By the October 22 Fresno Committee
The 19th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation in Fresno will occur on Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the northeast corner of N and Mariposa streets across from the Fresno Police Headquarters. This year’s call to gather brings police brutality to the world’s attention after the people of Ferguson, Mo., defied the police force’s orders not to protest the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed young Black man who was about to begin college.
The city quickly became a war zone, using the National Guard and numerous military weapons against the people who were peaceful while protesting. The decades of racist abuse, criminalization and police terror at the hands of this system, which the National Day of Protest was founded to oppose in every city and town, came crashing against fearless resistance from the very people it seeks to control, inspiring justice-seeking people not only nationwide but also around the world.
This year, in big cities and small towns, in the face of repression, police brutality, mass incarceration and the criminalization of youth we say, “Let the spirit of Ferguson ignite hearts nationwide with an uncompromising passion for justice!”
Here in Fresno, some pastors chose to gather at Fresno City College to offer prayers and support to the people of Ferguson. Several of them traveled to Ferguson to march in prayer and for peace. Later, they chose to do “community policing” workshops.
Others like us chose not to join the police on “criminalizing more of our neighbors” and refused to participate in the community policing workshops. Instead, we will continue to stand with the Fresno families who lost their children to the Fresno police.
We joined the families by protesting and almost got arrested for demanding to get a meeting with the mayor and the chief of police. Meetings have occurred, and the community demanded that police get more training in de-escalation and cultural sensitivity when approaching people, as well as access to police policies and procedures to ensure they align with constitutional law, such as the use of body cameras, and that officers adhere to their own policies to avoid using lethal force.
Some of us have been with the Oct. 22 coalition since its inception 19 years ago. We continue to push back against the ingrained system of police brutality and repeat shooters who continue to work within the Fresno Police Department.