Activism Rights

#RiseUpOctober Launches 3-Day Mass Protest in New York

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Written by Ethan M. Long

RiseUpOctober, a campaign and call-to-action focusing on stomping out police violence, will take to Manhattan this week. The “3 Days of Mass Resistance” will bring together activists, protesters, and the families of those affected by police violence spanning nationwide.

Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix, national spokesperson and founding member of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, spoke to the media on the steps of New York City Hall about the three day campaign, which will take place at the end of the week.

“We will have more than 100 family members from around the country joining together with dozens of family members from the New York area throughout this time period,” said Dix. “A collective voice of those who have suffered the horror of having a loved one snatched from them, their lives stolen by those who have sworn to protect and serve, is being forged through this effort.”

This was accomplished through an IndieGoGo campaign that ends this week. It allowed organizers to invite and fly out members of 100 families affected by police violence.

“What Ferguson signified was a breaking of the back of fear among young people, especially. Young people have always served as a vanguard, and once they are fearless, once they are courageous, it’s just a matter of them having comprehensive vision and having an analysis of empire, capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, coming together and saying ‘We’re gonna change this mess that we find ourselves in,’” said Dr. West.

“We will not be told that it is too complicated to talk about the murders of our youth. We are gonna talk about it, and the world is gonna have to look at what they are doing to our youth. The world is gonna have to see that in this homeland of freedom and democracy as they like to call it, a genocide is being carried out,” said Noche Diaz of Revolution Club, who also spoke at City Hall.

On Thursday, Times Square will be the location of a solemn reading of the names of those killed by law enforcement over the past couple of years. “Over 40 families of people killed by police will gather to tell their stories, accompanied by prominent voices of conscience who will be reading the names of just some of the 1000s of lives stolen,” the press release states.

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“It’s not enough to press ‘like’ on your Facebook status. It’s not enough to tell somebody, ‘Oh did you hear about so-and-so? They got killed by the police,” said Latoya Howell in the campaign’s introduction video, which features family members of those murdered speaking in front of an audience, using their courage to share their emotions and anger at the system that has continually failed. “Start saying: ‘But guess what’s next?’ We gonna rise up, together as one, and fight it, together,” she told the crowd. Howell’s son, Justus, was shot and killed by a police officer on April 4 in Zion, Illinois.

“That was my boy, lying dead in the street, and that could be yours,” she said. “The terror has to stop.”

“These family members bear the excruciating pain of not only losing their loved ones at the hand of state violence, but then being denied any justice… watching in agony as the police go unpunished, while their murdered loved ones are demonized,” the IndieGoGo page states.

Those who donate to the campaign can get pieces by artist Shepard Fairey or documentarian Ken Burns. The call to action has been endorsed by the student groups, organizations across the country, and grassroots activists, as well as Noam Chomsky and Green Party Candidate Jill Stein.

Other New York-centric actions will take place during the three days, including Friday morning’s “Shut Down Rikers!” protest, which is described as a “mass, nonviolent direct action. People of conscience are putting their bodies on the line to call for this torture chamber to be shut down.”

“They talk about tyrants, and human rights violations while they run torture chambers like Rikers Island,” Diaz told the crowd on Monday. “This must stop, and we are out to stop it. Which side are you on?”

“People are going to Rikers, and they’re not even being charged,” said James Lane, a representative of Green Party NY. “It is legal kidnapping, and it’s state-sponsored terrorism. People are being tortured on a daily basis. Killed on a daily basis, and the only reason they’re able to do this is because we don’t have numbers in the street to come out and say: ‘This is wrong.’”

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Saturday will see what Dix calls “a massive march,” descend upon Washington Square Park. The “National March to STOP Police Terror” will start there at 1 p.m. and close out at Bryant Park at 4 p.m.

The IndieGoGo page says that “Never before have this many families of police murder gathered in one place. Never before has the world had to confront so many of the faces of those whose lives have been torn apart by police terror and murder. Never before have their courage and cries for justice been fused together with each other on this scale, and with many thousands more from all walks of life demanding: POLICE TERROR MUST STOP — WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?”

The Counted’s current tally of those killed by police violence is 920 this year. 

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About the author

Ethan M. Long

Ethan Long is a journalist based out of Boston, MA.

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#RiseUpOctober Launches 3-Day Mass Protest in New York

by Ethan M. Long
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