The mass civil disobedience led by Carl Dix and Cornel West on Friday tapped into a deep well of rage and anger at the racial profiling by the NYPD which is concentrated in “stop and frisk.” Carl and Cornel were joined by 34 locking arms in front of the 28th Precinct, and hundreds more in support, including a contingent from Occupy Wall Street, based on a unanimous decision at Thursday’s General Assembly to endorse the action.
We marched through the streets of Harlem, greeted by fists pumping and smiles. This mass resistance could potentially change how people respond to systematic racial profiling, an issue which is going to be fundamentally decided in the streets, with a diversity of people putting something on the line.
Dix and West see Friday’s action as the first of a new stage of mass resistance to “stop and frisk,” as a door to exposing and fighting the New Jim Crow. There will be no stopping mass racial profiling without mass resistance. It has begun.
The action resonated because it hit on a profoundly sharp and deeply entrenched, politically explosive contradiction of the all around criminalization and mass incarceration of Black & Latino people, one that touches to the very core of what this country is about and what holds it together, or could tear it apart (and which has historically done so). The police lashed out, and held two young organizers who had spoken in many schools, both of whom were not released until Saturday night on charges of resisting arrest.
Carl Dix was the featured speaker at the October 22nd march to stop police brutality from Union Square to the LES with close to 1,000 marchers, bolstered by Wall Street occupiers. Carl, joined by Cornel, has been speaking to thousands around the country, calling for a movement of resistance to stop these policies.
From Carl, in the Huffington Post Black Voices, Why I Am Getting Arrested Today
This policy is wrong. It is illegal, racist, unconstitutional and intolerable! It is just one of the many pipelines into the wholesale mass incarceration of a generation of Black and Latino youth. Today there are more than two million people held in prison in the U.S. That is the largest prison population in the world! And its not just men; more than one third of all women imprisoned in the entire world are in prison in the U.S.
Along with Carl and Cornel, the core group of those arrested were Rev. Stephen Phelps of Riverside Church; Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Harlem; Jim Vrettos, a professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and myself and Elaine Brower of World Can’t Wait. We were joined by students from CCNY, Columbia & Barnard; Wall Street Occupiers and, very importantly, people who have been victimized by “Stop & Frisk.” 8 of us planned to be arrested; the fact that 26 more joined on the spot shows the potential of this as a beginning of mass action.
75 people met in Harlem on Sunday to plan the next phase of the campaign. More on that soon! Join in at firstname.lastname@example.org. See http://stopmassincarceration.tumblr.com/ And here it is:
Tuesday November 1: Stop ‘Stop & Frisk’ Direct Action
Tuesday, November 1, 2011 – 4:00pm – 7:00pm
NYPD 73rd Precinct, 1470 East New York Ave, Ocean Hill – Brownsville, Brooklyn