Passed this OCF construction site at wharton and 20th with the windows busted
Passed this OCF construction site at wharton and 20th with the windows busted
“All are welcome as long as they make space for black people at the front of the march. The issues contained in the assaults on LGBT folks, on Muslims and refugees, occupation and militarization abroad are intersectional. Today we center our black women, our black immigrants, black LGBTQ family, and our black Muslims. Dress warm and be vigilant.”
The march kicked off with a line of Bodyhammer-style shields made from large city traffic cones. Each one had a letter painted on it so that together they read “U-N-G-O-V-E-R-N-A-B-L-E.” Even the protest chants had an air of militancy. “Bullets Trump Hate” resonated throughout the streets as the march headed north on Broad Street. One person with a megaphone paid homage to the words that became a rallying cry after police officers murdered Eric Garner. “They say ‘hands up, don’t shoot,’ but we have another one for you… ‘guns up, shoot back.’”
The march made its way north towards the Temple campus. We stopped at the bustling intersection of Broad and Girard, a main artery for traffic and public transit. The crowd blocked the streets and burned American flags while people of color talked about police repression and terrorism through a megaphone. “This is not my flag. It has never been my flag. We’re burning this flag for Emmit Till. Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Freddie Gray. This is for Brandon Tate Brown.” There was more talk about the current racist stop-and-frisk policy, and, of course, the MOVE bombing of May 13, 1985. The list went on while the fire grew.
After it began to burn out, the march started to move again. The group wasn’t half as large as some anti-Trump demonstrations that brought out thousands only a few weeks ago. In a fashion typical of Philadelphia Police, the march was followed by dozens of squad cars and at least two police helicopters, and surrounded on either side by bike cops who seemed to outnumber participants by at least two to one. The strategy for policing mass mobilizations in Philadelphia is heavily influenced by former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey; usually, the police avoid making arrests, while oversaturating the area with officers. This approach is informed by the “Vancouver Model” as outlined in the police manual Managing Major Events: Best Practices from the Field by the Police Executive Research Forum.
As soon as we neared Temple University, the march became confrontational. Those with megaphones tried to rush into the campus dining hall. Uniformed officers tripped over each other as they hurried to block the entrance and exits, using their bikes to shove people who stood in their way. They formed a line in front of the doors with their bikes as blockades.
Someone noticed a Bank of America across the street and everyone rushed in that direction. Only one officer stood guard before all the shielded protestors formed their own line at the entrance. Bike cops rushed over, clumsily tripping over each other again as they scrambled to catch up with the crowd. A scuffle broke out. Someone threw black paint over the bank window and perhaps an officer or two. Cops extended their batons. Shielded protesters stood their ground and moved forward, chanting “Kill the Rich.” Police pepper-sprayed a large portion of the crowd, then began swinging their batons and hitting many people. Four arrests took place. There was an unsuccessful attempt to de-arrest someone. I saw at least one person bleeding from the head after being hit by police. Street medics took care to help flush the pepper spray out of the eyes of those struck.
All the local news media outlets that covered this event reported that protestors pepper-sprayed the police and that police were hospitalized with injuries. No one I spoke with has witnessed anything other than the police pepper-spraying protestors. One person’s account is as follows: “Here’s what happened. We wanted to get inside Bank of America. A bunch of cops started beating people up with bikes and batons because they care more about capitalist institutions than people. One of them started spraying us with pepper spray. I got it in my eyes. The cops started shouting to their own guy, “Who’s spraying? Stop spraying!” Now, in order to cover up their incompetence, the press is implying that we were the ones who injured them.”
Six more people were arrested outside the precinct the next day while doing jail support. It took over 24 hours before everyone was released. The Up Against the Law Legal Collective worked nonstop to find out where everyone was being held and when they would be eligible for bail, while the local Food Not Bombs chapter fed the gathering crowd of people expressing support outside the jail. The charges being filed against the arrestees are outlandish, but we plan to fight the system with solidarity.
The courts and the police want us to feel scared and isolated. As long as we have each other’s backs in the mounting resistance to come, we can win. And we will win.
Volume 3 Issue 1 (PDF for printing 11 x 17)
Volume 3 Issue 1 (PDF for reading 8.5 x 11)
In this issue:
We have seen a predominantly white, liberal front in the past few months. Specifically, the Women’s March had failed to include women & femmes of color everywhere by ignoring intersectionality, racial equality, and the struggle against white supremacy. We are calling for a united and militant approach. We are tired of white-led protests. We are tired of white people taking up space. We are tired of the liberal agenda that the Democratic Party will somehow save us.
NO MORE “Love Trumps Hate”, “We Are The Majority Vote”, “Pussy Grabs Back”, “Her Body Her Choice”, etc. The revolution will start here in Philadelphia and it will be of color.
It is crucial for us, as women & femmes of color, to gather in a collective space to mourn, express anger, and display solidarity towards each other. Past protests have failed to show the people how to stay involved in community organizing. We know that marching isn’t enough. We know protesting is only the first step. That is why we have organized a *mostly* all day event where we will start out rallying and listening to women & femmes speak about their experiences, then taking the streets, and finally asking organization representatives to follow through and introduce protesters to organizational work.
We are asking you to dress in black and mask up if you can. The purpose of this is to challenge how society perceives women & femmes of color. Nothing intimidates White Amerikkka more than masked Black & Brown women/femmes. The purpose of masking up is not only to prove a point but also to provide all of you safety.
We will come together the weekend leading up to President’s Day. This event is open to everyone regardless of your race, sexuality, sexual preferences, class, disability, religion, etc. HOWEVER, we are asking that if you are white and are planning to come to this event, that you understand your role in providing safety to women/femmes of color.
[February 18 12PM Location tba]
Please donate to Philadelphia area residents who were wrongfully arrested during the January 20th inauguration protests in Washington DC. All funds raised will help pay for defendants’ legal fees, transit and housing costs.
This fund is being used to support people from the Philadelphia region who were wrongfully mass arrested during demonstrations in Washington DC on the day of Trump’s inauguration. On that day, Metro DC police attacked and cornered a large crowd of protestors with brutal, excessive force. Prolonged detainment and mistreatment over the course of 36 hours culminated in an evidence-less blanket felony charge on each of the 230 innocent demonstrators. These antagonistic actions by the state signal a dangerous intent to intimidate and discourage future protest from taking place. All charges should be immediately dropped, and the repression should end now.
Astronomical court and lawyer costs, as well as travel and housing expenses place substantial financial hardships on protestors dealing with baseless felony charges. Backing this fund not only supports those who were unjustly arrested, each donation is also an act of solidarity for those directly under threat from the police simply for their political affiliation and public expression of resistance. These cases will likely set a precedent for the way the Trump administration will handle protest throughout his four year term.
Your donation will directly assist those arrested by allowing defendants to alleviate the financial burdens imposed on them from court, lawyer, travel, and housing costs.