Today is Martin Luther King Jr‘s actual birthday January 15th 1929. The official holiday is this Monday January 20th..Its also the same day President Obama is inaugurated. We wanted to offer up a few pieces to help you remember, inspire and get you through the day….
First up is a nice video that pays tribute to Bloody Sunday.. That was on March 7 1965 when Dr King and about 600 Civil Rights marchers attempted to walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. When they came to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met with a line of police and bully clubs.. many of the marchers were badly beaten.. This song captures the moment
Next is the speech that many speculate led to King being killed. It was the historic speech where he talks about why he opposed the War in Vietnam.. It was a compelling speech where he goes in on the US and her policy of military violence. He also talks about the intense poverty here in the country.
What many folks don’t like talking about is how shortly after the speech major newspapers from all over the country vilified King. They accused him of being unpatriotic. Not only did he lose support amongst the mainstream, he also lost a lot of popularity amongst other Blacks and Civil Rights leaders. Many felt that he stepped out of his lane and that by speaking on the war, it would mess up their funding. You don’t hear too many people apologizing years later for dissing King and abandoning him for speaking out against the war.
Here’s part 1 of a cool in depth interview as he was just starting out in the Civil Rights Movement… The historic Montgomery Bus Boycott was under his belt.. Here on a show called the Open Mind, King talks about the ‘New Negro’
This was a piece I put together a couple of years ago to pay tribute to the Oscar Grant Movement… We were all waiting eagerly for the verdict to the trial around the police who killed him.. Was moved to juxtapose King’s last speech with all that had been going leading up to the jury’s decision..
Bay Area Residents were insulted to see this sign calling for Freedom of a killer cop during the SF Giants Playoff game.
This past week the Bay Area and those who want Justice 4 Oscar Grant were insulted when the father and supporters of killer cop Johannes Mehserle showed up to McCovey Cove in a Yacht next to Candlestick Park during the Giants playoff games and unfolded ‘Free Mehserle’ banners. The signs were seen nationwide as TV cameras would show the signs when panning into the outfield.
Bay Area folks weren’t having it and dispatched a boat of their own to the cove to unveil large Justice 4 Oscar Grant banners. Police supporters driving the Yacht attempted ram the Grant boat and now the Bay is on fire as the November 5th sentencing looms near.
This Saturday at 12 noon there will be a huge rally in downtown Oakland in front of City Hall.. The rally sponsored by the Longshoremen’s Union will be accompanied by them shutting down ports on the west coast to bring attention to the Oscar Grant case…
As folk here in Cali rally for Oscar Grant, many will also have their hearts, minds and attention on the recent police killing of 20-year-old star football player and Pace University student Danroy Henry aka DJ Henry.
For folks who don’t know the story, last weekend, Henry and fellow teammate and best friend Brandon Cox were parked in the fire lane in front of a bar in Westchester County near the Pace University campus, when a chaotic fight broke out. Henry and Cox weren’t involved. In fact Henry was the designated driver and was waiting to take his friends home. When police showed up on the scene and did what they normally do, start barking orders with a ‘take no mess‘ attitude as they began ordering folks around, trying to clean up the scene. Among those ordered was Henry.
According to police they tapped on the window of Henry’s car and ‘he suddenly sped off hitting an officer and putting his life in danger‘. Police claimed they were fearing for their lives as one officer was supposedly clinging to the hood of the car, thus compelling them to shoot and kill Henry. Note this is the story the police told and its been debunked by dozens of witnesses on the scene.
According to passenger Brandon Cox and witnesses to the horrific scene, cops tapped on the window and Henry slowly drove off believing he was being ordered move away from the fire lane. He didn’t speed off and no officer was hit and left clinging to his windshield, yet shots were fired into the vehicle killing Henry. This was a popular well mannered young man who was not a known troublemaker, had no criminal record and who was unarmed.
Our hearts go out to Pace University football player 20 year old Danroy Henry who gunned down by police & handcuffed while he lay dying. Thousands came out for his vigil. This week's Pace games were canceled
After the car was stopped/crashed, Henry was pulled out and handcuffed while he lay on the ground dying. His friends rushed to his aid and were tasered and handcuffed by Mt Pleasant police. . Some of his friends knew CPR and wanted to keep him alive. They were in shock he was shot by the police. It was only after witnesses, many of them white screamed at police that what they did was wrong that they relented and took the handcuffs off the mortally wounded Henry.
When the ambulance arrived, medical workers were directed to the police officers who were hardly injured (they got hurt after shooting Henry). While they looked after the police, Henry lay on the ground with bullets wounds for over 15 minutes before he was tended to…As we know he eventually died from his injuries. More details around this are still forth coming. Thousands came out for a vigil to honor Henry. This week’s Pace football game was cancelled
Our experience with Oscar Grant, had many of us here in Cali wondering if police in Mt Pleasant, NY employed similar tactics to cover up their wrong doings. If folks recall, in the first hours after Grant was shot, police funneled reports to local media about him having a criminal past. This was aired and used as some sort of justification for him being killed that fateful New Years morning. We’re almost sure police were looking for dirt on Henry. Fortunately this was a good kid and so the typical police narrative of the bad apple being shot doesn’t hold water. As we speak police have been combing the area ‘looking for witnesses to collaborate their story’ that Henry was in the wrong and put officers lives in danger.
We don’t think so. For many of us this is Sean Bell and Oscar Grant all over again. Our condolences and prayers to the Henry family. They stated in interviews that they want the truth. We hope that’s afforded to them and that the police do what never happened with Grant, apologize to them for this inexcusable behavior.
We also hope that good minded peace officers will take bold steps forward and speak out and say ‘enough is enough’. It’s good to see Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Henry’s home state, is speaking out and calling for an investigation. Hopefully President Obama will speak out the way he’s done when officers have been slain.
Many of us will be speaking out both today Oct 22 and tomorrow during the rally as we pay tribute to Grant and other victims of police violence. We leave you with some videos that will hopefully raise awareness about the gravity of police brutality.