Fruitvale Station, Trayvon Martin and the Value of Human Life in America

This is a powerful, must read essay from Shamako Noble who is the founder & ED of Hip Hop Congress..he gives keen insight and great historical foundation in the piece.. Please take time to read it, reflect on it and share…

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

~Martin Niemöller

Sword of the West Shamako Noble

Sword of the West Shamako Noble

Some people have described this as our generation’s Emmett Till moment. Still, others have simply given up hope.

This weekend marked the release of Fruitvale Station, a film created to share the story of Oscar Grant. Oscar Grant III was fatally shot on New Years Day, 2009. The shooting was caught on film via camera phone, and shared with the world at large. The outcome of this case was that the officer responsible, Johannes Mehserle, was sentenced to only two years, minus time served. He served that time hidden safely away from the rest of the inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail.

Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler

Creator of the film, Ryan Coogler, comments on CNN.com that he would have been the same age as Oscar Grant if he were alive today. He is 27. Oscar Grant would have been 27. Trayvon Martin would have been 18. In an interview with CNN, Ryan reflected, “What gets glossed over is that we’re human beings too, like everybody else, young African-American males. Our humanity can often be found in our relationships with the people who are closest to us, and those relations aren’t often shown in headlines and whatever types of media you see us portrayed in. I hope the people can see a little bit of themselves in the character if they sit down and watch the film, and have a little bit of insight.

“This devaluing and dehumanization has taken place in sectors of the United State’s economy and society for centuries. Many of the gains that have been made in an effort to combat this have been rolled back, while others have never been addressed at all. What is difficult for most people (white people in general as they have been without this fear for centuries) is to imagine that one day, they will be the parents in that court room. And given what we’ve learned with Edward Snowden, Guantanamo Bay, and the increasing violations of the civil liberties of ALL “American’s” across the board, having a courtroom is an assumption.  Without greater understanding of that, and the reality that one day, the parents in that court room will be white, fighting for a child having been killed by a drone,a mercenary or a National Guardsman’s and no one will care, because as we’ve seen before in history, there won’t be anyone left to do anything about it.

At the same time, as I write this, jury members who have spent weeks listening to the testimony and evidence have determined the fate of not just Zimmerman, but also of the now infamous Stand Your Ground law and once again, the entirety of race, and class relations in the United States of America. Many pundits and legal professionals who have observed the case made extreme efforts to communicate to the public that this case is not about race. One would be hard pressed to find any Black people in the United States, or people of color for that matter who could possibly agree with that.  That, would simply be contrary to the whole of our known experience. Not that it can’t happen.

Well, perhaps hundreds of years of racial tension, the reversal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights act, and countless young black deaths at the hands of law enforcement that never reached the light of day have made not seeing this travesty of justice as difficult, if not impossible.

As my brother and colleague DLabrie, artist, President of RonDavoux Records and Deputy Director of Hip Hop Congress (www.dlabrie.com) shared on his Facebook page, “This case is about race among other things! Was I born yesterday or maybe I forgot everything i ever learned about race in america JUST THIS ONCE. NAW FAM EVERYTHING in America is about RACE!! Especially with all this Black Death since the beginning…If you think this has nothing to do with race MOVE OUT of the good ol’ U S of A TODAY because you ain’t learned.

nwa original-225”When N.W.A. said “Fuck the Police,” They were speaking to a real and material history for many in America. A history that was playing out in the streets of Los Angeles among many places. It spoke to a history of law enforcement as the legal and sanctioned arm of repression and murder. “Slave Patrols,” sanctioned bodies of 3-6 (white) men assigned to capture and punish escaped slaves, were established in 1704 in South Carolina. They had badges, and were considered perfectly legal bodies of operation.

KRS-One drew the parallels between the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color when he referenced the officer/overseer connection. The reality is, that “law enforcement” has been a often deadly force to Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Poor people in general and those not under the protection of white supremacy. The same force that was utilized by a half-latino Zimmerman, who walked free as a result of this protection.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A572eclLc68

Hip Hop said, “Fuck the Police” during a period and in an area of the country where history has shown time and time again, that the the “law enforcement” agencies, far from being the servants and protectors of Black and Brown communities, were another force of repression, destruction and death. When songs like “Batteram” which depicted military occupation tactics in an American urban city, long before a drone program was even being considered in the public arena were released, they spoke to a reality that virtually every person of color knows, the same reality that Black mothers and fathers now struggle with sharing with their kids. The reality that they must look their child in the eyes and somehow get them to understand, “They will kill you and there will be nothing we can do about it.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm1Li2Wbqo4

Christopher Dorner

Christopher Dorner

Looking at the LAPD and other cases, and several decades later you have Christopher Dorner, a Black police officer who took what some consider to be the wrong approach to what many consider to be the correct problem. Christopher Dorner, who was an officer himself, echoed the same sentiment that N.W.A. yelled out loud in 1988. “Fuck the Police.” And while he didn’t have the most coherent argument in the world, he said the exact same thing Ice Cube did. Cops feel like they have the authority to kill a minority. Even though today we know the term minority is outdated and inaccurate.

If we were to listen to Public Enemy who told us to “Fight the Power” around that same time period, we would know that we could not even consider that with having to deal with those who operate as the first line of defense often “occupying” and patrolling our communities, just as they did when the verdict was read. Hip Hop, as a cultural and social movement struggling to emerge as a political one, has always known this. And that’s a part of what makes it dangerous. It’s ability to tell this truth that much of America can not comprehend or fathom, and get young white folks to flip over police cars to the beat.

The interesting thing is, the very fact that there are any people out there, who think that this case is not about race, indicates that the race and class divide in America remains very real. In fact, while many find the timing of this movie and the conclusion of this case to be well timed, our friends over at Fox News have commented on how the “marketing” of this movie on the back of a high profile case can only be considered in poor taste. It’s reflective of a dynamic that has been emerging quite frequently throughout this trial.

It’s a dynamic that says very clearly that some people in America don’t have the option or the convenience to say something like, “let’s not bring race into this,” knowing that in America race is always right in the middle of it. In other words, those who are willing to make that statement are either too unaware or dishonest to have a conversation with some whom have experienced and know otherwise. Perhaps the universe does a great justice by allowing us to have a reflection on the impact of the lack of value of Black life as shown in something like Fruitvale Station as this deeply painful reality continues to play itself out in real life today.

Occupy-Wall-Street signThe emergence of Occupy Wall St. was a significant moment in American movement history. It represented an objective section of the American population who have been dispossessed by the current structure of the system. Foreclosures, student debt, layoffs, the attack on workers rights, and many other elements of a system slowly beginning to eat itself alive drew large sections of the United States middle class into a conversation that they have not seen themselves as a part of for decades.

Organizations like Move to Amend, which has swelled to well over 200,000 members since it’s inception only years ago, speak to a population who feel as though the decision around Citizens United, which gave corporations unlimited say in elections via campaign donations, is unconstitutional and contrary to the true spirit of the American Way. Struggle and controversy has most recently emerged over the U.S. Drone program and NSA spying that whistle blower Edward Snowden hipped us to. In other words, there are many sections of the country that are waking up to the reality of American life as experienced by people of color since the creation of this nation.

Occupy represents an objective movement of some parts of the country to fight against some-thing,or some-one. Maybe Wall St.. Maybe corporations. But here’s what we know. We know that the government spied on them. We know that the police peppered sprayed and whooped their ass. We know that the police, FBI, Homeland security, and various other law enforcement agencies did not hesitate to tear apart their camps, city by city, piece by piece.

Listen to our Intv w/ Malik from Occupy the Hood By Clicking the link Below

We also know that the Occupy resulted in the creation of “separate” people of color movements. Groups like Hip Hop Occupies, The All People’s Revolutionary Party, and Occupy the Hood were just a few of the groups that emerged out the process of recognizing that although the objective movement of this population could be considered a positive thing, it still was not aware of it’s own whiteness and it’s impact. The whiteness of Occupy and groups like it often prevented it from successfully fusing with the many groups, social movements and leaders who’ve been in this fight for many decades. The legacy of white supremacy, patriarchy and it’s grip on the American psyche often makes it impossible for those who are all collectively impacted by the history of capitalist and colonialist oppression to authentically and collectively come together and work towards collective, objective justice.

A brief study of history reveals to us that this was in fact intended, for many different reasons. Nelson Perry, in his book ‘The Negro National Colonial Question’, “White supremacy grew with the Anglo-American expansionism. So long as there was no real economic use for white supremacy in the U.S.N.A. or rather, in the English Colonies, it did not develop. It was only with the need to clear the Western parts of the original colonies that the concept of White Supremacy arose. With the development of chattel slavery in the South, a new rationale other than bringing the African’s here to make them Christian’s was needed; then the concept of White Supremacy slowly emerged. In practice is mainly based on color discrimination, i.e. ‘the whiter you are, the better you are.’”

One of the critiques levied at the Occupy Movement most often was that it did not consider nor reflect the experiences and challenges that have been faced in social or political movements and moments before it arose. But objectively what could not be denied was that something was amiss in America, and herein lies the problem. In the American race/class conversation, it is virtually impossible for people to be objective. And as a result, the point that the filmmaker of Fruitvale Station is trying to communicate is lost. That point, is that ALL human life is valuable. And that ALL LIFE is valuable. Period. End of discussion. It can only be in a backwards system not designed first and foremost for the respect of ANY human life, in which one has to prove beyond the “shadow of a reasonable doubt” that an unarmed 17 year old was not murdered by the older, more paranoid, armed man that is pursuing him.

poorpeopleinamericaThe racial history of the United States often shows us that the structures and socialization process of white privilege and white supremacy are not only far from gone, but are alive and well. While many of us view institutions like the KKK and Skinheads as outdated, the reality is quite the opposite. Just one visit to website’s like www.stormfront.org reveal that not only is white nationalism alive and well. It’s becoming smarter. It’s blogging, creating social networks and expanding it’s base among white workers (and those not working) as a solution for the challenges we now face as a country. As a part of the 2010 March to Fulfill the Dream, a caravan organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, I traveled to cities like Selma, Mobile, Birmingham and many of the historical landmark cities of the Civil Rights movement.

I witnessed the City Council of Selma being taken over by an overt White Supremacist with the support and votes of the all Black City Council and the support of the local Chamber of Commerce. I spoke with young and old homeless folks who spoke of the Klan’s strength in local and state government, where they held judgeships, state and local positions of power, and where the family lineage of Klan power had found a way to adapt. Far from experiencing an environment where the Klan had been overcome, I was treated to a South where the Klan, or at least it’s new formation, was winning. And nobody in this country was talking about it. Or was even aware of it like that. The progressive movement was behaving as though we were really on top of it. Meanwhile, the South continued to be the South. In the era of technology and global public marketing and connectivity, it is obtuse that no one knows it is happening, and yet  that is the situation we find ourselves in.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

Sadly, as James Baldwin once pointed out in ‘The Fire Next Time’ “As long as you think you’re white, there is no hope for you.” My understanding of why he said that was not to belittle white people, but to address the fact that both history and science teach us that technically there is no such thing. Because of this divide, corporations continue to privatizing every element of everyone’s life, “private security” who may or may not even have to use the “justice system” continue to grow, and the struggle for humanity and the rights that come with them (food, water, shelter, health care, education, etc.) continue to be lost by all,as we fight for pieces of a pie that was clearly not designed for us to all eat anyway.

History has taught us this lesson again and again, over and over. And yet, here in America, our social and cultural construction, our general commitment to the structures of white supremacy, capitalism and neocolonialism are such that smart people, reasonable people, people who are otherwise concerned with and committed to freedom, equality and justice have missed entire key sections of history and the lessons that we can learn from that history.

The underlying causes and purpose of movements have been overlooked for the simple reason that they have embraced a myth that was designed for a simple economic purpose; to separate the darker slaves from the lighter ones, to make chasing those who were running away from earlier forms of slavery, imperialism and indentured servitude easier by distinguishing those who could blend in from those who could not.

Therein lies the danger. It was never truly the case that the forces who would consider themselves the rulers and great determinants of this country and now throughout the process of globalization, the world, really cared about or valued white life any more than they did Black, Latino, Asian, Child, Woman, Student, LGBT or endangered species. Historically, it has always, and it continues to come down to who owns what, which is always a much smaller number than any particular race, religion, gender or creed.

For all of my brothers and sisters who don’t think this is about race (and it is not just white people), or who at least want to believe that they can somehow magically keep it out of the discussion, reflect on this. If it’s not about race, then that only leaves one other possibility for what this is about, which is the overall value of human life for those of us who don’t possess the power to make that determination for ourselves. Trayvon Martin, no matter what color he is, did not deserve to die. Drones are robots that don’t have to care about what color someone is. The continual protest of Obama’s Drone program, and the potential executive kill list that goes with it is a huge issue for many in United States who feel like their human rights are being infringed upon, even threatened.

Trayvon-Martin-brownStories like Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant speak to the experience of people in America who have always had that experience, with or without drones. In fact, the Los Angeles police department, one of the most infamous law enforcement agencies in this country responded to the great migration of African American’s from the South into Southern California by hiring racist police officers from the very same places. At what point in human history will we choose to value all human life, no matter where it comes from as not only equally valuable, but beyond discussing in terms of value.

At what point will we value that life, regardless of the circumstances, “beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.” We could debate and discuss the definition of value all day, but for the sake of this conversation I will say this. There are certain things we simply do not view in terms of value because for use these things are beyond that conversation. In other words, while we’ve been trained or conditioned to think of all things in terms of their use, cost, price, or some other form of measurement, we all know and have experienced that which exists beyond this context.

Water bottles may have a value, but water does not. Water is beyond value, because without water we simply cannot be. Air cannot have a price tag placed on it, because the ultimate cost of not having air, or having clean air is that many of us will suffer, if not simply pass on. Indeed, while it is important to think of that which we, as humans, produce in terms of value, it is not practical to think of that which is beyond our productive capacity in the same terms. And yet, that is how we’ve learned to think of ourselves. As price tags. Given what slavery has done to the collective consciousness of this country, this should come as no surprise. But that doesn’t make the cost of it any less painful.

Sometimes we refer to things as priceless. But even that assumes that the term price is the standard. Black people came into this country with a price tag on their neck-and insurance companies backing that cost-attached to the noose that could be tightened at any moment, for any reason. Hundreds of years of that, doesn’t just suddenly get reversed. Especially without sincere and consistent efforts at reconciliation.

Voter suppression signThe Voting Rights Act, however, can and does get reversed. Roe vs. Wade, however, can be. The gains of collective bargain and workers rights pretty much have been reversed. The entire concept of freedom and liberty is pretty much out the door, if that hasn’t been noticed yet. Many of us have never viewed ourselves as having enjoyed that liberty, but an immanent question remains. What does that mean for ALL of us? Not just those who are immediately and obviously impacted, but also those who, know it or not,are  in the line of fire. At least, that is what history has taught us if we are paying attention.

Our planet is not ‘valuable. Without our planet, we cannot exist, and as such no discussion of value can even take place. It’s very existence is a question of something beyond value as is the life that it produces. At least before some societal or otherwise human imposed structure says something different. History has also given us an opportunity. These things are not set in stone. Our collective decisions, the ones that we make as communities, as movements, as whole’s larger and more immoveable than individuals, can change the course of motion. What decisions, on the wake of this most heinous, and yet not unexpected tragedy, will we make next.

The reality is, that it doesn’t have to be this way. On the very same day that this verdict arrived, the family of Steve Salinas found some justice when the San Jose police department was ordered to pay 1 million dollars in restitution for his death by taser some many years ago. They were assisted by the support and leadership of the organization Silicon Valley De-Bug (www.siliconvalleydebug.com) There are organizations, like the Women’s Economic Agenda Project in Oakland (www.weap.org), that are working to tie together the struggles of workers, mothers, youth, unions, educators and all of us who are impacted by the ideology of the 1 percent, to form solutions that leave nobody behind. And there is still the unfortunate reality of Marissa Alexander, a woman that was given the mandatory minimum of firing warning shots against her abusive husband. She’s still in there. This, as 30,000 prisoners and California, and thousands of other prisoners strike against the inhumane conditions that Michelle Alexander refer’s to as, “The New Jim Crow.”

There are many collectives and individuals working towards a different vision right as we speak. What remains unknown is if we will successfully grapple with the demons of the past and the challenges of the present quickly enough to secure a brighter future for generations to come and a safer place for all of our children, today!

written by Shamako Noble

For contact:

Shamako Noble

shamako@hiphopcongress.com

408-624-2999

 Relevant Art & Culture Pieces to check out:

Kanetic Source(Ozomatli) and Rahman Jamaal examine the issue “Stand Your Ground” http://youtu.be/SHBIdPpnM8o

DLabrie short film/video “It Ain’t EZ” feat. San Quinn, Keyanna Bean, Davey D & the Def Professor, showing historical context on the struggle relevant to what’s happening now and a actual artist lead protest for Trayvon & other victims all to a Revolutionary song !! http://youtu.be/5yNUjJMP46A

Keyanna Bean “First Lady” of RonDavoux Records breaks it down real deep in this piece, “Watch out for your Neighborhood Zimmerman” https://soundcloud.com/adopefemalemc/watch-out-for-your

Pro-Dash and the Netwerx give us some insight in “The Skin I’m in.” https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53864325

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53864325

Hip Hop Congress All Stars song THE VERDICT (Oscar Grant) http://dlabrie.bandcamp.com/album/the-verdict-oscar-grant-single

 More info check out:

http://hhcongress.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shamako-Noble/152963869275?ref=hl

www.facebook.com/HHCNational

www.twitter.com/ShamakoNoble

www.twitter.com/HipHopCongress

www.twitter.com/RDVpromo

 

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times: People Must Organize

Below is an insightful statement from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement about Trayvon Martin.. They not only give us keen analysis but also put forth sound, practical solutions.. We also sat down with MXGM member Kali Akuno who was in Jackson, Mississippi who provided  additional context to this statement.. The link to our Hard Knock Radio interview is located below.. Please check out the conversation while you read the statement.

Hard Knock Radio logo

HKR-Kali Akuno intv on Trayvon verdict

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times People Must Organize

Trayvon-Martin-brownTrayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because millions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.

Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people.  As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.

We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves.

MXGM marchWe must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.

Black people are in a heightened state of crisis. Since being brought to the shores of North America as captives from European wars of aggression we have constantly battled one crisis after another. However, there are times that are more critical and intense than others. We are presently living through one of these super -critical periods.

We have been hunted and killed in cold blood by the US government in increasing numbers and herded into prisons like cattle in record numbers. The facts presented in Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People presents us with a deeper understanding of the utter disregard held for Black life within the United States.

The continual practice of executing Black people in the country without pretense of a trial, jury, or judge is an integral part of the government’s current overall strategy of containing the Black community in a state of perpetual colonial subjugation and exploitation. The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is a testament to the reality that the institutions of the United States uplift and are complicit in the ongoing genocide of Black people.

The only way we are going to defend ourselves against these genocidal challenges is to create a massive social movement. We need a movement that strategically takes on the systemic oppression and exploitation that prevent Black people from exercising self-determination and human rights.

In order to fight effectively we have to organize ourselves on a higher level. One of the critical areas where we have to step up our organizing efforts to be qualitatively more effective is in the area of self-defense. We have to be clear that we cannot and should not count on our enemies – like the courts, and other forces of the US government or transnational corporations – to protect us. We have to protect ourselves.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) believes that an essential part of our Movement for survival must be Self-Defense Networks.

We think there are two types of Networks that we have to build:

New Afrikan or Black Self-Defense Networks are alliances, coalitions, or united fronts of Black organizations whose purpose is to defend the Black or New Afrikan community from external (the police, FBI, white terrorist organizations, etc.) and internal (agent infiltration, intra-communal violence, etc.) threats to its safety and security.

People’s Self-Defense Networks are multi-national (or multi-ethnic and/or racial) alliances, coalitions, or united fronts whose purpose is to defend their communities against mutual enemies and threats and advance a common agenda based on shared interests, hopes, and aspirations.

Oppressed peoples and communities can and will only be secure in this country when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.

The Every 28 Hours Campaign proposes a model for organizing:

 

  1. The formation of Black Self-Defense Networks to defend our people and combat police terrorism. These Networks should seek to build Copwatch programs, engage in mass rights based education trainings for the community, serve as first responders to acts of Police Terrorism, and help coordinate mass resistance to these acts via mass mobilizations and direct action. These Networks should also be encouraged to engage in offensive campaigns, such as referendums to institute Police Control Boards.
  1. The formation of People’s Self-Defense Networks to defend the lives and interests of all oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes against various forms of state terrorism. These People’s Self-Defense Networks would work as multi-national alliances to engage in a broad manner all of the tasks mentioned above to defend oppressed peoples and targeted communities, such as LGBTQ2GNC communities, against institutionalized racism, white supremacy, institutionalized sexism, patriarchy and state repression be it racial profiling, gender profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, or mass deportations.
  1. Waging campaigns for local referendums to institute Police Control mechanisms – i.e. community based structures that have the power to hire, fire, subpoena, and discipline the police on the local level. And waging massive, non-compliant campaigns of resistance employing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) strategies and tactics on statewide, regional, and national levels.
  1. Forming People’s Assemblies, on local, citywide, and regional levels to engage in program and demand development initiatives that will enable the people to engage in the broad implementation of people’s programs for self-defense and mutual aid.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 28 Hours Campaign seeks to strengthen organizing initiatives within Black or New Afrikan communities for self-defense, by presenting these initiatives with a comprehensive analytical framework and practical organizing tools to ground and unite them.

MXGM offers to Black and other oppressed communities three resources 1) Operation Ghetto Storm, a full report on the 2012 extra judicial killings; 2) Let Your Motto Be Resistance, an organizing handbook for self-defense; and 3) We Charge Genocide Again!, a curriculum for the Every 28 Hours Campaign, to further this objective

Links:

 

Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Operation-Ghetto-Storm.pdf

 

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Self-Defense-Manual-MERGED.pdf

 

We Charge Genocide Again!

http://mxgm.org/we-charge-genocide-again-new-curriculum-on-every-28-hours-report/

For more information on these resources or trainings please contact Kali Akuno at kaliakuno@mxgm.org.

For coalition building and Self-Defense Networks please contact Taliba Obuya at taliba@mxgm.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmJqzEVKwoU

100 young Black activists respond to the George Zimmerman verdict

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 8.18.57 AM

jasiri x hood

Jasiri X read the statement crafted by the 100 Black Youth leaders in response to the Zimmerman verdict.

Over the weekend in the City of Chicago over 100 Black Youth from all over the country came together for a convention put together by the Black Youth Project.. Their mission was to identify key issues in their community and develop long and short-term strategies for dealing with them. Many of the participants  in attendance were there because they had already proven to be effected grassroots leaders in their communities so in essence, this weekend saw a whose who of incredible young minds determined to improve their respective communities..

This weekend’s Black Youth Project Summit was planned months in advance happen to occur the same weekend that the George Zimmerman trial wrapped up and a verdict was read. Needless to say the folks BYP100 had lots of keen insight and heartfelt emotions around the outcome.. They wasted no time in laying out plans of actions both to respond what they felt was a grave injustice. They also issue in incredible statement underscoring their collective position..

Pittsburgh artist/ activist Jasiri X who was one of the elders in attendance helping the BYP100 came on our radio show Sunday morning to share his thoughts and music. He also read off the statement these 100 youth put together.. Below is a link to the interview and statement being read.. Below that is the actual text.. Please reflect and find ways to encourage more folks in our community to address their pains and aspirations

HKR-Jasiri X intv on Black Youth project 100 statement

100 young Black activists respond to the George Zimmerman verdict

To the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community:

May this statement find us in the spirit of peace and solidarity.

We know that justice for Black life is justice for humanity.

Our hope and community was shaken through a system that is supposed to be built on freedom and justice for all. We are your sons and daughters. We are the marginalized and disenfranchised. We are one hundred next generation leaders. We are the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100).

We see the hopelessness of a generation that has been broken trying to find its place in this world. We understand that we need to turn anger into action and pain into power.

As we waited to hear the verdict, in the spirit of unity, we formed a circle and locked hands. When we heard “not guilty,” our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out – emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU. We mourn, but there’s hope as long as love endures.

Trayvon was manifested from ancestral excellence. The salt water falling from our eyes now, is not different from the salt water we were trafficked on then. If the soil of the United States could speak, before saying a word it would cough up our blood. Choking frantically, crust-curdling with the gore of a oppressed peoples it has been force-fed. White supremacy has water-boarded it with the remnants of its genocide of us.

This moment reminds us that we can’t look to others to see our value but we have to recognize our own value. In spite of what was said in court, what verdict has been reached, or how hopeless we feel, Trayvon did NOT die in vain. A mother should never have to bury her son. However, his death will serve as the catalyst of a new movement where the struggle for justice will prevail.

Instead of a moment of silence, we raise our voices together. As Audre Lorde said, “our silence will NOT PROTECT US.” We are young leaders standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, carrying the historical trauma embedded in a legal system that will NOT PROTECT US. We are the legacy of Black resilience that compels us to fight for our lives.

We continue to call out Black Love, Black Power and Black is Beautiful in the face of continued devaluation of Black life. We affirm a love of ALL Black life, no matter if we are in hoodies or business suits, incarcerated or in boardrooms, on welfare or in the WNBA, on the corner or in the White House. We declare the fundamental value, beauty and power of ALL Black people. The poet Claude McKay once said, “Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave…we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack. Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”

 

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON.

 

Beyond November Movement

July 14, 2013

#BYP100

Contact information:

Farajii Muhammad

farajiimuhammad@gmail.com

Kai M. Green

Blkyp100@gmail.com

 

Black Youth Project (BYP100) is 100 young black activists from across the country convened by the Black Youth Project to mobilize communities of color beyond electoral politics.