that’s just what’s on camera. And then she’s dead.”

Krystal, 23: “Carl Dix broke things down in a way people can understand. I’m disgusted. Nothing changes—we’re still living like in slavery. Police brutality runs through the streets. It’s deep in the concrete.”

Family members of stolen lives and others at RiseUpOctober event, August 27

Cornel West, Carl Dix and others: What We Must Do to STOP Police Murder and Terror—Get Ready for #RiseUpOctober: Massive Mobilization to Stop Police Terror & Murder, October 22-24 in NYC. (Photo: Revolution/revcom.us)

Madison, young woman who lives near the church in Harlem: “They covered this whole neighborhood with the flyers and stickers and so I thought I should come. I had read about the stories of some of those families of people killed by police, but it meant something to hear them told with all that passion. I liked what Cornel West said about everyone is a person, a human being.”

A recent high school graduate: “I signed up tonight, and I donated a bit. I don’t have money but I have time to help.”

Two graduate students from France: “We saw the posters and had to come. It is important to hear both sides of everything. We often only hear the police side of these incidents. The stories of these victims need to be told.”

For more info:

Stop Mass Incarceration section of this website


Three white students and musicians—a couple of them involved in the Bernie Sanders campaign: “We were out protesting every night last year. That’s where we first met the RCP. We’ll be all over [the world] in October, but we have to figure out how we can be part of this.”

Jordan, 14, wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt: “I’ve heard about these stories. I’ve heard about Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit. I didn’t realize how long this has been going on—for years. I can get out stickers and posters for this.”

Ernest, young Black artist: “That was a powerful message from Carl Dix. I already got the book BAsics from the Revolution Club. I liked the way he got right to the point—too often people beat around the bush. Being young, I appreciated Carl Dix breaking down how to respond to the Hillary Clinton types who want you to say what your demands are in that way. I liked the way Cornel West talked about music. Music can spark a new revolution, like happened in the ’60s. A lot of musicians today don’t know their purpose.”

Young woman who came to the event from Newark: “I have a professor, and she’s always talking about stuff like this, so I wanted to check it out firsthand. It’s very interesting... This is the stuff you don’t hear about in the mainstream news, so it’s good to hear firsthand from the people. My brother, he’s 30. And these people on the poster—it could be anybody, you know. We’re from New Jersey and it’s like $14 to get here, but I want to come back. I want to bring more people.”

Young Black man, college student: “To me, it’s time to take a stand. Peaceful protests. Everybody come together, not just an all-Black, all-Latino thing. Everybody. Blacks, Latinos, whites, Asians, everybody. Because it’s not just a one group thing. We’re all human beings here. We all want to live in peace and harmony, right? Plus we want this place to be good for our children to grow up in. When they look back years from now, they could say, wow, we did this. Now we have this. Thanks to what our relatives did, we could grow up like this... I’m planning to get involved in any possible way I can.”

Italian photojournalist who head heard about event on the web: “It’s really strange to listen to stories like this because we have a different idea about America abroad, in Europe or in other countries. The way America is presented is not this way. But instead, being here and listening to the news, almost every day there is somebody that is shot by police, everywhere. So it’s a problem. I think it’s also a reflection of a sense of alienation of society—society is really separated, divided. There is no sense of unification. Very divided between rich and poor.”

Audience raising the Stolen Lives poster

Audience raising the poster showing some of the people whose lives were stolen by police, August 27. (Photo: Revolution/revcom.us)

Young woman filmmaker who attends First Corinthian Baptist Church regularly: “I love Dr. Cornel West. I’ve never heard him speak in person before, but I thought that it would be a great way for me to understand what’s actually happening and how I can move forward with my voice and be somebody who is representing the unrepresented. What really struck me was the grandmother who had the granddaughter die at seven years old. I keep thinking about these images of young Black and children of color being killed, and the fact that they will never have an opportunity to live their lives because they were wrongfully killed. It’s hard to be patriotic about a country that doesn’t want us to be the best that we can be. I mean, even when you do the right things, when you have this skin, you’re wrong, you’re bad. I have a problem with this ‘race reconciliation’ in a way because—being in this skin is so great, but it’s also so hard because of all the day-to-day things you have to deal with. And people who don’t empathize with you think you’re crazy when you try to explain to them what’s happening. So all that really impacted me—hearing the mothers and grandmothers who no longer have their children in their lives because of police brutality.”

Black woman in her 20s: “Rise Up October has to accomplish a lot. If we can just get everybody to be here as one, with no issues. We don’t want to be violent, we just want our voices to be heard, let our presence be known about the situation that is going on in this so-called free country. People are going to be much more aware, much more educated about what’s going on. That’s the biggest issue, people are not educated about it. So one, people are going to be much more educated about it. They are going to see how many people are really involved and really want change. Hopefully we can shut down Wall Street, we can shut down the entire New York City. Because we all know New York City means something in America. If we can shut down New York City we are really doing something. I’m involved with Stop Mass Incarceration, going to the meetings. Obviously I’ll be there with them the entire October 22, 23, 24. I’m trying to get my friends involved, and I got my mother and my brother to come out tonight. My neighbors. Just get people aware of what’s going on around this.”

Black woman teacher: “I came because it is such an important issue. We have to treat each other like we would treat ourselves. We are really blood, skin, bones, hair. We are the same. Human beings. That’s why I’m here. We should not be gunning down our parents, our children, anybody. Our children, their children, they are all going to be affected by this. We are in a global economy, with global humanity. If a cop kills my child, his child is going to feel it. The speakers were all on point. It made me feel—I cried a lot. It touched me a lot. I’m a teacher. These are like my students. These are like the parents I’ve had before. I’ve been a teacher for 22 years. So, I cried a lot. It touched people I’ve taught, people I could have taught. This is not just me, not just the people in the families were killed, this is all of us. October 24 needs to bring out people that normally would not come out. It needs to bring out people who would not come out and file a police report about something that happened to them. It needs to resound with people who know the effects this has had on their families. It’s affected a lot of us, all of us, in our community, in other communities. I’m a person who doesn’t normally come out—I need to come out. I need to become more in solidarity with people who are going through these experiences and who are willing to stand up and advocate against this violence. I’m going to try to get my students involved, and their parents, because this can affect them. I plan to bring my students to October 24.”

Black man in his 50s: “I’m tired of this shit. I’m with this—all of it. They got to convict these cops. I’ll be there, with everybody.”




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