The following speech by Carl Dix was given at an event demanding Justice for Justus Howell on the one-year anniversary of his murder by police.
I co-founded the Stop Mass Incarceration Network along with Cornel West, and I am a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party. We are here tonight to celebrate the life of Justus Howell, 17 years old, a teenager, full of life, full of hope, the brother aspired to be a doctor, his future stretching out before him. His life was stolen from us by a killer cop, a so-called trained law enforcement professional, a killer cop who, when he encountered a Black teenager, he stole his life. They couldn’t find a gun that night, next day they came back and surprise, found a gun... in order to further the cover-up. This is not an isolated incident, not a unique thing. This happens all the damn time. You see the mothers here, some fathers, aunts, some uncles, nephews, some nieces, cousins, who have lost loved ones at hands of police.
For every one you see here tonight, there are thousands more people whose children, whose parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, loved ones have been stolen by police. Not accidentally, these stolen lives are disproportionately Black and Brown. Earlier we talked about the term genocide. I use that a lot to describe what happens to Black people. I’m not hyping nothing up, I’m being scientific. Police kill and get away with killing Black person after Black person. Some 800,000 Black people are warehoused in prison. In Flint, Michigan, the government even pumped poison into the water of mostly Black people. Started doing it two years ago. When did they stop doing it? They haven’t, they’re still doing it. They’re putting Black people in a position where they can’t thrive and survive as a people; this is the international definition of genocide.
It will continue to happen until we stop it. It’s not up to just Black people alone to stop this. Everyone has to stop this. When you hear Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tony Robinson, Malcolm Ferguson, Sandra Bland, you have to feel that this is my child, this is my sister or my brother, that was my cousin, and on down the line. Don’t tell me this doesn’t have anything to do with you. There is no neutrality in this, no middle ground. You’re either in favor of cops murdering people, as long as it’s other people. You’re either out there being against it or it’s OK with you.
I’m a revolutionary, I’m a revolutionary communist, and I see this horror along with other horrors as being built into the fabric of the system. We need revolution, nothing less, to end it once and for all. As Bob Avakian, the leader of the Party I represent, says about the role of the police: “The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people.” This is the truth Ruth, and everyone else too. This is real and why we need revolution, nothing less. I know not everybody agrees with that, some people might still be thinking about it, some people might be against it. And we can talk about that, have discussion about that, but not idle discussion, while police get away with murder. While we talk we have to stand up and and say this must stop.
You see these family members here. I have two daughters, a daughter who almost died; it would have hurt me to my heart. But it wouldn’t have been at the hands of those who protect and serve. That’s what they’ve been going through. They’ve been standing up in the face of that, and through that... not just for their loved ones, but for everybody, saying this shouldn’t happen to others, that no one else be inducted into that club that they’re in. We’ve got to stand with them. When they carry those pictures, and say their names and tell those stories, doing this to expose the lies that are being told that keep this going, they are doing this for humanity. Not only that, there are there thousands that have suffered this.
Every day we don’t stop this, three more people get killed by police, on average; sometimes it’s more than three. Just since January 1, almost 300 people have been killed by police. This has got to stop, we gotta stand together to stop it. College campuses, walking out, holding rallies, they taking over buildings, all of this to call attention to police getting away with murder... It’s like a responsibility. This has got to stop, we have to stand together to stop it. We have to stop this. I mentioned earlier, April 21, National Student Day of Action to STOP Police Murders. College students all across the country, walking out, shutting down buildings, to call attention to police murders. The ’60s weren’t always big, didn’t get big till the students got involved. High school students should be involved in this, and everyone else support it and spread the word. There’s a slogan we chanted earlier: “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell.” You gotta listen to that whole slogan. Because every now and then, these days, they indict a cop or two, not very many. They even convicted some. Some cops got charged, even convicted, but never go to jail. A cop in Brooklyn, for murdering a guy when he shot down a stairway with no lights cause he heard a sound. They convicted the cop for that, but the prosecutor said he shouldn’t go to jail.
I’m glad to be standing here together with the families and all of you. We are all standing up to stop this. This must stop and it is up to us to stop it. We must keep standing up and bring others with us. Justice for Justus Howell and all the other victims requires that we fight for it. We can’t sit back and wait for it to roll to us. We have to make it happen.