Greensboro, NC

Posted: November 6, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

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Greensboro/”Guilty” County, NC

Between 60 and 70 people marched in Greensboro against police brutality through the Smith Homes public housing community. This was the 12th year that Greensboro has participated in the National Day of Protest, and the third year that the march has taken place at Smith Homes. Many marchers came from having participated in the ongoing Occupy Greensboro encampment downtown. People from the community tell of ongoing harassment from particular cops, even after one notoriously brutal officer had been pulled from duty in the community after some agitation by O22 activists and community members. People get snatched up and arrested literally for nothing–all in the shadow of a new $114 million jail that is nearing completion. A lively march led by Cakalak Thunder Radical Drum Corps snaked through the community, while marchers chanted, “No more Stolen Lives” and “We say no to the New Jim Crow, police brutality has got to go!” A couple of young people ran ahead of the march with a copy of the Stolen Lives book, tracing each other with chalk on the street to make police-style chalk body outlines, which they then marked with the names of people killed by law enforcement.

At the rally after the march, a revolutionary activist read a statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA that highlighted the new level of resistance in this country, from the California prison hunger strikes, to the Occupy Wall Street movement hitting cities all over the US, to the “Stop ‘Stop and Frisk'” movement taking off in NYC, and pointing out the role of the police as enforcers of a system of oppression. At one point, several members of the community really wanted someone to get on the mic to yell “FUCK THE POLICE!” but when no one stepped up to do it, the mother of a young Black man killed by a sheriff’s deputy in 2001 grabbed them mic and gave the crowd what they wanted…and then said, “and the way we’ll fuck the police is by continuing to get people together like this and exposing all the shit they do!” Another local activist spoke of the need to videotape the police, and the role that videotaping them can play in stopping brutality from happening, when the cops know they’re being watched. A longtime activist from the Nation of Islam spoke on the need to unite all communities when these outrages happen, and the host of a long-running cable access show connected what happens in the projects to what’s happening in the US’ wars around the globe. The rally ended with the reading of the Stolen Lives Pledge, led by a Stolen Lives family member.

Later that night, several people from the rally joined others at a spoken word/open mic event called “Cuss ’em Out”, organized in conjunction with NDP by a young musician and activist who played a leading role in organizing the march. Instead of just musicians and poets performing for an audience, people took turns, either from the mic or from the audience, to tell their own stories of police harassment, to talk about things they’d done to build resistance, or to talk about getting rid of police brutality and other forms of oppression through revolution…occasionally interspersed with a poem or original song by some astounding local performers.

The following day, Sunday, a small group of O22 activists and people recruited from the Occupy Greensboro encampment walked down to the old Guilford County, aka “Guilty” County jail and traced the outline of a body on the sidewalk outside to memorialize Ronald Eugene Cobbs, Jr., who had been tasered to death in the jail in 2009.

-submitted by Greensboro, NC October 22nd Coalition

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