Photo cred: The International Business times
This past Tuesday was a day to remember for the people of Baltimore City. A city council meeting [that was set up for the purpose of discussing a one year mandatory minimum sentencing for those who carry a gun in a public space], was interrupted, shut down and demolished. Why was it interrupted? Why did the people become so upset during the “hearing”? It was because our voices were muted, and we couldn’t take any more of the lies, deceit and confusion. Our voices were suppressed for two and a half hours, as we waited patiently to be heard. We had heard from senators and delegates, chairs of this committee, and chairs of that committee. We had to listen to every single member of the judiciary and legislative investigations committee and then some. Eventually, we became frustrated and we let them know what people power looks like. The judiciary and legislative investigations committee at City Hall was put on notice, and this isn’t the beginning…. but it is also nowhere near the end.
Baltimore, we have a problem. This problem goes beyond the bill that was written. This problem goes beyond the city council members. This problem goes beyond City Hall in general. This problem even goes beyond the Baltimore City Police Department. This problem is a national problem, and it is that Black people are not supposed to scream when they are in pain. It is that Black people are not supposed to show some sort of emotion when legislation is passed [or even thought about], that we know for certain hurt our communities. It is that Black people are supposed to “just bend over and take it.”
Writer, journalist and radio broadcaster Mumia Abu-Jamal says so eloquently, “Do you see law and order? There is nothing but disorder, and instead of law there is the illusion of security. It is an illusion because it is built on a long history of injustices: racism, criminality, and the genocide of millions. Many people say it is insane to resist the system, but actually, it is insane not to.” He also said, “Politics is the art of making the people believe that they are in power, when in fact, they have none.” Taking these two quotes into account, one should feel empowered, to stand up, petition our government and have our voices heard.
City Hall puts up a good front when people who have the power, don’t exercise their power. If nobody with the REAL power speaks out and puts them in check, OF COURSE they are going to exercise their fake power. And they’ll do so with no intention of stopping.
No more attending City Council “hearings” where the people [many of which took off of work, school, etc. just to attend the meeting] are forced to wait hours on hours before we can be heard. No more having to “wait our turn”, when in reality if we don’t speak up, we won’t have a turn. No more political correctness. No more respectability politics. No more no more no more!
When we are silenced, we speak louder. When we are ignored, we speak louder. We speak louder.
There was a few arrests in response to the way that we [finally] decided to take charge, and they are all faced with various charges, so I will not go into detail about the specific happenings. But I WILL say that I commend them for standing up, showing up and showing out for those who couldn’t be physically be there. At times, it can feel discouraging. It can feel like nothing is working, and that we’re just running in circles. But we need to remember that our shouts echo, our stomping carries weight, and our resistance bears value. We may not see it NOW, but if we continue and if we persist, I believe that demons will tremble and strongholds will be released.
Now, regardless if the results of the hearing were predetermined before we arrived, [which I firmly believe], we STILL made it known that we were not playing with them. There is ALWAYS something to say, there is ALWAYS a point that needs to be made. Some people who attended the meeting weren’t even there for the bill per say, but were there to let their councilmembers know that if they keep up, they’ll be removed. To me, it’s not even about WHY you are there, or how on topic you are. If it is indeed the people’s building that we have paid for with our tax dollars, then we need to start controlling the pace and direction of these meetings!
The bill has been altered so much since we first heard about it, that I am convinced that they are all at the drawing board now trying to figure out what to do next. Or maybe not. But regardless, we will be right there waiting and watching, as I know [and I’m sure you do too] that this thing is far from over.
Forward together, not one step back! In solidarity.
WBAL Journalist Jayne Miller’s video of the initial incident provoked by Baltimore Police.
A Twitter thread from Baltimore Bloc Member discussing the actions of the chair of the Judiciary and Legistlative Investigations committee, Eric Costello.
A video via Twitter of Baltimore Police Sgt. Thompson who is responsible for wrongfully arresting protestors well within their first amendment rights. He is also being sued for illegally arresting 65 people [at one time] last July.