Boston, MA

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

From a Revolution Books staff member:

On October 22nd over 250 people rallied outside the Boston Police Headquarters as part of the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality and the Criminalization of a Generation.

The rally was marked by the broad participation of activists and supporters of Occupy Boston, including students from Harvard, Tufts and Boston University as well as residents of the predominantly Black and Latino and Cape Verdean neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester in Boston. Many OB activists had only heard of the National Day of Protest the week before when it had been brought to the OB General Assembly by staff members from Revolution Books and were excited at being part of this nation-wide initiative. A number had participated in a rally of over 500 people the night before called for in the heart of Roxbury to demonstrate Occupy Boston’s commitment to the concerns of the Black and Latino communities.

A statement from the Occupy Boston web-site read in part: “This Saturday, in recognition of the 16th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, we will mark a historic development in our movement: activists from Occupy Boston will be joining activists from Occupy the Hood in a joint demonstration of strength and solidarity against police brutality. Not only will we be rallying against the police repression of our movement, both in Boston and nationally; more importantly, we’ll be rallying against the police violence experienced by poor folk and communities of color every day in this country.”

The rally buzzed as word of the arrest of Cornel West, Carl Dix and 30 other people protesting the New York Police Department Policy of “Stop and Frisk” in Harlem the previous night spread. Many people had never heard of “Stop and Frisk” and simply could not get their heads around having 700,000 such incidents happening in the course of a year. Some were asking “how can this be happening in this country?” Others were saying “this is exactly what happens when people protest the injustices in the system.” People taking up the Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on the Occasion of October 22, 2011 and its call to be “WORKING FOR REVOLUTION” engaged in heartfelt discussions over what was the source of these crimes and what it would take to end them. Two young men who had traveled up from Occupy Wall Street in New York the night before spoke about how similar conversations were taking place at Zuccotti Park every night.

Speakers drew on deep personal experience with loved ones and friends whose lives had been lost at the hands of the police or whose street deaths were written off by the powers that be as “gang related” or, in other words, “not worth wasting our time on.” One man recounted the only time the City of Boston agreed to an out-of-court wrongful death settlement to the family of a man killed by the police to prevent the case from going to trial: “You want to know how much the life of a young Black man goes for on today’s market? $70,000—that’s how much! For a life ended and a lifetime of loss for family and friends. And even this was the only time this has ever happened. In every other case the City has ruled ‘Justifiable Homicide!'”

Other speakers spoke to how important this day was in breaking down the barriers that divide the people. An older Black woman spoke passionately about how much it meant for her to see the diversity of the crowd spoke to the mainly young white activists from the Occupy movement: “We are the 99%…You are the 99%…They say that once it gets cold and nasty and winter comes you will give up and go away. DON’T! DON’T GO AWAY! Stay. We are not going away, we are going to continue to fight, and we don’t want you to go away.” This was followed by a roar from the crowd “We are not going away! We are here to Stay!”

The rally ended with a march to nearby Roxbury Community College.

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