True Light Missionary Baptist Church, Cleveland

An evening for Rise Up October

October 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Cleveland, October 10.

True Light Missionary Baptist Church, Cleveland, October 10.

Photos: Special to revcom.usCleveland, October 10

“STOP POLICE TERROR! RISE UP OCTOBER!” reverberated off the walls and into the streets when #RiseUpOctober held a community gathering at True Light Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland Saturday evening.

The evening began almost an hour before the event was scheduled―when one of the church deacons grabbed a bullhorn, Stolen Lives posters and flyers and went into the street hailing cars driving by and calling on people to Rise Up October to stop the police from murdering our youth.  He called on everyone as they entered to take it to the street―and many did.

The gathering opened with powerful music by True Light's Praise Team that brought many to their feet dancing in the aisles and a heartfelt welcome from the Reverend Robert V. Aitken.  It featured Reverend Jerome McCorry, from Dayton Ohio, Faith Coordinator and member of the steering committee of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and Stolen Lives family members: Brenda Bickerstaff, sister of Craig Bickerstaff and aunt of Ralkina Jones; Alicia Kirkman, mother of Angelo Miller; and Art Blakey, brother of Kiana Nicole Blakey.  Their courage, spoken through excruciating pain, challenged and inspired everyone in the church.  Rev. McCorry brought the crowd to its feet calling for October 24 as the time to "Get up, get out, and Rise Up in New York―to Stop Police Terror". 

Element Seven set the stage for the families to speak with an inspiring, dynamic performance of “A Change is Gonna Come”with song, dance and viola.  The Young Scholars, two pre-teen youth who had come with their family from Erie Pennsylvania for a protest for Tamir Rice earlier in the day, contributed original spoken word and dance that called out police violence against the people and violence among the people.  Puncture the Silence, an affiliate of Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and Reverend Jimmy Gates of Mt Zion Missionary Baptist Church offered statements of support.  We closed the night, loud and determined, with Art Blakey leading everyone in singing“Hell You Talmbout” ―and saying their names.

$647 was raised to send family members and others to New York when the church deacons passed the plate; new organizers stepped forward, with church members organizing for a True Life Church contingent in Rise Up October and people making plans to organize their friends to support and get on the buses.

#RiseUpOctober—October 22-24 NYC
Massive Mobilization to STOP Police Terror
Which Side Are You On?



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