On May 25th, 2020 the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police set the city off. Marches demanding justice were immediately met by police teargas, rubber bullets, and explosive ammunition. People in the streets responded in the only way that was appropriate:“F*ck 12, F*ck your murdering, and F*ck your system that keeps killing Black people and the oppressed. Black Lives Matter!”
For days, masses of people, mainly youth, have taken the streets and made them virtually no-go areas for police. The protests have quickly taken the form of an urban rebellion and spread out across the country and the world. Solidarity actions against police, the State, and the continuing structural-economic-political-cultural injustices rooted in white supremacy have sprung up in every state in the US and as far away as Ghana, Lebanon, and Ecuador. Hundreds of thousands of people have refused police and government curfews, often at great risk and danger to themselves. People are refusing to stay silent and are taking immediate, direct action in their streets and communities to demand the affirmation of Black lives!
Police and politicians have tried to argue that the unrest is violent and antisocial , but people in the streets know the truth: the real violence has been against the rebellion! The violence has been brought by police, white vigilantes, and fascists. There has been little to no violence between protesters. Instead people have shown appreciation and respect for each other while focusing their anger on the police, the government, and the corporations that rip off Black, POC, and poor communities.
The rebellion is happening during a pandemic. The virus has been tearing at our community’s health and economies with thousands of people hospitalized, dying, and losing loved ones. The COVID-19 virus has also had a disproportionate effect on Black, POC, and marginalized peoples. In addition to the police violence, people taking to the streets must also risk the threat of COVID-19. People have been willing to take that risk for justice and humanity.
Despite the pandemic, the police haven’t stopped brutalizing and killing. George Floyd was only one of the most recent murders by the cops. In the month just before his murder the police and pro-police racists murdered:
Breonna Taylor in Louisville; Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia; Steven Taylor in California; Tony McDade in Florida; Sean Reed in Indiana.
Since the rebellion began police and white vigilantes have continued to kill Black and Brown people: David McAtee in Kentucky; James Scurlock in Nebraska; Sean Monterrosa and Robert Forbes of California. We are learning about more every day.
As this was being written the Atlanta Police shot Rayshard Brooks in the back. Before you had the chance to read this they may have murdered even more.
The list of people brutalized and murdered by police continues to grow and they aren’t the only ones attacking our communities. White racist vigilantes have terrorized and murdered protesters. White racists have continued the tactic of driving cars and trucks into protests and more and more groups of armed white vigilantes are showing up to “defend” police who in turn either directly protect these racist vigilantes or work in coordination with them to allow these white racists to attack protesters.
Michigan has been a part of the resistance against police brutality and white supremacy. In Ypsilanti, Michigan police brutally beat Sha’Teina Grady El. They then arrested her and her husband, Daniyal Grady El. Hundreds of people here in Michigan rallied and took to the streets in their defense and against the police at the same moments the rebellion in Minneapolis was growing. This created momentum and inspiration for local actions and solidarity with the rebellion, which then spread out across Michigan. Detroit saw people night after night facing down police, enduring brutality, arrest, and attempts by the media and the cops at snitch-jacketing protesters as “outsiders and agitators.” In Grand Rapids and Lansing huge multiracial marches turned into street fights when attacked by the police. Protesters refuse to be beat down!
Across the country resistance is taking the streets. It’s not stopping. It’s growing, getting broader, and taking new forms. One demand that has emerged from the rebellion is to defund, disarm, and dismantle the police. This demand is tied to the broader vision of abolishing the police and the white supremacist system and rethinking what our communities need and how we can organize them. In some communities where the police have retreated, we’re seeing the emergence of small but important attempts at community-based social assistance networks including neighborhood defense patrols. We are also seeing the righteous destruction of symbols of white supremacy and genocide. In Virginia people set fire to the office of the racist Daughters of the Confederacy and the six-story monument to General R.E. Lee was damaged beyond repair. In Minnesota members of the American Indian Movement tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus. These are all steps in the direction of that vision: A world free from the police and all white supremicist systems.
There is work ahead. The rebellion is placing front and center the need to organize our communities. We need defense and resistance based on solidarity, mutual aid, and making ready for future fight backs!
Black and Brown people, women, LGTBQI people, poor people, and people locked up in jails, prisons, and detention cages—these people are facing the most marginalization, abuse, and death at the hands of the state. Whether from COVID-19, having their jobs or healthcare cut, or being locked up, people are under attack. The rebellion shows that masses of people are through being brutalized! It affirms Black life and it demands an immediate end to white supremacy and injustice.