Families of victims of police brutality lead a march in lower Manhattan on Saturday, demanding alternatives to increased policing like affordable housing, education and universal health care
THOMAS HEDGES, TRNN: On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters marched in New York City against police brutality with the families of those victims killed by the police. The demonstration was part of a larger action called Rise Up October, where activists in many cities are coming together to demand alternatives to increased policing as a response to a surge in gun violence across the country this year. PROTESTER: This is my fucking reality. My people are my reality. The murders of our people are my reality. And I’m not going nowhere [inaud.] with me. And [inaud.]. I’m not going nowhere. I’ma be here until they put me six feet under, till my son comes home from prison. Until my family has justice. Till these families get justice, till your family gets justice. HEDGES: The protesters marched through the wealthy Lower Manhattan area, where onlookers stood with shopping bags as families from St. Louis, Ferguson, Oakland, Baltimore, and South Carolina expressed outrage over the treatment of their relatives. SPEAKER: So what’s your response to to these people out on the street here? SARA WEICHOLD: It’s not a game. I’m Cary Ball’s cousin, this is his brother, Carlos Ball. We’re down here fighting for justice, fighting for what’s right. And these people are looking at us like it’s a sideshow. This is real. These are families out here. We’re not protesters. We’re not, we’re not out here for some money. We’re out here because our loved ones, because we’ve been hurt. SPEAKER: And you said, somebody earlier, I heard you say stop smiling. WEICHOLD: Yeah, she was smiling like it was funny. And it’s not funny. This is pain out here. All these pictures, all these people out here. These are our loved ones that was taken from us, and we’re out here fighting. We stand in solidarity with all these families. And these people that are looking at us, and just standing there and not doing nothing, y’all could get out here in these streets because you’re just as guilty as the ones who are killing us. If you just stand there and just look and take pictures, and send it to Instagram. And send it to fucking Facebook. This is my cousin. He was shot 21 times after surrendering with his hands in the air in St. Louis, Missiouri. We have parents out here. We have grandparents out here. We have brothers. We have sisters. This is real. This ain’t no fun protest. We’re families. These are the families out here. HEDGES: The march wasn’t limited to police brutality. There was a sense that Occupy Wall Street and the Fight for $15 movement among other groups understood that this movement was as important as theirs. They had a strong presence Saturday. We spoke to Osborne Hart of Philadelphia who brought these issues together. OSBORNE HART: I’m Osborne Hart, the Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor in Philadelphia. An election just coming up in a week or so. I’m a Walmart worker and part of the Fight for $15 minimum wage, right to [inaud.] and unionization, which has become a broad social movement across the country, the fight for the minimum wage, is like here at this anti-police oppression demonstration that’s going on in New York. This system is in a deep crisis. Internationally. That’s why you see what’s happening in Montreal, or South Africa. There’s a deep economic crisis that’s forcing the drive for profits, and they’re squeezing the social gains that working people have gotten, particularly in this country. HEDGES: Many here understood that police violence and incarceration were the last resorts of the security apparatus that wants to destroy movements. We ran into Glen Ford, who contributes regularly to the Real News Network. He said that the mass incarceration of black people in America reflects fundamentally the attitude of the state when it comes to political dissent of any kind. GLEN FORD: The hammer of mass black incarceration is such a powerful and divisive and destructive force that the conflict between black folks and the police becomes the primary contradiction. HEDGES: For the Real News, Thomas Hedges, New York.
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