New York, NY

Posted: January 9, 2012 by o22national in Area reports 2011
Tags: , , ,

Although the route for the march was still uncertain at the start of the rally in New York City to mark the 16th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, the protest maintained its fiery energy from its start at Union Square to the last cheers at the Jacob Riis housing projects in the Lower East Side. On the heels of the state-sanctioned lynching of Troy Davis and attacks on protesters standing with Occupy Wall Street all around the country, about 700 participants in NYC were fueled by righteous outrage on October 22nd.

A contingent from Occupy Wall Street marched up to Union Square from Zuccotti Park in solidarity with this year’s National Day of Protest. The 2011 protest opened with a Teach-in at Union Square, where Mahina Movement performed rousing songs, organizers from the People’s Justice Coalition conducted a Know Your Rights workshop, and an organizer from Safe OUTside the System presented on their work. In addition to PJ and SOS, also tabling at the Teach-in were Alliance of Conscious Documentarians, Anarchist Black Cross, and Revolution Books, along with October 22 Coalition. During the Teach-in, participants contributed words and images to a mural set for all expressions of the day, while Cern One created artworks inspired by the atmosphere of the protest.

Protesters were enraged by the fact that at least 199 have been killed by NYPD since Amadou Diallo back in 1999. At this protest, the son of John Collado, who was shot by a plainclothes cop in Inwood the month before, spoke of his family’s pain and their anger, with his mother and sister by his side. Standing with them and also speaking were families of Stolen Lives who have been active in the struggle: Allene Person (mother of Timur Person, killed by NYPD in 2006), Danette Chavis (mother of Gregory Chavis, killed by NYPD in 2004), Jean Griffin (sister of David Glowczenski, killed by Southhampton Village police in 2004), Joanne Mickens (mother of Corey Mickens, killed by NYPD in 2007), Juanita Young (mother of Malcolm Ferguson, killed by NYPD in 2000), and Margarita Rosario (mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega, killed by NYPD in 1995). Also participating in the protest were Carmen and Michael Ojeda, the parents of 11-year old Briana Ojeda, who died after being denied medical assistance last year, and Patricia Gonzalez and Jennifer Gonzalez, the mother and partner, respectively, of Kenny Lazo killed by Suffolk County police in 2008. Below video with clips of families speaking courtesy of Copblock.

Also speaking at the protest was an array of individuals and representatives of organizations working to fight police brutality, repression, and criminalization: Carl Dix, co-founder of October 22 Coalition and National Spokesperson for the Revolutionary Communist Party-USA; Christina Gonzalez, a victim of police brutality who has been active with Occupy Wall Street; Pastor Omar Wilks of Unison Pentecostal Church; Alicia McWilliams for the Newburgh 4; Debra Sweet from World Can’t Wait; and representatives from Picture the Homeless, ANSWER Coalition, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL, and Occupy the Hood, along with individual organizers such as Iz and Angel, who had done extensive outreach in the LES.

Following the end of the rally at Union Square, where O22 organizers Aidge and Angel Seda prepped protesters with chants, the Rude Mechanical Orchestra kicked off the march, which wound through the Lower East Side to Jacob Riis Houses, where the rally continued. Also providing beats throughout the protest were Kongo, Joyce Jones, and other drummers. Additional artists that performed at Union Square and the LES included: Majesty, Marcel Cartier, Peace Poets, Back to the Roots (Evan Greer and spiritchild).

A moment of silence and a moment of rage were shared in remembrance of Kathryn Lee, the national coordinator of October 22 Coalition who was brutally murdered over the summer.

To close the protest, the Stolen Lives Pledge was led by Yasmine Lancaster, the cousin of Nicholas Heyward, Sr., whose son was killed by a Brooklyn Housing cop in 1994. Having recently moved down to Atlanta, GA, Nicholas took part in NDP-ATL.

The protest also held the official release of the Voices Against Police Brutality Mixtape, which consists of music and poetry by independent artists across the U.S. intertwined with first-hand accounts from families of those killed by law enforcement.

Click on the photo below to view photos from the day.

Links to news coverage:
NYC Indymedia
The Local East Village
CBS News
New York One

Additional videos:
The Local East Village

  1. Progressive Pupil says:

    Solidarity in this issue is needed in order to make real change. We are inspired by the recent debates surrounding Stop & Frisk practices by the NYPD but grassroots organizing needs to continue to end all forms of state-sanctioned violence:

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