With Rise Up October barely a month away, a member of World Can’t Wait wanted to host an evening to raise awareness and funds so family members who have lost loved ones to police bullets can go to New York. The situation at home wasn’t one that allowed for a social gathering so a small community room was reserved at a local library. It turned out to be a great alternative and the evening was a success in many ways. About 15 people came to hear a woman whose son was murdered by police who has become active in building for Rise Up October, fighting for justice for her son and all victims, and about $550 was raised.
People went away with materials to help build for Rise Up October, some people invited the guest speaker to their religious congregation, and other connections were made to help build October 24.
The event was built mainly by personal invitation to a “Prelude to Rise Up October,” sent through email or in person, but not on Facebook or lists. Most of the people attending were familiar faces, with a sprinkling of new ones. Chairs were arranged in a big circle to keep an informal atmosphere. The 11 minute video from the August 27 Night in Harlem was shown while people gathered, and the evening opened with a powerful statement by a woman whose son was cut down by police and then assassinated again in the press. Then the discussion took off! One older Black woman spoke about her family’s oral history going back to slavery, drawing a clear line through the history of this country down to today. “Remedies” were proposed in the form of better training, better education, mental health screenings, and more. World Can’t Wait and Stop Mass Incarceration Network activists kept coming back to the systemic nature of the problem and the need for masses of people, of all nationalities and backgrounds, to come out in the streets NOW to say, NO MORE!
A strong and serious energy permeated the whole gathering. Everyone felt it. No one left early. The importance of this prelude event and of Rise Up October in NYC was articulated. Here we are in the fall of 2015 more than a year after Ferguson and we must continue the momentum. The popular uprising to demand real justice and masses getting in the streets against nationwide police violence must not only continue, it must increase and we are all responsible to help build the movement. We have an advantage we have never had before with smart phones to more easily record police violence and expose the lies in their reports that have for decades been judged truthful by courts. The system has been exposed as corrupt to the general population and their attacks upon those of us demanding justice must also be overcome. It can be done and Rise Up October is the crucial movement needed right now to keep this momentum going.
We encourage everyone reading this to find your own ways to bring people together to raise the funds and mobilize people to make this happen!