The following prisoner is an organizer with and member of the NC prison chapter of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (not to be confused with the New Black Panther Party). Party writings can be found at rashidmod.com.
New York, Cleveland
It was a beautiful sight to see the people in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Cleveland, and Philly, along with Oakland, protest about the recent and ongoing police brutality victimizing Black Afrikan men. People of all ethnic backgrounds came together to be in solidarity with the beautiful Afrikan brothers who was murdered by the police. They sang spiritual songs, held hands, and chanted slogans of “Hands up, Don’t shoot” and “No Justice No Peace.” As I sat in the dayroom of a prison industrial complex, my eyes couldn’t hold the hefty tears that were streaming from my eyes, down my cheeks. Anger started to set in. I was supposed to be marching with my brothers and sisters, protesting and holding up signs. I was supposed to be on the frontline with them when things turned ugly. This is what I signed up for. A true revolutionary cries when his people struggle for justice. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of love and happiness. Many times did I think about going on hunger strike to be in solidarity with my brothers and sisters, to show them, the institution and the world that I struggle with them. Many times did I envision that I avenged the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddy Gray and Trayvon Martin, not to mention the Latino and Afrikan men who died at the hands of the pigs in my home State of California. Day after day, I made sure that the TV was stationed on CNN and was very attentive to every word each reporter reported.
Then in Ferguson, a revolt broke out. Pigs’ cars were overturned and many buildings and police cars set ablaze, and joy rushed through my veins. The “revolution had been televised” in Ferguson, Missouri. When a person or persons, group or nation of people gets tired of being oppressed constantly by the fascist government that controls its nation, they revolt. My people are tired. They are fed up with getting hunted by the police and living in a community with no jobs, poor schooling and poverty.
Some say many cadres of “agent provocateurs” from the outside “agitated” the people of Ferguson, but it was not them, it was the police. The police showing up in camouflage uniforms, driving armored vehicles and carrying big guns agitated the people. How can a policeman say that he’s there to protect the community and serve the people wearing battle dress uniforms looking like they are ready for war? That not only angered the people but proved to the community that the police were at war with Black people.
In a New York borough called Staten Island, the same thing happened to Eric Garner. He was murdered by the same pig who continuously harasses him on those streets, being a bully and trying to exert his authority, being the repressive and oppressive pig he was bred to be. So what if Eric Garner was selling a loose cigarette. That did not give that pig the right to jump on his back and strangle him. That pig wanted to kill him. On the video that officer used a chokehold that was deemed “illegal” in the State of New York. Many people tried to downplay the whole situation by saying that Eric Garner was a criminal and he was engaged in criminal activities prior to his death. Eric Garner was not a criminal in my eyes, he was a provider for his family. He wasn’t selling crack, marijuana or any other drugs. He wasn’t selling stolen goods, any firearms, just a measly cigarette. If the government of New York would stop criminalizing Afrikan and Latino men then maybe he could’ve gotten a better job or a better hustle. He wouldn’t have to stand on the corners of streets selling cigarettes, he could’ve been making an honest living. The system is so bent on bringing the Afrikan man down that it’s ridiculous. I felt his mother and his wife’s pain, but I couldn’t understand his daughter. She gets on national television and says that she wants peace, and proclaims that her father would want peace. Her father died in anguish, he died over a damn cigarette! Then she goes on to say that the police are good individuals and blah blah blah. Well, the good pig just took your father’s life!
One thing for certain, the killing of Black unarmed men by police continued to happen. It became an epidemic and spread to cities in every coast. The next cop killing of an Afrikan man on the east coast was in South Carolina, then in Baltimore, Maryland.
The tragic death of Freddy Gray rocked Baltimore. The second Afrikan man to get murdered by the police in a year. I knew the police had killed him because I personally witnessed many occasions in Baltimore, where many Afrikan men were beaten by Baltimore’s finest swine. I stayed in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC, and know exactly what those brothers go through. When Freddy Gray’s death became breaking news, I wasn’t surprised because this was nothing new. The Baltimore revolt reminded me of the Palestinians. They threw rocks in protest like the Palestinians during political conflicts. When the Crips, Black Guerilla Family and Bloods proposed a truce and decided to unite to go against our common enemy, this was beautiful but late. In Los Angeles where I lived, many Crips and Bloods had already united and joined political cadres like the New Black Panther Party, founded years ago by Khalil Muhammad, or the Republic of New Afrika. I was proud of the brothers for standing for a greater cause and in solidarity with the struggle.
What I didn’t like about the Baltimore scene is that the Afrikan men and women who were in prestigious positions in the city and state governments complaining about the social/economic problems of Baltimore. These people are the Congressmen, Councilmen, lawyers and pastors. They have the position and the authority to propose bills and send them through legislature to be passed. These people are community leaders who could form petitions and give them to the government. Why did they wait until Freddy’s death to complain about these problems in Baltimore? They have a Black mayor, Black congressmen, Black district attorney, what’s the problem? All of these person were democratically elected. Instead of them trying to capitalize off of the community, they should’ve been making formal requests regarding these issues. They let the people of Baltimore suffer instead. Also, when CNN’s own Wolf Blitzer was reporting on the Baltimore revolt, the only subject he seems to care about is the burning of the CVS building. They talked about the city destruction as if it couldn’t be repaired. They talked about the looting and stealing as if Freddy Gray just didn’t get his life robbed by those crooked cops. The city can repair those building and many domestic and foreign investors, but the city can’t repair Freddy Gray, Mike Brown, nor Eric Garner’s lives. To me it seems that Black lives don’t matter but capitalist institutions like the CVS do.