•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle


No racial profiling of Juanita Young!

Published Aug 12, 2009 2:48 PM

The July 16 arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. for “disorderly conduct” in his own home in Cambridge, Mass., exposed once again the fact that racism is alive and well in the U.S. The ongoing struggle of Juanita Young shows the state’s ruthlessness against those who fight back.


An Aug. 10 press conference, rally and march to the 43rd police precinct was held in Bronx, N.Y. to show solidarity with Black activist Juanita Young and her family. On Aug. 8, the New York police physically assaulted and arrested members of Young’s family during a cookout. Young, pictured far left carrying a banner, has been outspoken against police brutality following the 2000 shooting death of her son, Malcolm Ferguson, by a plainclothes detective. The Aug. 10 protest was organized by the Oct. 22 Coalition and the Justice Committee.
WW photo: Mike Eilenfeldt

For the simple, justifiable act of speaking out against being racially profiled, Gates was arrested. For her continued activism against police brutality—after the 2000 killing of her son by a plainclothes cop—Young and her entire family have been arrested multiple times, continually harassed and brutalized by the New York Police Department.

A press release from the Juanita Young Support Committee quotes an eyewitness to the latest attack on Aug. 8, which occurred as Young was having a cookout with her family, friends and neighbors: “Over a dozen cops seemed to appear out of nowhere, broke the front door down, slammed JJ [Jason James, Juanita’s oldest son] up behind the door, and beat him on the head while cuffing him. This was all happening with kids and babies around (photos posted at nyc.indymedia.org). ... The cops went upstairs into Juanita’s apartment, made everyone get down on the floor, and also arrested her daughters Saran and Naya, Saran’s baby’s father Tyrell, their cousin Jason, and family friends Jonathan and Mike. ... After many phone calls to the precinct from all over the country, JJ was eventually taken to a hospital.”

Other than Jason James, everyone else was released with a summons for disorderly conduct—the same charges Gates faced. JJ, who faced the most brutality by the cops, has been charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and possession.

Young’s son Malcolm Ferguson was killed in 2000, just five days after he attended protests against the police killing of Amadou Diallo. Police officer Louis Rivera shot the unarmed Ferguson point- blank in the head. Young was awarded $10.5 million in 2007 by a Bronx, N.Y, civil court in her trial against New York City and the NYPD. Since Ferguson’s death, Young has been a tireless and courageous fighter against all repression.

True to form, the police have responded viciously, taking any opportunity they can to attack Young and her family. In 2003 she was arrested for trespassing in her own home as part of an illegal eviction. She was arrested again in 2005 at an anti-war demonstration, and was denied medical attention when she suffered an asthma attack in police custody. In 2006 police arrested her again, while they were responding to a call for an ambulance at Young’s home for one of her daughters.

If you are a person of color in the U.S., all of your rights are questionable and subject to the will of the state. Yet speaking up and fighting back in the face of state repression is considered a high crime, subject to long imprisonment—like Mumia Abu-Jamal—or continued harassment—such as what the Young family faces on a regular basis. What Juanita Young and other courageous survivors of police brutality know is that we must fight back.