On Saturday, June 14, 2008, marches and rallies in at least 2 boroughs
in New York City took place. The rallies were called for by Bishop Lester
Williams, Pastor of the Bell family. It was during a rally at the National
Action Network headquarters (NAN) on Saturday, May 24, 2008, that Bishop
Williams informed us that with the consent of the Bell family, these
borough rallies and marches should be implemented. The announcement
was made on Rev. Sharpton’s radio program. Afterward in the office
of Rev. Sharpton, we further refined and expanded the idea. There would
be a place of assemblage at 11am then a march to a site where the rallies
would take place – both places would be determined by the leadership
in each borough. Bishop Williams would take Queens. I would do Brooklyn.
The leadership in other boroughs was to be decided. In the meeting were
Bishop Williams, Attorney Michael Hardy, Mr. Bell, Rev. Sharpton and
I. In addition to the marches and rallies, 3 other actions were discussed:
Traffic tie-up by the bike riders. (Which took place
on May 30th)
Civil disobedience by elected officials. Both of these
actions were scheduled the same week. I suggested that the civil disobedience
should take place the week after the tie up, thus, continuing to keep
the pressure on.
All-star game disruption. Rev. Sharpton suggested an
action at the all-star game, which is scheduled for July 15th. It marks
the 75th year for the games. Mayor Bloomberg and the major league commissioner,
Bud Selig, announced that the games would be played at Yankee Stadium.
Sharpton is reported to have said later, that the action “ would
be very dramatic.” He did not indicate what the action would be.
It would be a symbolic gesture. Sean Bell was an excellent baseball
player, with aspirations of becoming a professional.
The following weeks we continued to meet and plan. We sharpened tactics
that were already planned and brainstormed in search of new and different
actions. Evaluation and planning meetings were/are Saturday, 11am at
NAN and Thursday, 7pm at the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic
Avenue in Brooklyn.
From the day of civil disobedience, May 7, 2008, to the Father’s
Day march and rally, various actions were implemented in the name of
Sean Bell. It is questionable whether the Bell family sanctioned all
of these actions. Among the notable actions was the Tri-Level Legislative
Task Force that includes the Bell family, co-chaired by Representative
Gregory Meeks and state Senator Malcolm Smith. On Sunday, June 8, 2008,
at a press conference at City Hall, a report on “Improving Public
Confidence in Law Enforcement in our Criminal Justice System,”
was introduced. The 32-page report underscores 15 suggestions that the
Task Force demands implementation by the New York Police Department.
These suggestions include, Money for police training, drug testing of
officers, video tapping of police during questionable incidences, legislation
to authorize state attorney general to investigate and prosecute alleged
criminal offensive committed by police officers in the performance of
their official duties. Also they want the Divisions of State Police
to protect a crime scene where allegations of police abuse are involved.
On Friday, June 13, 2008, State Senator Eric Adam held a rally at Lafayette
Church in Brooklyn. The report was highlighted to a crowded church.
Another group, the Harlem Revolutionary Club, marched through Harlem
on Thursday. The stated objective was to conduct weekly marches every
Thursday throughout the city. They have held rallies in Union Square
and then marched to City Hall. The most dramatic march was throughout
Jamaica Queens. Another group, the Street Organizers, have also marched
through Harlem and held rallies at Madison Square and the theater district.
On Saturday, June 14, 2008, our march and rally started at the House
of the Lord Church. We gathered at 10am. As is our custom, prior to
the commencement of our march, there are speeches instructions, videos,
DVDs of past struggles, events and programs, all designed to educate
and motivate. We departed the church at 11:30am marching along Atlantic
Avenue making a right on Boreum Place or Brooklyn Bridge Blvd. As we
marched, we shouted the name of Sean Bell, “What do you want?
Justice, When do you want it, now!” “No justice, No peace.”
We ended up at the Borough President Plaza and held our rally at Columbus
Circle, a small cement enclosed circle with trees and shrubbery and
flowers. Behind us was the Brooklyn Borough President’s office;
in front of us was the Saturday’s Farmers Market, primarily of
fruits and vegetables. To our right was the Brooklyn Supreme Court.
It is the main reason that we chose this site. We wanted to call attention
to the injustice in the Criminal Justice System.
Councilman Charles Barron and I were the speakers. Councilman Barron
said, “The football player Michael Vic was sentenced to jail for
dog fighting, Wesley Snips was convicted and sentenced for tax evasion,
yet, police officers killed Sean Bell and wounded Trent Benefied and
Joe Guzman and they are freed. They were justified. Where is the justice?”
After recounting a list of police killings across the years, I related
how May 7th, I was brutally arrested even though I had come to be arrested.
This was done with the world watching, (the audience nodded signifying
that they had seen the action on television). Can you imagine what happens
to young black men who the police think have acted criminally in Bed
Stuy, say around 3am in the morning? Also, I pointed out how a detective
broke into a walk that was being conducted from the Kalua Club to where
Sean Bell was killed. Guzman was showing and telling Congressman John
Conyers how it all happened. The Bell family was present along with
supporters and elected officials. It is as though this officer had broken
in a funeral procession. He could have communicated with the Congressman
via email, telephone, regular mail, or fax, he chose, rather, to disrupt
a grieving entourage with his presence. (Police officers did meet with
Congressman Conyers later.) Both these actions, I emphasized, demonstrate
dramatically, the insensitivity and utter disrespect for black humanity
by members of the Police Department.
While the crowd was small, the quality was large. We attracted a lot
of passersby’s and shoppers. We returned to the church, evaluated
our actions and considered what we would do next.
Attend the Timbuktu Learning Center’s weekly Thursday Night Community
Forums. All Forums are held at the House of the Lord Church from 7pm
Join Operation Life Line if you need assistance or know someone who
needs assistance with their mortgages as it relates to foreclosures,
predatory lending and/or subprime lending.
Attend NRLAA’s monthly forum Focus on Africa the 2nd Saturday
from 2pm to 4pm.
Organizing Meetings regarding Darfur every Thursday - 12noon @ the House
of the Lord Church
Keep abreast of our Darfurian activities by checking our web page @
HYPERLINK "http://www.holnj.org" www.holnj.org.
On June 19–20, 2008, in honor of Juneteenth, The Downtown Brooklyn
Neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) will host its Annual Emancipation Day Celebration.
At 12noon on the 20th there will be an Unveiling & Dedication of
a Plaque marking the stop on the Underground Railroad at the Old Bridge
Street Church, which served as a safe house for runner away slaves.
Many invited guest speakers. A Luncheon (invitation only) will follow
with Dr. Adelaide Sanford as the keynote speaker. At 7pm, there will
be a musical concert, free to the public, at the House of the Lord Church
featuring The House of the Lord Anointed Voices, the renowned singer,
Minister Lawrence Craig, Bishop Nathaniel Townsley & The Gospel
Jubilee and many others. Dinner will start at 5pm (No cost with reservation).
Contact Peggy Iman Washington, the Program Coordinator, @ (718) 596-1991
or (718) 797-2184.
On Thursday, June 19, 2008, @ 7pm, Dr. Adelaide Sanford will be the
keynote speaker at our Timbuktu Learning Center regular Thursday night
session held at the House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.
On Saturday, June 28, 2008 at 2pm the 30th Annual Randolph Evans Memorial
Scholarship Awards Ceremony and Reception will be held at the House
of the Lord Church. Congresswoman Yvette Clarke will be the keynote
On Sunday June 29, 2008, Rev. Dawnique Daughtry-Pemberton, Pastor of
the House of the Lord Church of Bergen County in Englewood, NJ will
be the guest preacher at the 12 noon Worship Service at the House of
the Lord Church, located at 415 Atlantic Avenue
NEED QUALITY CHILD CARE? – Call the Alonzo A. Daughtry Memorial
Daycare Center Located at 333 Second Street, (Between 4th & 5th
Avenues) downtown Brooklyn, NY @ (718) 499-2066. Immediate openings
in a state of the arts center.