From the September-October 2014 issue of News & Letters
Oakland, Calif.—Several hundred came out on Aug. 14 to a vigil in Oscar Grant Plaza, as part of a national day of protest over the police murder of Michael Brown. We read out the names of a growing number of unarmed young Black men executed by the police like Alan Blueford, who was shot and killed in Oakland on May 6, 2012, and whose mother spoke at the rally.
After a period of silence, trying to absorb the gruesome reality of just how many have been victims of this state terror, one person raised his hands and others joined him as we all began to chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which an eyewitness said were Michael Brown’s last words when he was gunned down.
One Iraq war veteran on seeing the Ferguson police, said their aggressive display of combat readiness was more than what he experienced in Iraq. The militarized police war on minority communities, made visible by the assaults coming out of Ferguson against the protests over Brown’s murder, is only now being mentioned by some politicians as an issue.
One thing Oakland has in common with Ferguson is the still Great Depression level of unemployment in the Black community. With a deeply ingrained racism and the militarization of the mind, capitalist rulers have declared war on its permanently unemployed army. The Black community, joined by others in solidarity, is saying in unison with “hands up” we want to be recognized as humans and full members of society.
This article was published together with Thousands in Chicago: From NY to Ferguson, stop killer cops!, NYC Police murder Eric Garner, Kansas City for Michael Brown, and Justice for Ezell Ford.