Stop Mass Incarceration!



100 Families Project

#RiseUpOctober to Stop Police Terror A Call for Rise Up October to Stop Police Terror has gone out – and has been taken up by people of all walks of life – to be in New York October 22-24. Families of those whose lives have been stolen by the police have stepped forward to join this Call. Their powerful stories of what the system has done to them, and their cries for justice – not just in their cases but for what is happening all over this country – need to be heard right in the heart of New York City.

We want to make it possible for no less than 100 families to travel to New York City to be able to put this before the country and the world – to stand with many thousands of others to demand that people take a stand — Which Side Are You On? Do you stand with the people who are being victimized by police terror and murder and who refuse to live in a society like this, or do you stand with those who condone or justify these crimes? These families have made it clear that they want #RiseUpOctober to be very powerful and that they need to be there.

See below statements from family members whose loved ones have been murdered by the police.

Get Connected:


Uncle Bobby (Cephus Johnson), uncle of Oscar Grant, murdered by Bay Area Rapid Transit police, January 1, 2009

Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson, murdered by NYC police March 1, 2000

I’m still trying to get Rivera put away for my son’s murder. In 2000, my son Malcolm, Ferguson was murdered in the Bronx by police officer Luis Rivera, he blew my son’s brains out. The DA Robert Johnson refused to indict this cop. I took the case to civil court. In civil court my attorney was able to get Luis Rivera to truthfully admit what really happened. According to Rivera, he murdered Malcolm for no reason. When you ask why did he shoot him, he says he don’t know. But why is this man still out on the streets today? That’s why I have to keep asking for justice because there is no way this man is still able to walk and be a police officer. And I have to cry everyday because I can’t touch, see or hear my son. My family is destroyed by the loss of their brother… We need to rise up in October. We need to let the people know, we have had enough. We have had enough of y’all coming into our communities and destroying our families. If there's any way possible you can help bring some more families to New York for October 22, 23, and 24th, please do. I come to you as a mother, as a family member. And we as families up here ask you to stand with us.

Mertilla Jones, grandmother of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, murdered by Detroit cops May 16, 2010

I want to see what side people are on. Aiyana, seven-years-old, asleep—they came in and automatically blew my granddaughter’s brains out in front of me. Like I said, I seen the light of life leave out of Aiyana’s eyes. I never seen anything like this in my life. I don’t care how ghetto they say I am, how hood they say I am. I’ve never seen nothing like that in my life and I hope to never see it again. And I shouldn’t have had to see it on my seven-year-old sleeping. I traveled all the way from Detroit, Michigan to ask everybody: which side are you on?

Syreeta Myers, mother of VonDerrit Myers Jr., executed by police on October 8, 2014 in St. Louis
Unfortunately I was forced into this club no parent wants to be a part of. My one and only child, VonDerrit Myers Jr. was executed by an off duty cop October 8, 2014. The media attacked my son’s character and demonized him.
     Here is what you don’t know about VonDerrit. He was loved. He was a student. He loved basketball and the latest fashion. He was intelligent and an intellectual. He had big dreams.
     When VonDerrit was killed he was not committing a crime. He just left out of a store after buying a sandwich. Jason Flannery did not have the right to pursue anyone that was not engaged in a felony act. There was no forensic evidence or one eye witness that put a gun in VonDerrit’s hand. All the bullet wounds to VonDerrit’s body were from the rear, and one fatal shot to his head.
     This has left my family confused, hurt, lost, empty, and destroyed. That’s why we need people to join us at Rise Up October in New York, Oct. 22, 23, 24.
     Justice for all the families that have been impacted by police brutality.

Statement from Meko Williams, mother of LaReko Williams, murdered by Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina police, July 2011
My son, LaReko Williams was Tasered to Death - an expert witness in the civil trial, Dr. Shahad, said that he never in his life seen a heart that look like that. The electricity fried his heart. Dr. Shahad stated it look as if someone through an atomic bomb in his chest. At Rise Up October I want a picture of my son with his face on banners. The law is designed so that police officers are allowed immunity. Also, they scare the jurors in civil trials, because all jurors are registered voters, and the police have their personal information that pertains to their address and contact information.
     Rise Up October is a unity, it’s making a difference. Many people don’t know when the police steal a life, it’s life changing for the whole family. My [other] son’s birthday is 4 days after LaReko was murder. We had a candlelight vigil on his birthday. His reaction to Reko’s vigil was “what a fucking birthday.” They were very close brothers. I support Rise Up October because we are standing up for something right! In the eyes of society the media always justifies homicide by focusing on a charge but not on convictions. The truth of the matter is a deceased persons record isn't relevant if it don't have no bearing to the situation, period. They don’t release police officers service records or internal affairs records or complaint records or disciplinary action records because they don’t want you to know the truth. They try to justify when it’s unjustified! If there is no accountability it will always be liability. Police officers are trained to disrespect us as a way, they say, to defuse a situation! When it makes the situation worse!
     Rise Up October everybody should stand up. Families have to tell their stories over and over again, reliving the moments with emotions raging, a sensitive situation, because we will be reliving the moment with a deep rooted pain no one could imagine unless they are in our shoes. My last memory of LaReko was when he walked out the door thinking he would be returning and said “I LOVE YALL SEE YOU TOMORROW”!!!
     Rise Up October ~ come together with other mothers and fathers that know your pain and your day to day struggle in life, trying to adjust. Rise Up October is my biggest thing!

Alicia Kirkman, mother of Angelo Miller, killed by Cleveland policeman John Lundy, March 23, 2007

Rise Up October! It means a lot to me. It’s never happened in our lifetimes. All together: WE ARE NOT TAKING THIS KILLING AND MASS INCARCERATION! We are not tolerating it anymore. We do it in our cities, but never altogether like this. I knew we had to do this, all the relatives of people murdered by police nationwide... but I never knew how to do it, so I never tried. And I can’t rest until this happens. Last night, everything hit me. I don’t talk about this much... so it was real emotional for me. Rise Up October shows what everybody is doing, everything that is being done. And I am included. Before, I held back, thinking my son, Angelo Miller, had done something wrong, take a radio out of car, and that’s why not a lot of support. But the police shot his car up with 8 bullets and murdered him. His hands were up! They were supposedly going to charge those cops for murdering my son. That never happened. How is this justified?!
     Now, I am reaching out to families for Rise Up October to STOP police from murdering young people like my son. I got my goal of 25 people to NYC from the families in this area from my outreach. I got fundraising plans with big events October 10 and also neighborhood sales with hot dogs, chips and soda. Some families are confused, like they become activists and get taken up under the wing of the city and police to fight violence in the community. Sometimes they don’t know where to turn and end up there. But what happened to their sons is not right and they got to be with Rise Up October and in NYC too. Rise Up October is really challenging me. I am still hurting. But I am no quitter and now I can’t stop, I am working to reach out to all the families everyday and I am working to be a better fundraiser. I’m not stopping and I can’t even sleep! How about you? Which Side Are You On?

Statement from Kimberly Griffin, mother of Kimoni Davis
When you have a baby you tend to protect your child from dangers that you know, like gangs, drugs, and ill-minded people. The question is, when your baby is killed by law enforcement, those who took an oath to protect and serve, who protects you when the proposed protector is the one causing the harm?
     I lost my only child through the decision of Hanging Rock, Ohio officer D. Caruso. While my son’s life has ended D. Caruso is on paid leave. I felt empathy for the parents of Mike Brown and Aiyana Stanley Jones, but when my son Kimoni Davis was taken away, I decided to do something other than cry. I prayed asking God what do I do so no other parent faced my nightmarish life.
     My answer came when I read up on Rise Up October. I realized I am not alone and there is plenty of people who have been affected by police misconduct. Now is the time for the public to be aware and Rise up America or your child could be next.
     Kimoni Davis and his passenger were killed June 28 after a high-speed chase that began when he was supposedly going 72mph in a 60-mile-an-hour zone, a traffic ticket. He was known as "Kodak" among his friends and family.

Arthur Blakey II, brother of Kiana Nicole Blakey, murdered by an off duty black Cleveland Police officer, on August 19, 1989
I stand with the defiant and the bravery with other that have came out to tell their stories of the horror of police murder, although they hurt deeply to hear and to stomach, these and many others that are unheard are the very stories that should be heard, and this is the scope of why I am in support and endorse the call of #RiseUpOctober, and with all those hurt by the coldness of the cruelty and hatred of law enforcement all across the country, and would urge others to speak out, and step out in support of the many that say that this must stop, and it must stop now. It is long due time to ask the question, “which side are you on?” This is a question for all of humanity and of all races that can not longer be ignored, and we can no longer be silent and stay on the sidelines and let these atrocities continue.

Statement from Airickca Gordon-Taylor, cousin of Emmett Till
If police officers are going to hide behind badges the same as men hid underneath white hoods during the days of Jim Crow when my cousin Emmett Till was murdered for a mere whistle and kill our sons and daughters then we must rise up together as our people did after Emmett Till's murder with the eruption of the Civil Rights Movement in 1955. Meet me in New York for #RiseUpOctober!

Gloria Pinex, the mother of Darius Pinex – murdered by Chicago police January 7, 2011
“For 4 years I have been deceived. I always knew I was being lied to—just never knew that it was to this extent and how many people played a role in covering it up.
     “Indict the cops! Fire the lead prosecutor. I want all that. I want justice!
     “I want everybody who is pissed off about this system to be with me on October 22, 23, and 24 in New York City. Rise Up October! Stop Police Terror! Which Side Are You On?"

Statement from Carey Downs, father of James Rivera Jr., murdered by Stockton CA police July 22, 2010

“We are working tremendously hard in the community ever since my son James Rivera Jr. was murdered by police in Stockton, CA and we are stepping it up now for Rise Up October. We are working on fundraising to get 100 Families to NYC. We have made it to this point… we’ve stayed strong… but now people on the sidelines who have been ‘waiting’ for change to happen – we encourage you to step off the sidelines and get into the game. Too many people, too many families too … too long on the sidelines. Get off the sidelines and get more involved and get focused on Rise Up October! Let’s raise the level of Rise Up October because this has never been done before and we are setting out to make history. 100+ families whose loved ones have been killed by police October 22-24 in NYC: THIS will open the eyes of America!”

Cadine Williams, sister of O’Shaine Evans, killed by San Francisco police October 7, 2014

Andrea Irwin, mother of 19-year-old Tony Robinson, murdered by Madison, Wisconsin cop, March 6, 2015
“Going to New York for me, so on a national level we can all make some form of a difference. Because if we all stand up and say this has to change, they have to make changes. And it’s power in numbers.”

Sharon Irwin, grandmother, and Lorien Carter, aunt, of Tony Robinson

Sharon Irwin, grandmother of Tony Robinson, killed by Madison, Wisconsin police March 6, 2015
This is my grandson. He was 19. He’s young. He is Black and he is beautiful. And I am here to tell you that they took his life with seven bullets. [The cop] shot him three times, dropped his flashlight, picked it up, shot him three more times, looked at him and shot him again. Tony was unarmed and nothing he did deserved that. I’m looking at all these people, the human side of this. I cry every day. I have to go through hundreds of pages of evidence because they didn’t indict him—they said, no, he didn’t do anything wrong. And I say to you, if you lie to justify your actions, are they justifiable? No. And he lied, and the Madison police lied, and the DA lied. And they disgraced my family, they made us the criminals, they made my grandson a criminal that he was not. And I’m telling you, I’m tired and I’m not standing for this anymore. We are one people. We are the human race. But they are targeting Black folk. I’m sorry, I get very emotional. I feel this this every day. My daughter feels this every day. Our grandchildren feel this every day. Yes, I am from a rich and multicultural family and like she said, I am unapologetically [hands mic to Tony Robinson’s aunt] Black.
     We have, as a people, been taught to stay divided, because they can control us easier. Hey, if we stood up, there’s seven billion of us! If we stood up, what could anybody do? It is time to wake up. It is time to see we are not different. We are a people with different cultures and different ways to live. But we are human! And it is time!

Lorien Carter, aunt of Tony Robinson, killed by Madison, Wisconsin police March 6, 2015
The reason Rise Up October is so important is because there ain’t enough room in this church for all of the names. The reason why Rise Up October is so important is because in Madison, Wisconsin we are the number one worst place for minorities to live in this country and the number three “happiest place” in the country. We are the number one city in the entire country for minority youth incarceration, 18 and under. Our population of jail consists of three-fourths Black children. Meanwhile, our population outside consists of eight percent Black people. The truths that they are providing to you are not truths at all. The reason why Rise Up October is so important is because I neglected the facts and my nephew has paid. Because if any one of you, if it makes you feel uncomfortable I’m glad, it should. The blood of all of these people stains your hands, the same way it does mine. My nephew, yes he was biracial. It could be your nephew, it could be your grandchild. This is no longer polarized.

Nicholas Heyward, Sr., father of 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward, Jr., murdered by NYC police September 22, 1994

Rise Up October is something that should have been done many, many Octobers ago. My son was killed—I use the word “killed,” but really he was murdered. Whenever you shoot and kill someone who is unarmed, committed no crimes, no threat to anyone and you shoot and kill that person, that is murder. My son was an honor student. Yesterday, August 26, he would have been 34. It was a very painful day for me, I cried just about half the day. The reality is that Nicholas Jr. is no longer here because of a cowardly cop who shot and killed him while he was playing with his friends an innocent game of cops-and-robbers with a plastic toy gun that didn’t look nothing like a real gun, they were all colorful guns and looked nothing close to a real gun.

Melissa Kennedy: “This has to stop.”
From a recent donor to
     My name is Melissa Kennedy. My daughter Danielle Willard was shot and killed by Shaun Cowley and Kevin Salmon, both ex-detectives in Utah... The man that shot her was charged with manslaughter. At the preliminary hearing the Judge (that was retiring in 3 weeks) dropped the charges.​
     This is happening much too often and it needs to stop.
     The people that have given cops "implied immunity" need to take it away from them.
     I'm tired of seeing people being killed. I am tired of everyone looking the other way and letting these guys find a job at another office. The worst that has happened is these guys get fired or they are asked to retire. Most of these cops are still carrying a badge and a gun!
     This has to stop. I don't Danielle Willard to be just another kid shot by a cop. I want her name to live on. I want to make it so that she will be one of the reasons why changes are made. Danielle Willard's name will never just go away, no matter how hard other people try to make that happen. Her name will live on forever.

Gabrielle McCarter, wife of Rev. David McCarter, killed by Jasper Newton County, Texas sheriffs

Jessica Gatewood, mother of Richard Linyard Jr., who was murdered by the Oakland police on July 19, 2015
My condolences go out to ALL families (of victims of police terror and murder) involved!
     What RiseUpOctober means to me is unity, family and friends coming together to fight for their loved ones to let the whole world know that THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP! I’ve been fighting for the cause, selling hot dogs so we can get family out to N.Y.
     I need answers on the cause of my son Ricky’s death. I need his property, autopsy reports, etc. I have nothing!

Chemika Hollis, partner of Nate Wilks, killed by Oakland police August 12, 2015


Yohana Flores, daughter of Ernesto Flores, 52, murdered by San Bernardino County Sheriffs April 15, 2015
“Rise Up October – October 24 in NYC is something that must be done. All of these killings by police – we need more awareness. If we don’t fight, all the killings get covered up. October 24 will let our loved ones know we have not forgotten them and that we’re fighting for justice!! We are the voices that need to be heard.”

LaToya Howell, mother of 17-year-old Justus Howell, murdered by Zion, Illinois police April 4, 2015

I want you to all be aware of the realness of this tragedy. Every time I come up before all of y’all I don’t know what to say. But every time I look at a young face I think of my son and think of his demise. Every time I see little boys I shed a tear because I know that one day they can grow up and be killed—be killed, taken from us. That means all of our teaching, everything we told them not to do, everything he knew not to do, everything he was and was going to be, was stolen from him. And it’s all because of racist, coward police. It ain’t right. It’s not right. It’s not enough. I can’t stress this enough, it’s not enough to just press “like” on your Facebook status. It’s not enough to just tell somebody: Oh, did you hear about so-and-so, they got killed by the police?
     But guess what’s next? We’re going to rise up together as one and fight it together. Otherwise that face that you see passing on the street could look like your boy, could look like your granddaughter, your children. And you could walk around feeling like something was snatched from you. When I heard it—have you ever felt scared and just knew something was wrong and then y’all took that breath and said, whew, I’m glad that wasn’t mine. I never got that chance to breathe. That was my boy laying there in the street. They wouldn’t even let me go back and see him. They wouldn’t let me go in the hospital, they told me repeatedly that he wasn’t in the hospital, that that wasn't my son. But it damn sure was. And that could be yours, you could be here just like me if you don’t stand up and tell the next person that the terror has to stop….
     So I ask you all today, which side are you on? Would you stand by the way and watch another kid get gunned down, beaten? Another woman get raped? Would you stand by and act like it ain’t happening? I ask you today to stand up and choose your side. Power to the people. There is power in numbers. Put your fists in the air. Power to the people y’all!

Chris Silva, brother of David Silva, 33, murdered by Kern County Sheriffs and California Highway Patrol, May 8, 2013
“October 22-24 is a great idea – it’s PIVOTAL! People think there is justice served because some cops are indicted. No. True accountability isn’t happening, not in California and not in the U.S. I’ll be in NYC in October and I am bringing people with me.”

L’Sana DJahspora: “I place his death and our cause in the larger context of the struggle for justice…”
Statement from L’Sana DJahspora, father of Cinque ‘Q’ DJahspora, murdered by police November 7, 2014, in Jackson Tennessee.
     I tell people that "Justice for Q is Justice for You" because, I place his death and our cause in the larger context of the struggle for justice and the peace that I think can only come from justice. Like all of the martyrs in the ongoing police terror, my son 'Q' took a bullet for us, all of us. I truly believe Q took a bullet for me, as I would have defended my son to the death had I been there at the moment. Shot in the back while he lay face down on the ground, 20 year old Cinque 'Q' DJahspora is the victim of a determined execution by police, who returned after going to their car, with Q posing no threat on the ground, and returned, murdering him on the spot. Video reveals the execution. To this day police, city authorities and local media continue their close-knit cover up of the truth about the execution. The family has faced continued obstruction by all agencies involved, as the window for legal recourse is closing. We are on a campaign to expose the truth of Q's story and the pattern of police terror to which he fell victim. RiseUpOctober speaks directly to that purpose. I was honored to have brother Dr. Cornel West hold up Q's photo at the Million Peoples' March and am determined to be in New York with such champions for justice, kindred families of other martyrs and my son in spirit. No one in America deserves such an execution as inflicted on Q, a good son, by accounts of all who knew him. Q deserved much better; Q deserves JUSTICE. I appreciate your support in helping me stand with you in my son's name and spirit.

Joanne Mickens, mother of Corey Mickens, murdered by NYPD March 13, 2007

My son Corey Mickens was killed in Manhattan, March 13, 2007. He was murdered while he was sitting in a restaurant eating. He was shot 12 times but they tried to say he had a gun. They shot him but it turned out he didn’t have a gun. And the person that murdered my son is the same officer involved in another shooting… I’m fighting for justice for my son. I’m going to be out here fighting for justice for all. Please don’t give up the fight, everybody. I’m still out here for the fight, for justice for my son.

Georgia Ferrell, mother of Jonathan Ferrell, killed by police on September 14, 2013 in Charlotte, NC
“We have to keep this struggle alive. I’m working hard here fighting for justice. We have to put those officers behind bars. This is an attack on our children! We have to keep praying and we have to keep fighting to stop them. If we stop... if we rest for a moment... it starts all over again. We have to be in the forefront. My parents marched for equal rights, to be treated right. Why in 2015 is this happening?! Rise Up October. I want to let the nation know what’s going on. We need a new future. People in authority don’t stand up and speak for the people. No one in authority has stood up and said innocent people are being killed. Jonathan was seeking help! The President says nothing. When Freddie Gray is killed by police and young people stand up the President says the kids are thugs. I’m a Christian and a parent. If Jonathan was doing anything wrong I’d say so. He needs help and the police fire their guns. This must be stopped. I’m flying to NYC for Rise Up October. I’ve put the word out for funds. And I am using my own money. I am very excited about Rise Up October. We need to do this!”

Family of Daniel Covarrubias, killed by Lakewood, Washington police in April 2015

Lanna Covarrubias, sister of Daniel Covarrubias, killed by Lakewood, Washington police in April 2015:

Native Americans are killed at the highest rate because we're the smallest population, but no matter what race you are, nobody deserves to be murdered. We all deserve due process. My brother was a descendant of Chief Seattle. I say that not because his life is any more than valuable than any of the other victims, but because it’s a reminder this genocide is still happening and the modern day lynchings continue to happen today. It’s just hidden behind the justice system as legal discrimination.
     I feel like we'll never get closure and it’s a struggle. I can't even grieve properly because I'm constantly fighting, I haven't really even had a chance to stop and grieve because we just out instantly and rallied and took to the streets, we wanted to scream out there the injustice that was happening here in our community.
     I know I have to keep fighting. It's just seems like it's been years since Daniel has passed, its' only been 7 months. Me and my brother were so close.
     I struggle because I stay awake at night thinking how can I get through to people, how I can get through to let them see what's happening in our community. I didn't realize the numbers were so high. I had went out in 2012 to protest for John T. Williams. And I was out on the frontline, me and my friends we saw an injustice in our community and we went out and fought against it. And I thought I had done my job, I thought, well you know I'm protested, I'm done. And now I see there's so much more I could have done.

Marilyn Covarrubias, mother of Daniel Covarrubias:
My name is Marilyn Covarrubias, I'm Daniel's mother. (She breaks down crying) It's too hard! Every day I wake up crying, every night I go to sleep crying. I had a dream the other night. I dreamt that Daniel was upstairs lying on his bed. He was moaning and flapping his arms around in his sleep, like he was having a bad dream. I walked over and sat next to him on his bed. I touched his hair and I rubbed his back. And I said, “It's ok, Dan, it's just a bad dream, you're having a bad dream and mommy's here.” I woke up and realized that it would never be ok for me, enraged, sobbing gallons of tears because it's not ok, it's never going to be ok. I'll feel bad and get sick to my stomach when I think about what happened to him. We have to get up and we have to do something about this, we can't let this go on. I cry for the kids, I relieve it every single time I turn on the news and find out that somebody else has been killed and it makes me just cry for the mothers who are going through the same thing I'm going through. And we've got to stop it. We have to stand together and we have to make a difference. We have to make change. We can't let them get away with this anymore. It can't be sanctioned. We have to fight this, and this is what we need to do. We need to put on the full armor of God, the belt of the truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit. We have to pick up the sword of the spirit and we have to fight this. We've got to do it together, we’ve to stand together and do this, all of us, everybody.