From a student: Why I'm putting my body on the line to Shut Down Rikers Island

This statement is in response to the call for non-violent direct action on October 23 to shut down Rikers Island prison in NYC as part of Rise Up October.

To say that I am fearless and that I don't care if I'm arrested on Friday would be a lie. I'm terrified. I am. The truth is I've never been arrested and I've never thought much about civil disobedience before. Sure I've marched in the streets and screamed in police officers faces calling them racist pigs, and killers. But I had the safety of the backing of a huge crowd on my side but when I lay down my body Friday morning to stop business as usual on Rikers Island I don't know what will happen. The unknown terrifies me and gives me anxiety. The fact that police have and continue to get away with wanton violence against innocent people scares me and keeps me up at night and makes me think twice about doing civil disobedience. BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT. This moment right here and now is special. The reason I'm putting my fears aside, casting my anxiety off, is because there are youth on Rikers Island who don't get to make that decision. Because I think of Kalief Browder, a young man, who was snatched one night from his friends and family, for a crime he didn't commit and ended up on the torture island that is Rikers Islands for 3 years, 3 years, 3 years he spent there the majority of his time in solitary confinement. I'm putting my body on the line for the lives lost to the horrendous place that is Rikers Island. I'm putting my body on the line for the lives currently stuck in the torture chamber that is Rikers Island. And I'm putting my body on the line to wake up the people just a few miles away, living in Manhattan and Brooklyn and queens and the Bronx, to tell them we CANNOT just go about doing business as usual while these kids are left to rot in the horrendous institution that is Rikers Island. I would be lying if I said this is an easy decision for me, because it is not. I struggle with this and I fear this but too may innocent lives are being cast out by this system and too many innocent lives are forced to go through literal hell on Rikers Island. That I why I'm putting my body on the line to SHUT DOWN RIKERS ISLAND. 


Occidental College in California, after a showing October 20 of The Murder of Fred Hampton.

Photo: Special to Revolution

From Youth Organizer for #RiseUpOctober in New Paltz

"It is time, New Paltz, to stand up for what is right"

New York—Come to New York, Change history, Come. Be part of standing up and saying NO MORE. Police terror must stop! We must collectively say that black and brown lives matter in this country! Which side are YOU on? Do you stand with the families who have lost loved ones to sanctioned murder by the police or with the Racist, Sexist, Ignorant, Corrupt police departments in this country? Power to the People.

Rise up New Paltz, rise up and say where you stand. You’ve seen name after name on the news and hashtag after hashtag. Each name and hashtag was a person with a family and a beating heart. Murder by the police cannot continue. These murders are the lynchings or our time. These black and brown men and women were killed for minor or no apparent crime. These victims have subsequently been dehumanized by the police in varying accounts. Black and brown people have been disproportionately robbed of their bodies based on skin color alone, which has been allowed in the police system.

It is time, New Paltz, to stand up for what is right and once and for all bring an end to this racist murder and mass incarceration.

The national march will take place in Washington Square Park in Manhattan at 11 am.


Stand up against Police Brutality. Stand up against murder by police. Stand up against racism.

FB event page:


Getting out the word about Rise Up October at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

Getting out the word about Rise Up October at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island

From a Johns Hopkins University student organizing for #RiseUpOctober

“An unequal opportunity given to unqualified minorities” This is how a white student defined Affirmative Action upon being asked in a cultural competency class my first few weeks in college. A justification as to why I and my fellow students of color had the privilege to be sitting in a Johns Hopkins classroom. Right then, I wondered what did she see when she saw me? A fellow woman who Affirmation Action was originally designed for the equal opportunity of? A fellow student going through the same experience as her? Or did she just see Black, which in her eyes makes me unqualified, incompetent, and not worthy of the same seat that she too finds her self in. Our seats were not equal because I am Black. She deserved hers more than I did mine because I had an “unequal opportunity” that she didn’t. I told her that I thought her definition was racist. She said, “I don’t see race, I’m colorblind”. I said, “If you don’t see color you don’t see me, If you don’t see race, you’re not paying attention.”

At what point do we decide to pay attention? To speak up? To take action? How many more Black students have to feel inferior? How many more kids have to be shot? How many more marches? How many more protests? How much more do Black lives have to matter before you start caring about them? Choosing to remain apathetic is choosing to side with injustice. Being silent only helps them keep us voiceless.


From a Princeton Student

"I will march because choosing to remain silent is a form of symbolic violence in the midst of a genocide."

October 19, 2015

In a democratic country that promises equality and justice for all, these promises fall short when current events, historical trajectories, and oppressive hegemonic foundations, kill disempowered people everyday. The genocide ongoing in this country at the hands of racialized police brutality is one of many articulations of white supremacy, amongst other oppressive ideologies, prevalent in this country. There is no equality when Black and Brown people are being murdered in disproportionate numbers. There is no justice when the law stands behind murderers constantly ruling "no indictment" on police officers whose racist motives in their murders are clear.

What does the denial of a trial, A TRIAL, mean to the victims and their families? This denial is dehumanizing and adding to the second-class citizenship people of color experience in the United States. The ongoing murders, the denial of trials, and the state sponsored violence continue to devalue and dehumanize people of color, especially Black, Brown, and Native Americans.

The world is watching the United States. I will march to demand justice and equality. I will march because promises of justice and equality have not been kept. I will march because my people are dying at the hands of racialized police brutality. I will march because if I don't I am part of the silent majority that is perpetuating the problem. I will march because choosing to remain silent is a form of symbolic violence in the midst of a genocide.



to Rise Up October

Youth and students on a mission to make #RiseUpOctober happen 

Updated October 27, 2015

From #RiseUpOctober Student Task Force:

Calling ALL students & youth who were part of #RiseUpOctober—fulfill a great need by filling out this questionnaire.

November 6, 2015

Click for questionnaire

Spoken word poem by student at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

Student Op-ed in Hofstra Chronicle, October 20:

Mass incarceration effects subject of #RiseUpOctober action

By Shannon Alomar

With Halloween quickly approaching and people finalizing what horrifying and fictional characters they will embody, my mind cannot help but be consumed with a real horror story affecting my community: the killing of innocent people and mass incarceration.

October is a month filled with several causes looking to spark awareness from the masses (many of which I am a proud supporter of), but one cause I would like to turn your attention to is #RiseUpOctober. This call-to-action hashtag is being used this month to encourage people all across the country to pour into New York City and march for the purpose of spreading the message that “police terror must stop, and it is up to [us] to stop it!”

Read the whole piece

Hofstra Chronicle is the student newspaper at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY

Students at Morgan State University, Baltimore

October 20, 2015

Rise Up October talked to several students at Morgan State University in Baltimore about building for and going to the October 24 national march in NYC..

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From a High School Student in NYC

October 19, 2015

Time and time again people have cried out against the injustices of our justice system. The truth is out there. It is outrageous that there is such a disregard for the sanctity of human life. People witness it every day. Generation after generation we are faced with the same system of oppression. I refuse to listen to people keep saying, “Oh well, that’s just the way it is.” I’m sick of it. It should not be this way and it doesn’t have to be. I stand here today to combat that system. When people step off of the sidelines and unite with one another, that is when we can make the changes we need. I have taken up Rise Up October for all our sakes, to change that which we are told we cannot change.


From a Student at Truman State University, Missouri

October 19, 2015

I and many other students at Truman State University are supporting #RiseUpOctober because it is bringing urgently needed attention to the important issue of police brutality. The capitalist media has not given enough attention to this issue, and misrepresents reality in the news, fictional television, and the creation of a police culture that demonizes parts of our population along racial and economic lines. Through the process of organizing for this event, Truman’s campus dialogue has begun to change for the better. It is becoming increasingly important to ask ourselves which side we are on, and to have serious deliberations about how we feel on this issue. My anger is not directed at individual police officers, but instead the systemic problems that have been in the works for years in this country. It is not fair for police officers or the general population to have a situation as explosive as Ferguson, Baltimore, and many cities across the United States as part of our day to day lives.


Read this article, dated October 20, 2015, in the Washington Square News, "NYU's Independent Student Newspaper":

"Black Lives Matter still going strong with October call to action"

Statement by Columbia University student for #RiseUpOctober

October 19, 2015

As a student-to-be social worker, or as I like to call it, a student-to-be-social-justice-change-agent, I realize that those who choose to study social work are on a quest for truth. I constantly find myself searching for authenticity in this world, and question how to harmonize authenticity with my thoughts and actions. This cognizance compels social justice change agents to evolve their consciousness through action, and their action through consciousness. We strive to be intentional, to back our critical thinking with practice, and our practice with critical thinking. 

When we witness silence become violence, complicity become bigotry, and truth become lie, it precludes the possibility that we will stand by in complacency. In our commitment to search for truth, we vow to dismantle any phenomenon that threatens truth's constructs. Thus our truth cannot evolve without the radical interaction of action and consciousness. Our commitment to truth inherently binds us to the actions that produce it. And in our commitment to truth, we are bound by our commitment to integrity. 

We refuse to be passersby as an assault is waged on our generation. We refuse to let the stories of our lives, of our black and brown sisters and brothers, become lies. The question, "Which side are you on?" is a challenge, make no mistake. It is calling on humans to articulate their truth, to challenge their authenticity and integrity.  In this reality, it is easy for our truth to be lost, but we must remain steadfast so to not wane in our action, thinking, or language. 

To challenge your authenticity, I ask, "is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?"


Report on Monday, October 12, 2015 - From the Student Task Force for #RiseUpOctober

October 14, 2015

Early that morning everybody on the team read three articles on (along with other articles): Carl Dix’s statement “Authorities Greasing Skids to Exonerate Tamir’s Murderers!,” along with the accompanying article, “Tens of Thousands Come to DC for Justice or Else Rally - What Is Really Needed for the Movement to STOP Police Terror?,” and “Some Lessons in Building the Rise Up October Event at Columbia University.”  Going into Monday we knew that the first two articles were societal questions that were ruminating in people’s minds.  So we made sure to get ourselves oriented for the big day ahead of us.

Read reports from teams that went out to Sarah Lawrence and other universities

Action Plan from Students at Truman College, Missouri, for Rise Up October

October 1, 2015

A meeting was hosted by a campus SDS chapter at Truman College in northern Missouri. Fifteen students showed up. After quick introductions, there was a short presentation by a revcom and Rise Up October organizer from another city about the emergency of police murder, the crossroads the struggle to stop police terror faces today, and how Rise Up October can be a turning point to make a leap in the struggle to stop police murder by challenging society about “what side are you on?” and bringing many people off the sidelines and into the streets for #RiseUpOctober. Students discussed the situation and what the stakes are in making a leap in our resistance, or not. At first students talked about getting a dozen or two to NYC. But soon something different came into focus—a vision of #RiseUpOctober becoming a big thing on the whole campus with many students being mobilized for the showdown in NYC October 24. With that orientation, students jumped right into getting organized! They brainstormed ideas, made plans, and delegated responsibility, and came up with this action plan.

Check out their plan here

Columbia University October 7

550 Pack Columbia University Auditorium for Rise Up October
A Challenge to Columbia University Students and the World

After a down-to-the-wire battle to hold the event, 550 people, largely Columbia University students, packed the Lerner Hall Auditorium on the Columbia campus in NYC on Wednesday night, October 7, for a powerful, moving event challenging everyone to take up and organize for Rise Up October.

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Carl Dix Speaks to Columbia University Students, October 7
"I don't want to keep making hashtags!"

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Columbia University October 7 - Rise Up October

Kimberlé Crenshaw, Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Nicholas Heyward, Sr., Cornel West at Columbia University October 7.

Some Lessons in Building the Rise Up October event at Columbia University

by A Revolutionary Volunteer for #RiseUpOctober

October 11, 2015

Read more

Organizing for Rise Up October at New York University (NYU)

Organizing for Rise Up October at New York University (NYU).
Photo: Special to

Night for Justice at NYU: A Call and Challenge to Act

October 5, 2015

“The Night for Justice” at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University on October 1 started with a slideshow accompanied by live music from professional cellist Clerida Eltime. Horrific images from almost 100 years of lynchings—Black bodies defiled in the most inhuman and vicious way; the KKK smiling and walking free. Many, many decades of Black people being murdered and brutalized with cops and racist vigilantes walking free. The faces of Emmett Till, Eleanor Bumpurs, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown... and more. Mothers’ faces stained with tears of grief and anger. But also the people’s struggle against all this. People going up against fire hoses and dogs 50 years ago... and people facing tear gas and rubber bullets today in Ferguson.

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DePaul University Students Say: Get on the Bus to NYC!

October 2, 2015

DePaul students for October 24On September 30, students at DePaul University in Chicago hosted a program on Rise Up October. They heard from two women whose sons were murdered by police: LaToya Howell, whose son Justus was killed by Zion, Illinois police; and Gloria Pinex, whose son Darius was killed by Chicago police. The students were moved to act. So they (along with others) took this picture together to challenge students everywhere to do what they are doing: show everyone that you are going to New York for October 24 AND then challenge people to contribute the money to help you—and many others—get there. Call 312/933-9586 for bus tickets from Chicago.


From UCLA Students and Revolution Club Members: Why Students Must Take Up #RiseUpOctober

October 5, 2015

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.

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