Anakbayan New Jersey Demands Justice for Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, Jerame Reid, and Radazz Hearns! End State Violence on Black Lives!

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

September 16, 2015

Reference:

Brian Flores, Co-Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

Dan Santiago, Co-Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

Ana Robelo, Anakbayan New Jersey

(714) 271-2830, anakbayannj@gmail.com

POP call to action

New Jersey — On September 9th, 2015, as members of Anakbayan and residents of New Jersey, we stand in solidarity with the Rally To Demand Justice For Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, and Jerame Reid organized by the People’s Organization for Progress at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark. People’s Organization for Progress held a Million People’s March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality this July, in Newark garnering the support of hundreds this July in Newark, including speeches from the families of Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, and Jerame Reid. Less than a month later, 14 year-old Radazz Hearns was chased by two police officers and a state trooper in Trenton, NJ as he walked down the street with friends; he was then shot seven times. Radazz was hospitalized and suffered major injuries to the backs of his legs and pelvis. He is now being charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, third-degree aggravated assault, and fourth-degree possession of a defaced firearm. The gun that Radazz is accused of reaching for was found on the scene twelve hours after the shooting and the Mercer County police department unlawfully released his juvenile record this week. We continue to denounce the killing and criminalization of Black youth under the U.S. Imperialist machine and white supremacist legal system.

While we understand that the law cannot be the only vehicle for justice, we join People’s Organization for Progress and the families of Kamal, Ashford, Reid, and Hearns in the call to demand that the U.S. Attorney’s Office charge and convict the officers responsible for their murders and open civil rights investigations. “The stories of Kamal, Ashford, and Reid are nothing new,” said Anakbayan New Jersey member Laura Emily Endaya Austria. “They are symptoms of the disease that is police brutality and racism. As members of the political mass organization Anakbayan NJ, we cannot stand for this. We support People’s Organization for Progress in their efforts to make the cases of Kamal, Ashford, Reid, and others more visible and to catalyze change in the criminal justice system that favors whites over people of color.”

Feeling safe is important, but that feeling is hard in the Jersey City community. The growing gentrification in Jersey City, along with police violence and harassment of Black folks and Black queer and trans people, has made our communities unsafe. As expressed by Shayla Cook, member of the Undoing Racism Committee and alumni of Peers Educating Peers at NJCU, this is a constant threat. “My people are continuously being exterminated,” she says. “My people have been forced to leave this country by being sentenced to prison, shot by law enforcement, or lynched. A genocide is taking place. Blood on the leaves and blood on the hands of those who claim to serve and protect. I am not asking you to leave, I am telling you. LEAVE THE SACRED SPACE THAT WE CALL OUR BODIES. In the name of Spirit, those of the shadow, LEAVE. Spirit, I asked that you bend their souls to the light. In the name of Kashad Ashford, Abdul Kamal, Jamal Reid; I BIND ALL ACTS OF VIOLENCE. I BIND ALL BULLETS.” We need space to heal because the intergenerational trauma is stuck in our bodies. Challenge anti-blackness in people of color communities.

We know that our struggles are not only connected in the United States, where the police hold the power to use lethal force and execute without reprieve. They have reportedly taken 821 lives just this year. It is important to us as Filipino-Americans because we see parallels between the state violence and terrorism we both face. Like the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO, developed to monitor and ultimately destroy the Black Panthers, Oplan Bayanihan was initiated by the US-Aquino regime in 2011 to further harassment, targeting, and extrajudicial killings of human rights defenders and other perceived threats under the guise of peace and national security. The truth is that Oplan Bayanihan was modeled with the same purpose to try to destroy the movement we have built because it has power, just like Black freedom fighters in the U.S. had and continue to have power.

Oplan Bayanihan is responsible for the forced disappearances, torture, and murder of the leaders of organizations and groups that only work to see our communities and nation to thrive. Last week three Lumad leaders, Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Bello Sinzo were murdered by paramilitary forces in Mindanao as the Philippine army and special forces terrorized civilians in Sitio Han-ayan. The attacks on Lumad schools, displacement from their ancestral, and mass killings in their communities continue to escalate. We see our communities under attack, whether it be peasants and indigenous peoples in the Philippines or Black people in the United States. We are disillusioned and brought up to see military and police officers as those that protect and serve. As we grow up, we see that the interests that they protect and serve are not of the people but of corporate and wealthy elite. We see that “doing your job” is processed through flawed lenses of a broken justice system and criminalizes progress when it means real change for our people. In the case of Radazz, we hear of trumped-up charges against folks that have done nothing wrong and, in the same breath, are found guilty of charges with irrelevant and unrelated materials.

We are not free until we are all free! Join the call! Put pressure on the US Attorney’s office by calling (973) 645-2704 and sending letters to  

Hon. Paul J. Fishman

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey

U.S. Attorney’s Office

970 Broad Street Suite 700

Newark, New Jersey 07102

END IMPUNITY!

JUSTICE FOR ABDUL KAMAL, KASHAD ASHFORD, JERAME REID, AND RADAZZ HEARNS! JUSTICE FOR ALL BLACK LIVES!

STOP KILLING LUMADS!

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Filipino Youth Activists (Charge Wilson and Pantaleo Guilty), Demand Justice for All Victims of State Repression from Ferguson to the Philippines

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“We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe” – Frantz Fanon

We, the Filipino youth and students of Anakbayan New Jersey, stand in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and New York City. We strongly condemn to the highest level the no indictment verdicts in light of the murder of our fellow youth of color, Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, and father, Eric Garner on July 17, 2014.

Darren Wilson, a white police officer fired twelve rounds at unarmed, 18 year old, Michael Brown, who had his arms up upon death. Eric Garner, 43 year old father of six, was put into a chokehold by Daniel Pantaleo, another white police officer. This resulted in Garner’s eventual death as well. With our fellow youth, and fathers being killed, how much more can our communities take? How many more times will we allow this to happen? As oppressed youth, we must hold Darren Wilson, Daniel Pantaleo, and the countless others accountable for their actions. And if this fails, we must demand a system that will.

It is unacceptable that the justice system so blatantly disregards the lives of marginalized peoples. Black and Brown bodies across the country are being targeted and terrorized by police brutality and increased militarization of neighborhoods and communities. These generally unarmed, Black young men are being told every 28 hours that their lives do not matter and our justice system will not advocate for them. The list of the victims of police brutality will only continue to grow if we do not reclaim our basic right to livelihood.

Our people share a legacy of loss. Freddie Ligiw, a youth member and organizer with Anakbayan in the Abra province, was forcibly taken on February 19, 2014. He dared to question societal order and fight for a better future for his people. In response, the Philippine government killed him, adding to the ever-increasing number of extrajudicial killings. We must end this culture of impunity worldwide.

By 2050 there will be a white minority in the U.S. We will reach a point of history where most people in the country, at that point the people of color majority, are socialized to not trust the people meant to protect them: the police. As youth of color, and the future majority, we are not taught by the oppressive system that it will oppress. Rather, our people’s struggles and the stories we witness on the streets have taught us to reject the fallacy of security that is the police state. Do not blame us for wanting to protect the lives of our children as well.

During a student walkout this past week, the squadrons of police brought out a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), which sends painful shock waves throughout the body. This is how our “public servants” respond to a peaceful protest comprised of mostly high school students. Despite these attempts at intimidation and state repression, we cannot afford to remain silent. The criminalization of youth is sadly familiar to our collective communities. Whether on domestic soil or in the militarized state of the Philippines, our bodies are being policed and brutalized. As youth, we must reject this fascist government we have inherited and respond in rage.

Anakbayan New Jersey calls on all youth to demand a system that advocates for its people and protects the marginalized. We must pursue an organized and collective struggle to liberate all of our peoples. Filipinos in the U.S. and in our homeland must raise their voices against the injustices committed against our allied communities. We must stand together and claim a better world and future for ourselves, or we will watch each of us fall. Our hands are up, but in fists, fighting for our right to breathe. From New Jersey to Mexico New York to Palestine to Ferguson to the Philippines, no justice, no peace! Black lives matter! Brown lives matter! Long live international solidarity!