From UCLA Students and Revolution Club Members:

Why Students Must Take Up #RiseUpOctober

October 5, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Students: Which Side Are You On?

What you can do

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This call was sent out to students and professors at University of California, Los Angeles.

There comes a time when we have to cast off our ignorance and confront reality, and when the reality is as outrageous as the one we face today, we are also confronted with the moral question of how to act on it.

Ernesto Flores was a 52-year-old man from Montclair, California who had a mental breakdown one day as a side effect of some medication he was taking. His daughter has a background in criminal justice, so her first thought was to call the police for help getting him to a hospital. She volunteered all sorts of vital information—she gave them Ernesto’s name so they could run it and know that he had no criminal record; she told them that he was holding a BB gun; she told them that he wasn’t behaving like himself; she told them that he needed medical attention. She did everything right, and what did the police do? They spoke to Ernesto in English when he only understood Spanish, they rejected his daughters’ request to use their sound system to console him, they shot at him with rubber bullets (one of which knocked him over), he said “I want to die,” they said “You want to die, motherfucker? You’re going to die!” And then they shot him with hollow bullets 45 times, 12 to the head. They had every opportunity to handle the situation without hurting anyone, but instead they shot Ernesto on the front yard of his home, in front of his children.

This story is not an isolated incident—there are thousands more stories like this, thousands more people unjustly murdered, people with their hands up, people who were unarmed, people running away, people who committed a petty crime undeserving of death. And time after time, there are no indictments, no convictions, no justice. This system has said over and over again that Black lives DO NOT matter, that Brown lives DO NOT matter. And when the courts rule these incidents “justifiable homicides,” when they say “the police were just doing their job,” they give us some insight into the fact that the police’s job IS to kill Black and Brown people with impunity, because if it wasn’t, there would be consequences for their crimes. This system is waging a genocide—not only with murder by police, but with a whole program of mass incarceration and demonization of Black and Brown people.

This system is waging a slow genocide, and, up to this point, it has gone largely unchallenged. Yes there was Ferguson, and Baltimore, and Ferguson again, where people stood up courageously, but this resistance has not come close to the scale necessary to actually put an end to this.

This is why students have to take up #RiseUpOctober. Because the atmosphere on the campuses impacts all of society. Because when we resist, we call on others to resist. Because we have to show the people who are victims of brutality that they are not alone when they resist. Because we should know better than to think that ignoring the situation is going to make it stop, that passing legislation is going to make it stop, that Bernie Sanders is going to make it stop, and that white supremacists are going to let it stop. Because this is a genocide, and as Carl Dix said:

“When you’re up against a genocide, and that IS what we’re dealing with, you don’t ask the people presiding over it to make some changes to smooth out the rough edges of that genocide or to slow down its intensity. You act to stop it.”

It is going to take mass resistance to stop this! And it is up to us to make that happen. Students cannot sit in their safe spaces or ivory towers and not ask questions about where the trains are going, like the good Germans did during the Holocaust. Students have to be part of eliminating the illusion of neutrality. Students have to be part of drawing the dividing line in society between those who refuse to live in a world where Black and Brown people are dehumanized, brutalized, and murdered just because of the color of their skin, and those who accept living in a world like that. Because if we don’t do this...the situation is going to get much worse, thousands more people will die, and by the time society recognizes that this is an actual genocide, it will be far too late to reverse the trajectory. So now the moral question is posed: Which side are you on?



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