Racism, Crime, Police Shootings And #RiseUpOctober
You may not yet have heard about "Rise Up October" - it's a movement that packs a huge potential impact in our region.
Marlon Anderson knows all about trying to cope with guns and urban violence. The community advocate from Albany's West Hill section has organized several community forums. Unless they fall within a few days or week of a tragic shooting, they're sparsely attended. Anderson is concerned about the urban community. "We're at the highest levels of every negative category you can imagine. Unemployment, school drop-outs, incarceration, social services. We're at the highest levels of every negative aspect of society but we're at the lowest level when it comes to jobs and investment."
There are other negatives. Police-related shootings of young black men across the U.S. have polarized neighborhoods. The strife hit home here in the Capital Region last weekend when Troy police engaged in a shootout that left two officers injured and a black suspect dead. When friends constructed makeshift memorials on city streets honoring Thaddeus Faison, officers removed them. Tension increased.
In an effort to heal the strain, Troy police officers tell NewsChannel 13 they donned their uniforms on their day off and mingled with neighbors in that community, while Rev. Dr. Norman Macklin told the station, "We’re trying to offer some hope on both sides of the fence because we have to live here together and if we live here together and help one another, we can make it together."
As the police and the people of Troy work toward peace, protestors in Albany continue calling for answers from police, as the Albany County D.A.'s office continues an independent investigation into the stun gun-related death of Donald “Dontay” Ivy, a mentally ill Albany man with a heart condition who died after being tased by city police officers who stopped him as he walked in his Arbor Hill neighborhood. Social activist and former Occupy member Bradley Russell: "His family has said that he was essentially 'pulled over,' although he was walking but stopped because he had his hand inside of his shirt on a cold night. And I think that that's part and parcel of what we see in terms of racial profiling in this country."
NPR is reporting that activists in the Black Lives Matter movement have answered critics who have asked for specific policy proposals. A group in the movement published a 10-point agenda to reduce police violence in the country. The plan is called "Campaign Zero." It calls for stronger guidelines limiting the use of force and banning police quotas for tickets and arrests.
And there's a storm is brewing to the south: at an event held Thursday night at First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City, aimed to drum up support for "Rise Up October," a mass demonstration against what organizers say is "police terror and murder" planned for October 24th in the big Apple. Kimberly Diaz was one of many speakers at the event. "This isn't something new. This isn't something that started just last year with the murder of Michael Brown. This is something that has been going on for entirely too long, for longer than I've even been alive. And this tonight, is a declaration that we're all gonna join together and make sure that it stops, once and for all. October 24th will be an even bigger gathering, to show that this must stop. Once and for all."
"Rise Up October" could be the biggest protest against police brutality ever. Activists predict that some 100,000 people will disrupt normal business and shut down street traffic in the Big Apple to keep police brutality in the public consciousness.