by Mark A. Torres, Chairperson for the "People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular" [https://www.facebook.com/groups/NYwithUPR/permalink/505484446133541/]:
During the last three months we, The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular, have been supporting two young men who have been the targets of Stop and Frisk--which is Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD’s racist and anti-poor campaign against our communities.
Last week Brother Malik Ayala had his case thrown out of court and this week Brother Jonathan Hernandez had his case dismissed. Most cases don’t end up like theirs. In fact, thousands of people are ushered through the criminal injustice system and are forced to pay a fine or take an Adjournment with Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD). This process attempts to make us pay for the destruction of the economy caused by Corporate America and attempts to control us with the threat of imprisonment.
As many debate the issue of Stop and Frisk we say that this policy will increase violence in our communities. The constant harassment of thousands of innocent people by the NYPD does not promote peace but makes bare the fact that violence and disrespect are the order of the day. Our response to this violence will either continue to be focused against ourselves, as witnessed by the many shoot-outs that plague our communities and are increasing, or it will be channeled into organized resistance against oppression.
The case of Brother Malik and Brother Jonathan to resist the oppression of Stop and Frisk and the criminal injustice system is not unique, there are groups like Stop Stop and Frisk, as well as the People’s Survival Program who are also engaged in this fight for our rights, but it is important because these two young teenagers, members of our group, have decided to face sever repercussions in order to stand up and fight back.
If everyone who was stopped, arrested and/or given a summons by the NYPD insisted on not paying the fine and not taking an ACD, but instead demanding a trial, the system would collapse under its own weight. Everyone who is given a summons should request a trial the way Brother Malik and Brother Jonathan were willing to do.
Everyone should also mobilize all the people they can to come down to the courts with them. Thousands of people, everyday, go down to court as individuals and are chewed up by the system. Along with our street organizing we should pack the courts and demand a trial!
At this stage of our history we must return to seeing our collective interests as inseparable from our individual interests. In order for any one of us to do be free and do well we must all be free and do well. Let’s be conscious of our oppression and let’s use it to breed resistance. Let’s educate, agitate and organize in our communities so that there will be more young people like Brother Malik and Brother Jonathan!
In closing, when our young people stand up to the system we must be there to support them. Although Brother Jonathan no longer needs to go to court, Brother Malik’s case is scheduled for a trial. His disorderly conduct summons, for walking the halls of his school and giving out a flyer with the Black Panther Logo, must be denounced and challenged!
We need you to come out and support Brother Malik, on Tuesday August 21, at 9AM, at the Bronx Criminal Court, 215 East 161st, between Sherman and Sheridan Avenues.
All Power to the People!