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Millions More Movement takes up police brutality

Published Sep 24, 2005 7:22 PM

“From all of the reports that we are receiving from local communities that are now actively organizing and mobilizing for the Millions More Movement, there is a definite acceleration in the momentum at the grassroots level. The local organizing committees, in particular, are growing and the number of persons registering to show their support of the Millions More Movement (MMM) is increasing in each region and state,” reported Minister Benjamin F. Muhammad, national mobilization director of the Millions More Movement, at a Sept. 3 National Mobilization Meeting in Washington, D.C.

South Los Angeles march protesting
police killing of Devin Brown
in February 2005.

In Los Angeles, over two weeks later, the trend towards growing participation continues and, due to increasing incidents of racist police brutality since early this year, MMM meetings continue to grow.

At the Bethel AME Church, located in South Los Angeles, the Community Call to Action and Accountability group meets every Tuesday to discuss community issues and plan strategies. It is also mobilizing local participation in the MMM.

On Aug. 30, this group’s meeting was partly dedicated to fighting for justice for Devin Brown, an unarmed 13-year-old boy shot to death by an LAPD cop last Feb ru ary. In an announcement about the meeting and a demand to fire the cop who killed Devin, the organizers stated: “The Com munity Call to Action and Accountability (CCAA) is demanding that Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton immediately fire Officer Steven Garcia, and that the newly appointed Police Commission uphold this firing. The Community Call to Action and Accoun tability (CCAA) is demand ing that Los Angeles District Attor ney Steve Cooley immediately file criminal murder charges against Officer Steven Garcia. We want justice in this matter, and we want it now ... No Justice ... No Peace!”

The mayor, police chief, city and state government continued to drag their feet regarding the Brown killing. This past July another atrocity occurred when an LAPD SWAT team refused to negotiate a supposed hostage situation in Watts and instead chose to shoot down a father holding his 19-month-old baby in his arms. The volley of bullets killed him and the baby, Susie Peña.

Most recently, adding insult to injury against the oppressed communities here, the police attacked a prominent leader in the Black community. Tony Muhammad, Western Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam, was beaten and kicked in the head by the LAPD at a peace vigil on Aug. 25.

That incident outraged the Black community. Over 600 people came to the next Tuesday night meeting of the CCAA, where actions were discussed to protest this and the Peña and Brown killings. A special portion of the meeting was dedicated to the Peña family and money was raised on their behalf.

A big theme that night at the CCAA meeting was unity. In fact, the meeting began with Native-American dancers performing a spiritual ceremony and ended with Black Muslim and Christian ministers, community activists and labor leaders pledging a tireless fight against injustice and racism. This spirit of unity was echoed at the following meetings and will further be expressed at the Sept. 24 anti-war rally here in Los Angeles.

It was decided that Sept. 24 would be the day to bring out thousands against police brutality at the LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles, just blocks away from the ending march site of the anti-war rally. Plans are currently being made to integrate the two actions by members of the CCAA, who voted last week to expand the theme of their demonstration to include ending the war in Iraq now.

This theme of unity is a major component of the MMM nationally. “For the first time in our history, those of us of different ideologies, philosophies, methodologies, denominations, sects and religions, political and fraternal affiliations have come together to create the Millions More Move ment,” states the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in the September issue of The Final Call.

To strengthen that unity and the movement, Minister Farrakhan extended an open invitation to the National Black Justice Coalition, a lesbian, gay, bi and trans organization, to be co-conveners of the MMM in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 15.

The NBJC recently announced D.C. activities Oct. 14-16 in conjunction with the MMM titled “We are Family Unity Weekend.”

The CCAA also responded immediately to help survivors of Hurricane Katrina, which has been cited nationally by the MMM as another example of U.S. racism. At the Sept. 3 Washington meeting of the MMM, Minister Akbar Muhammad, international representative of Minister Farrakhan, stated the importance of the MMM “to speak out about this great tragedy and to take immediate steps to offer our assistance to the thousands in need.”

The writer is an organizer with the International Action Center and Million Worker March Committee, which are both members of the CCAA.