The United Christian Leadership Ministry & the Coalition for Police Reform held a press conference on November 25, 2014 in response to the Ferguson grand jury's decision to not indict officer Darren Wilson who was the cop that shot unarmed, black, teen Michael Brown dead. After the press conference, interviews were conducted.
The press conference was held at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 North Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY.
Submitted by T. Forsyth / A. Dillon on Thu, 2014-11-27 15:25
November 24, 2014, Rochester, NY
After the non-indictment of Darren Wilson came out, a spontaneous demonstration occurred and congregated at College Town. From there the march meandered through the University of Rochester campus where it ended at Rush Rhees Library.
After this, a flag was burned and a demonstrator was chased, tackled, and eventually hauled away by campus security to the U of R public safety building. He was released soon after with no charges or involvement from the RPD.
For questions regarding this Open Letter, please contact @deray.
The Results Are In
An Open Letter from Protestors On The Grand Jury Decision (11.24.14)
In Ferguson, a wound bleeds.
For 108 days, we have been in a state of prolonged and protracted grief. In that time, we have found community with one another, bonding together as family around the simple notion that our love for our community compels us to fight for our community. We have had no choice but to cling together in hope, faith, love, and indomitable determination to capture that ever-escaping reality of justice.
After 108 days, that bleeding wound has been reopened, salt poured in, insult added to the deepest of injury. On August 9th, we found ourselves pushed into unknown territory, learning day by day, minute by minute, to lead and support a movement bigger than ourselves, the most important of our lifetime. We were indeed unprepared to begin with, and even in our maturation through these 108 days, we find ourselves reinjured, continually heartbroken, and robbed of even the remote possibility of judicial resolution. A life has been violently taken before it could barely begin. In this moment, we know, beyond any doubt, that no one will be held accountable within the confines of a system to which we were taught to pledge allegiance. The very hands with which we pledged that allegiance were not enough to save Mike in surrender.
Once again, in our community, in our country, that pledge has returned to us void.
For 108 days, we have continuously been admonished that we should “let the system work,” and wait to see what the results are.
I was able to head to Ferguson, MO on behalf of Rochester Indymedia to document actions (Black Lives Matter: Die-in at Delmar Loop in St. Louis; The Injustice Freak Show), conduct interviews, and make some personal connections. I'm thankful I had the oppurtunity to do all three. After the actions above, I was editing video for a day or so then sitting around for another couple of days as we waited to hear if the announcement would come down indicating that Darren Wilson would either be indicted for the murder of Michael Brown or that he would be allowed to walk. In that agonizing space of waiting, time was alloted to do some interviews. Specifically, I was able to interview two revolutionary community organizers who were organizing and strategizing around both short term actions and long term solutions to the troubles faced by the black community in Ferguson and else where. I want to thank Reign and Huey Jakhi for being interviewed and sharing their truth, their experiences, and their passion publicly.
Reign and Jakhi spoke on subjects like white supremacy and policing in Ferguson, media fabrication and misinformation, black liberation, poverty, religion, the flag, and women in the movement. Things in Ferguson were eerily quiet when we got there--unlike the media reality where Ferguson was a war zone. It became such after the announcement when police attacked demonstrators and escalated the rage of the residents of Ferguson and St. Louis, the country, and the world.
Ferguson revolutionary community organizer Huey Jakhi speaking on his life before the movement and after Mike Brown's murder, black liberation, religion, and the flag. The interview was filmed on November 19, 2014 in St. Louis, MO.
Demonstrators gathered on November 17, 2014 in Clayton, MO--a suburb of St. Louis that happens to be the seat of economic and political power for the city. It is in Clayton that real systemic and institutional action could challenge white supremacy and end racism. Clayton is where St. Louis County Police Department Chief Jon Belmar works, prosecutor Bob McCulloch works over the grand jury, and is the home to many wealthy donors with an interest in maintaining the status quo.
The Injustice Freak Show had many components: a big baby, wonderful banners of Governor Jay Nixon and officer Darren Wilson, balloons, a wailing woman, scared white people, black youth demanding systemic change, plenty of police, and people to boot. The group of maybe a few hundred worked to shut parts of Clayton down with success.
The action, organized by many different groups, happened on the 101st day since the murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
The City of Rochester red light camera law has one big unintended consequence that business leaders should take note of - red light camera tickets are bad for companies doing business in Rochester and tourism.
At the urging of City Hall, last week Rochester's City Council voted 6 to 3 to continue (and expand) the local red light camera program. The cameras are set up at 32 intersections, many in the downtown business and tourism areas. The law allows the City to add 18 more intersections for a total of 50 around town. The Mayor plans to sign the law this week and renew the private vendor's contract.
On Sunday, October 26, 2014, members of Africans United Organization held a special event titled "Refugees and Immigrants: Chanllenges in the U.S.A." Faziri Ndahiro, Girma Erena, Zamda Kamikazi, Gerard Ndacayisenga, & Partick Kiptoo sat on the panel discussing AUO, their personal experiences as African refugees and immigrants, and some programs that AUO is running to engage the community. The event was apart of the Flying Squirrel Community Space's stop mass incarceration programming for the month of October.
On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, Ricardo Adams and Yusef Bunchy Shakur introduced a community report back with Dhoruba Toure Shakur & Sixela Yoccm from Ferguson, MO. "They think it's a game, they think it's a joke!" Ferguson organizers speak! came together rather quickly as resources were pooled to bring these organizers to Rochester to not only speak about what was going on in Ferguson, but also to answer questions from the community about Michael Brown's murder and organizing going on here. Up to the point of coming to Rochester, both organizers had been on the streets of Ferguson for over 70 days operating with Tribe X and the Freedom Fighters. The event was apart of the Flying Squirrel Community Space's stop mass incarceration programming for the month of October.
My partner and I attended the opening exhibition for this ongoing project that has been really gaining momentum in the last few months. Rhys Harper launched an indiegogo campaign to raise funds for a cross-country road trip this summer, photographing trans and gender-non-conforming people along the way. The results are beautiful 24X36 inch black and white portraits, along with brief bios of each subject, to illustrate who they are as people, beyond their gender identities.
On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Leslie James Pickering from Buffalo, NY came to the Flying Squirrel Community Space to present on the FBI's intrusion into his personal life and business--Burning Books--since returning to Western New York. The event titled "U.S. out of my living room: The case of Leslie James Pickering, the Earth Liberation Front Press Office, & Burning Books" was organized by Enough Is Enough for its A People's History of the FBI film and discussion series. It was also apart of the Flying Squirrel Community Space's stop mass incarceration programming for the month of October.