No More Stolen Lives Tour at San Francisco State. Photo: Special to revcom.us/Revolution
From a reader:
The No More Stolen Lives Tour aims to bring the reality of murder by police to college campuses, directly posing the question to students, “Which Side Are You On?”—and calling on them to build for the tour and to take a stand in April by most urgently organizing a national student strike to stop police terror that will send a call to students throughout society to play a crucial role in being a part of putting a stop to this genocide.
On March 10, the No More Stolen Lives Tour came to San Francisco State University. Project Rebound, a program on campus that works with the formerly incarcerated to get them in and through college, endorsed the event and worked with us to get students there.
Everything that was said at the tour event is not mentioned here, but these are some of the key points given during the engagement as I recall them:
On the day of the tour, families of those murdered by police brought to the forefront unapologetically the reality of murder by police, which the system wants people to forget about to an audience of about 70 people which included about 27 college students, 17 high school students, immigrants, activists, and revolutionaries. In between, the MC linked the need to stop police terror with students playing a role in calling for a National Strike, continually getting back to the fact that murder by police is the spearpoint of the whole genocide facing black and brown people.
There were seven family members who came to the program, and five who spoke. Some of the statements made were very significant. For example: “My husband always said that being silent is being complicit and when I bumped into the Stop Mass Incarceration Network I felt that I could and need to start speaking about this;” “Are you brave enough to be free, Are you free enough to be brave?;” “I knew someone had gotten killed by police and I prayed for the family that had lost their loved one but I did not know I was praying for my own family;” “They left my son’s body lying on the street for 13 hours like a dog”; “On the news you can see that they treat an adult sea lion with care when it’s in a desperate situation because it’s on the endangered species list but this is not what happens when it comes to people;” “The cop got promoted after what he did to my nephew.”
A formerly incarcerated rapper named J-Duce, who is a victim of police brutality, said that he supports the students taking a stand in April and performed two of his songs, “The Movement” and “SMI.net” at different times throughout the program. There was a high school class of about 17 students that came and were really influenced by the message of his rap. Three Revolution Club members came on stage together, and one member made a speech asking the audience if this is the land of the free and the home of the brave while pointing at the stolen lives banner. The crowd answered, “Hell No!” Then the Revolution Club member asked if Trump, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders are going to “make America great again” while still pointing at the stolen lives banner, and the crowd answered, “Hell No!” The speech emphasized the need for a Revolution Club on campus and for students to dig into BAsics and BA’s new work, The Science, The Strategy, The Leadership for An Actual Revolution, and A Radically New Society on the Road to Real Emancipation, while letting students know that BA is a best friend to the oppressed who has never sold out or given up on revolution. The Revolution Club member called for students to take initiative in organizing a national student strike to pose the question to all students across the country, “Which Side Are You On?” Lastly the Revolution Club member called for students to get word about BA out everywhere and to come to the BA Everywhere dinner to bring about a world where we really are free.
A college student stood up to support the need for a strike. Stolen lives posters were passed to people in the front of the room, and this influenced some of the high school students to stand up and hold the stolen lives posters too. Students felt the need to figure out how to make this national student strike possible. When the question was posed whether high school and college students should sit and organize separately, it was quickly decided that it was absolutely necessary to do this call together. There were various questions posed, “I support everything about this strike but I do not know how much I can do because I am here on my own and I’m paying for college on my own?” Another student was confused about the strike because he didn’t know how to go about showing solidarity with the faculty that is planning to strike in April for better wages, and other students that are planning to strike in April in support of the faculty along with the fight to keep Ethnic Studies fully funded.
The turning point was when a high school student said, “College students are older and more experienced, so sometimes we don’t know what to do because people will not follow us.” The student who was reluctant about striking in April let the high school student know that this is not true and said, “We have seen students from the high schools take a stand before and that it did inspire the college students to take part in taking a stand and making change.” After the event was over, immigrants interacted with students to sell tamales to raise funds for BA Everywhere.