In response to the St Petersburg Police Department committing a series of brutal crimes against the African community, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement is organizing to stop this violence and demand justice and reparations from the city of St. Pete.
Below is a statement by the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the organization of white people and other allies working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, expressing our solidarity with InPDUM and the struggle to put an end to the vicious public policy of police containment in the African community.
St Pete police wreaking havoc in the African community
Under the command of a white nationalist mayor by the name of Bill Foster, a group of armed thugs wearing badges and blue uniforms is causing havoc in the black community of south St. Petersburg. They are known as the St. Petersburg Police Department.
On July 24, 2012 in St. Petersburg, FL, the reckless St. Pete police chased four young African men in a high speed pursuit that ended in a violent car crash injuring at least four bystanders. The four Africans were arrested. The police faced no charges.
This was not the first time the police had done this in the black community. Another recent police chase ended with several injuries and the crash of a bus into an apartment in Jordan Park. In January, the police chased a car in which a passenger, Kenneth Davis, died when the chase ended in a horrific crash.
We believe it is high time for us in the white community to break our silence about the terror that is being waged against the African community by the St. Petersburg Police Department under mayor Foster. Foster is infamous for his virulently anti-black agenda.
The role of the police: “serve and protect” this unjust system
Often in the white community, we see the police in totally different way from how the black community sees them. Many white people think of the police as the keepers of the peace who are there to serve and protect us from the black man. We imagine the smiling police officer helping our grandmother across the street, or rescuing our kitty cat from the tree.
In the African community, the experience of the police is completely different.
Never in the white community does a police officer follow you to your home and stalk you in your front yard, demanding that you let them search your car for drugs.
This is commonplace in the African community.
When an African person drives and sees the red and blue flashing lights in their rear-view mirror, and hears the blaring sound of the police siren, they immediately know that there is a possibility that those might be last things that they ever see or hear.
They know that being stopped by the police means that more often than not that they are going to be harassed, beaten, arrested, tasered, or murdered.
This is what happened when the St. Pete police destroyed the lives of Javon Dawson, Marquell McCullough, Tyron Lewis, and so many other young Africans.
We must ask the question: Why do the police serve and protect white people, but terrorize and murder black people?
The reactionary mayor wants us to believe that the police are attacking Africans to “stop crime.” This of course is nothing but a white nationalist lie. The police and the state-sponsored media use the criminalization of the African community to justify their attacks on African people.
In the above mentioned case of the four Africans arrested after a police chase, the police claim they were arrested in connection to a series of home burglaries.
We are talking about a city in which the African community faces a 70 percent poverty rate, with a mere 21 percent graduation rate for black males, and with 50 percent unemployment rates for African youth.
The fact is 75 percent of African men in this country will be arrested and jailed before the age of 36, regardless of their actions, in a system that arrests black men six times more often than white men.
Time to face the truth about who the real criminals are
As white people, we must face the truth about why the African community is starving and impoverished. Who is the real thief?
The thief sits in tree-lined communities on LAND STOLEN from the Indigenous people who were massacred and forced into concentration camps called reservations. The thief has lived off the blood and sweat of black people, stealing hundreds of years of labor that built this country.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party reveals the thief’s true face, stating, “You cannot respect your oppressor at all. When this begins to happen, you can see that young brother or young sister standing before some judge and being told that he is charged with stealing such and such a thing, and you can see this young African looking this thug in the eye, and saying, ‘I know who the REAL thief is. Because everything you’ve got— the suburb that you live in, the tree-lined community that you go to safely everyday– has come as a consequence of what you have stolen from MY people, from ME. You have inherited the wealth that was created by my mama, my grandmama, and I’m gonna take it back no matter what you do.'”
The thief is us, the European.
White nationalist mayor Bill Foster must go!
If we genuinely recognize who the real criminals are, then we will demand the arrest of mayor Bill Foster.
It was Foster who illegally ordered the demolition of Hydra Lacy’s house, destroying the evidence of what happened in that house after four cops were killed and Lacy was murdered.
After the destruction of Lacy’s home and life, the entire African community of south St. Petersburg was put under martial law. Armored vehicles, police helicopters, homeland security vehicles, and assault weapon brandishing police officers stalked and preyed on the streets of south St .Pete.
Every Sunday in the Uhuru House on 1245 18th Avenue South, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement has held public meetings to address this ongoing problem.
In these meetings, Africans have come forward to report on their horrific encounters with the St. Pete Police. An African woman recounted of being forced against the side of her car with a taser placed against her neck. Multiple young African men spoke of being pulled over and given tickets for “driving past a stop sign” on street corners that did not have even have stop signs placed on or anywhere near them.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela has spoken at these meetings, where he has explained that the police are agents of the State, an organization of repression designed to maintain the status quo of a social system split between the exploited and the exploiter.
Under this unjust system, there exists a parasitic relationship between the white population and the oppressed African community. The general white population enjoys wealth and security at the expense of terror and poverty imposed on the black community.
This is the system of colonialism. Clearly, it is a problem that goes deeper than “racism.”
If we assume the problem is “racism”, then what is the solution? To change the ideas in the minds of the cops?
Surely there is no shortage of “sensitivity trainings” and “diversity workshops” that the cops have to go through before they hit the streets of the black community with their guns, tasers and batons. This does not change the conditions faced by African people.
The problem is colonialism.
Africans are an oppressed nation suffering under colonial domination by a foreign, hostile entity known as the United States government.
This has been the case ever since African people were captured from their homeland and brought to this land in chains, subject to the colonial rule of their slave masters– the same slave masters who are today celebrated as the “founding fathers” of the the United States of America.
Colonialism also attacks African people through the economic system, a parasitic system that thrives on the exploitation of African labor and resources. One example is the sub-prime mortgage scheme which deliberately targeted African homeowners and resulted in the greatest loss of African wealth since slavery.
The City of St. Pete, the bankers on Wall Street, and the whole US government owe reparations to African people.
As Chairman Omali Yeshitela and Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee have said, the general white population owes reparations as well, because all white people sit on the pedestal of the oppression of African people.
We call on white people to face the truth about racial injustice in the City of St Pete, in the US and throughout the world.
We call on white people to take off the blinders of white nationalism and start to look at the world through the eyes of the oppressed African working class, who are organizing to resist these conditions and to build a better future without oppression and exploitation.
Come to the weekly rallies of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Sundays at 4PM EST at the Uhuru House 1245 18th Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL.
Join the campaign for A Day in Solidarity with African People!