#WEFIGHT2BREATHE is not a formal or traditional organization, but a campaign against police brutality and the repeated murder of Black people by police all over the United States. Our supporters include political and social justice activists in Harlem, New York in addition to concerned and outraged brothers and sisters who have declared, “Enough is Enough,” after witnessing escalating acts of police using excessive and deadly force against members of our community nationwide.
We support and encourage the role of traditional Black organizations (so long as they are effective and genuine). Yet we recognize that the emergence of the Internet and social media networks have eliminated some of the bureaucracy and challenges of traditional organizations. We are now living in a time where concerned individuals can act decisively on a mass level and have great impact without the cumbersome and time-consuming challenges of developing group consensus, approving budgets, appeasing a board of directors, or a need to validate one media-recognized celebrity leader to advocate for all Black people/interests. The name of our campaign is inspired by the last agonizing words spoken by NYC resident Eric Garner before police choked and killed him…. “I can’t breathe.” These tragic words inspired a protest call by the same name heard around the country by outraged protesters.
In a society that devalues Black life, and that constantly threatens our survival, we proclaim that #WEFIGHT2BREATHE. We take this to mean that we are part of the movement to actively protest and resist police brutality against Black people, and to remind ourselves that our survival and freedom will not come from moral reasoning with those who oppress us, but from sustained protest and resistance to such people and forces. This campaign is a NONVIOLENT direct action campaign that seeks to encourage, support, and participate in peaceful protest activities that oppose police brutality.
NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST
We are inspired and impressed by the sea of protests around the United States challenging the unfair and racist decisions not to indict the killers of Mike Brown and Eric Garner. We are taking our stand and making our contribution by calling for a National Day of Protest on January 19, 2015. This date is meaningful, being that it is the Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday. We can think of no better day to conduct a nationwide protest against injustice. We encourage young people to participate and play an active part in this protest and learn to appreciate the activities and legacy of Dr. King himself. As students are out of school and many parents have a day off from work, this date helps to increase maximum participation throughout the country.
At 1:30pm Eastern Standard Time, we request that Black people and others in every United States city wear all-black, assemble at their local City Hall building, and coordinate marches, rallies, and/or die-ins to protest police brutality. We respect the authority and ability of local leadership and organizers, and we know variables like weather or police actions will affect your plans. We trust you will provide the leadership needed to make this day a success in your respective cities. All we ask is that the protest, march, rally, or die-in be peaceful, well-attended, occur at City Hall, and begin at 1:30pm Eastern Standard Time. Larger cities will have several sites of power. In NYC for example, it might be effective to conduct protests at City Hall, One Police Plaza, and the United Nations complex.
EDUCATING YOUR COMMUNITY
Many of the people you’ll be recruiting to this protest will not be seasoned and experienced activists. Some have never protested before, and know little about the issue of police brutality other than what they see on the news. Therefore we encourage you to educate them on the issue during the weeks leading up to the National Day of Protest. Teach-ins should occur in your local churches, community centers, and even in homes. This site offers excellent sources of teaching about police brutality including poetry, video clips, timelines, and pamphlets. Speaking of unfair and abusive police or law enforcement, you might encourage people to sign the petition calling on President Obama to drop all criminal charges on Assata Shakur!
You will also want to emphasize that this is a peaceful protest. Caution against members of your community taunting cops, throwing things at them, or hitting them. Also remind them that this is not about looting stores or burning property. Our goal here is to make a united and powerful statement against unfair and excessive police force in our communities. Protests like this can force mayors, city councils and police to the table to negotiate effective reforms and better policing policies.
WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VOICE!
The presence of YouTube offers exciting and creative ways to interact with our community. We want to hear what you have to say about police murdering and assaulting Black people in this country. We’d love for people all over the country to record brief YouTube/Instagram videos stating your first name, what city, state you represent, and your thoughts about why we should fight to breathe. Make sure to include #WEFIGHT2BREATHE as a hashtag in the description or on the video itself, and leave a link to your video at our Facebook page.
WHAT ARE WE DEMANDING?
Disjointed protests are not as effective as coordinated protest movements. It is not enough to simply protest without an agenda. What exactly do we want or hope to achieve? The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has developed an excellent set of demands, which all serious police brutality activists should seriously use and refer to.