Press Contact: Veronica Morris Moore
BYP100 Media Contact
What: Press Conference
When: 12pm, November 23, 2015
Where: 5101 S. Wentworth – 2nd District precinct
Who: Young black organizers from BYP100, Fearless Leading by the Youth, Assata’s Daughters, #LetUsBreathe collective, We Charge Genocide, Black Lives Matter: Chicago, and other grassroots collectives
Young Black Organizers Decline Private Meeting with Mayor to Discuss the Video of the Execution of Laquan McDonald
CHICAGO– Prior to the release of dash cam footage of a white Chicago police officer shooting 17 year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, the Mayor’s office is reaching out to meet with various community leaders on Monday. Young black organizers have declined the offer to meet with Rahm’s administration to discuss the video and are focusing on reaching out to the people who are directly impacted by the occupation of militarized police and community disinvestment. Instead of attending a meeting at City Hall, the collective of young black organizers and activists will hold a press conference following the court appearance of 60+ people who were arrested protesting the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference that was hosted in Chicago last month.
The Mayor’s office is calling on community “leaders” to control Black people’s response to the execution recorded on the dashcam video to be released. It was important to deny this invitation to meet because we believe that the community has a right to respond as it sees fit. The city historically responds to peaceful demonstrations violently and recklessly. We have no faith that the same Mayor that allowed people to starve for 34 days over a school, will be accountable to black people just because we respond calmly to a documented hate crime committed by a Chicago police officer. We also believe that leaders do not reserve the right to police people’s emotions. Our responsibility is to organize public energy into impact.The people of this city deserve more transparency in meetings with the Mayor’s office. We will decline any invite to meet with the Mayor’s office privately. The Mayor and Superintendent Gary McCarthy need to be present at a public meeting that is centered around black people and the effects of militarized police occupation. We also demand that the Chicago Police Department refrain from responding to traumatized young black people with more violence. The presence of militarized police in riot gear incites people to riot.
Indicting cops does not change the policies that promote the violence and trauma inherent in the Chicago Police Department. Chicago has more police officers per person than any other city. Chicago police murder more civilians than any other police force in the nation. CPD has spent more than $500 Million over the past 10 years in settlements for police misconduct. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fundamentally bankrupted public education to bankroll militarized police occupation and terrorism. As Black teachers are losing their jobs and more schools in poor communities are closing, police presence is increasing. Yet, there has been no positive change against community violence while state violence continues to persist as well–both claiming the lives of more young people each year.
The purpose of this press conference is for young, Black activists and organizers that were arrested for protesting police violence last month to call young people to action and participate in opportunities to connect people to each other and outlets for solutions. We want to encourage people to find hope in each other as we collectively organize against the culture of white supremacy that seeks to systematically destroy our communities. In this moment, we must lean on each other, not the people and institutions that deny our right to life as black people. We see these institutions and the people that represent them as the common factor to state and interpersonal violence. We reject the myth of “black on black” crime and encourage mainstream media and consumers of media to focus on the humanity and life of Laquan McDonald and his family.
Young black organizers will be creating and hosting opportunities for people to take action, process, and fight for change as we are terrorized by the realities of white supremacy.