From the Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Regional Conferences January 2016
Chicago Saturday January 23, 12 noon to 6 pm Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 East 26th St., Chicago, IL 60616.
Los AngelesSaturday, January 30 at 2pm Echo Park United Methodist Church 1226 N. Alvarado St. Los Angeles, CA 90026
San Francisco Bay Area Sunday, January 31 2 to 5 PM 2501 Harrison St at 28th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Charlotte NC, to be announced
COME TO REGIONAL CONFERENCES OF THE STOP MASS INCARCERATION NETWORK & BE PART OF BUILDING THE ORGANIZATION AND FORGING THE PLANS TO TAKE THE MOVEMENT OF RESISTANCE TO POLICE TERROR TO A HIGHER LEVEL!
Police continue to murder people all across the country without let up, and the whole system continues to go into motion to exonerate these killer cops. The more the truth of how widespread this horror is gets brought out into the open, the more it calls into question the whole way this system carries out policing and law enforcement. The horror of police getting away with murder concentrates the genocidal assault of mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization of whole sections of people. All this is illegitimate and unacceptable. It must be STOPPED! Stopping this is going to take a movement of mass, defiant and determined resistance, one that ultimately numbers in the millions.
Rise Up October contributed significantly to building this kind of movement, impacting society in a major way, shining a spotlight on police terror in the U.S. Quentin Tarantino spoke the truth at Rise Up October, and didn't back down when police unions across the country went on a rampage with threats targeting him. People stepped out to support Tarantino, and his exposure of murders done by police spread the reverberations of Rise Up October nationally and internationally. The storm of protests that followed the release of the videos of police murdering people in Chicago point to what needs to be done - People taking to the streets and defiantly calling for these horrors to STOP! This has forced the authorities there to defend the legitimacy of their system and its brutality. We need to make these regional conferences a big step toward forging the kind of resistance that can call into question the whole criminal “injustice” system in this country.
In the 1960's, massive movements of resistance developed opposing the oppression of Black people, the war in Vietnam, the oppression of women, etc. A key element in the rise of those movements were students throwing themselves into the struggles on these fronts. The same needs to happen today to make the movement to STOP police terror powerful enough to end this horror. The struggles against racism that erupted on the campus of the University of Missouri and swept all across the country shows the potential for this happening. We have to take the campuses by storm, enlisting students in the fight to stop murder by police.
Our regional conferences will bring together the forces who want to act to STOP police terror. A key focus has to be everyone who participated in RiseUpOctober (RUO) and everyone who was impacted by it. The conferences will put before people the need to take the movement to STOP police terror to a higher level and that taking this struggle to the campuses is a key part of doing that. AND the conferences will forge the organization and make the plans, including fund raising plans, to take these critical steps. This means forming SMIN chapters on campuses, joining SMIN chapters where they exist or, in the case of organizations, affiliating with SMIN.
Each conference will develop a plan for the No More Stolen Lives tour in their area which will include the following elements. (See accompanying letter on the this tour.)
* who will be on the tour,
* what campuses the tour will go to,
* other events that can be done as part of this tour (speaking in communities, at religious institutions, media, etc.),
* how these tours will be led,
* how to generate the funds needed to make these tours happen, and
* how to leave organization in the wake of the tour – SMIN chapters formed on campuses, people joining SMIN chapters where they already exist and organizations affiliating with SMIN.
The conferences will also make beginning plans for the National Student Strike/ Day of Action in April and determine how to build up to making that as powerful as possible.
Each conference also has to assess the situation in their region to determine what struggles need to be taken up as part of taking the movement of resistance to police terror to a higher level.
And each conference will develop plans to raise the funds necessary to make all this happen and form a working group to spearhead the fund raising efforts and coordinate with the National Office to make this happen.
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is calling for regional conferences in January of 2016 to take the movement of resistance to Police Terror and Mass Incarceration to a higher level; to make plans for heightened mass resistance throughout the country. These regional conferences will be held in New York, Chicago, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. They come at a crucial turning point in this country.
Will a more powerful movement of determined mass resistance to murder by police, a movement ultimately numbering in the millions, be mobilized and organized to further rip the covers off the legitimacy of this genocidal assault and to STOP these horrors? Or will the powers-that-be get away with suppressing what started with Ferguson – even with sporadic, local responses of righteous outrage, now here and now there?
In early 2016, we must spread the reality of this horror to millions and reach into every corner of society with the challenge: STOP Police Terror; Which Side Are You On? We must take to the streets, rock the campuses and act in other ways to do this.
These regional conferences will develop plans to do just that. Initial plans include a National NO MORE STOLEN LIVES Tour beginning in February, 2016, and a Call for an unprecedented one day National Student Strike to STOP murder by police and mass incarceration on campuses across the country in April of 2016. Other ideas, big and small, are welcome, and you are needed. There is room for your ideas, your heart, your energy and your desire to put an end to police terror and the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration.
Over 1100 people have been killed by police in 2015! Black, Latino, and Native American are especially targeted, many unarmed. We view one savagely violent video after another. Execution style murders: Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and Mario Woods; torture and death by taser: Natasha McKenna and Linwood Lambert; people killed walking away from police: Antonio Zambrano-Montes and Nicholas Robertson; people who are homeless on skid row… in their cars during traffic stops… handcuffed in a police cruiser... standing on the street doing nothing wrong… handicapped in wheelchairs… having mental episodes and in need of help… and children as young as six years old: Brother Africa, Sam Dubose, Alexia Christian, Freddie Gray, Jeremy McDole, Ernesto Flores, Paul Castaway, Kristiana Coignard, Jeremy Mardis… all MURDERED by police… and there are so many more, hundreds, even thousands more. And time after time cops are exonerated, usually never charged, and in the rare case they are charged, the police are protected by the prosecutors and the entire system – a green light for more murderous assaults. THIS MUST STOP!
Rise Up October represented a significant advance in the fight against this police terror and the overall fight against the oppression of Black, Latino and Native American people. Rise Up October had a major impact on the political terrain in the U.S. and favorably changed public opinion. All summer, 2015, the rulers of this system were on the offensive, attempting to re-seize the initiative after the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore had put the question of police terror on the societal agenda. The police were posing as victims, and defending and asserting the right of the police to continue to rain down terror and murder people in genocidal proportions. Rise Up October hit back hard at all this, impacting society in a major way, shining a spotlight on police terror. Quentin Tarantino spoke the truth at Rise Up October, and didn't back down when police unions across the country went on a rampage with threats targeting him. People stepped out to support Tarantino, and his exposure of murders done by police spread the reverberations of Rise Up October nationally and internationally.
But since Rise Up October murder by police has intensified, not lessoned. Righteous struggle and resistance has continued to break out, in a number of cities. A “crisis of legitimacy” in the wake of release of the video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald in the city of Chicago is part of the national picture. Still, if this movement to stop murder by police is going to advance, and not get set back, we have to be the ones to advance it. To do that we need to GET ORGANIZED; we need to forge our collective plans; and we need an orientation that’s grounded in Rise Up October / Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s mission to STOP the slow genocide of mass incarceration and murder by police. We refuse to be derailed by promises of reform. We refuse to be intimidated by government repression or by threats of open and unrepentant racism and fascism. We will bring forth mass resistance and the active involvement of many thousands from all walks of life who can be at the heart of a movement of millions of people to say these horrors must stop.
At Rise Up October, students, those from the neighborhoods targeted by this state sponsored violence, prominent voices of conscience, activists from different movements, and progressive middle class people all joined together to say police terror must STOP! Together we delivered a challenge to all of society: Which Side Are You On? The political and moral challenge was underscored by family members of the Stolen Lives who powerfully told the stories of their murdered loved ones, bringing to life the wrenching lived reality of murder by police. All who participated in Rise Up October, and all who were impacted by it and want to take up this challenge now, must participate in these regional conferences.
All need to be present at these Stop Mass Incarceration Network regional conferences: January 2016 - New York, Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles. The future depends on what WE decide to do, and following through.