"Each generation, coming out of obscurity, must define its mission and fulfill or betray it." Frantz Fanon - The Wretched of the Earth”
Justice for Robert Mitchell & Peace Zones for Life
May 22, 2009 7:32
Boggs Board and DCOH friends,
Last evening was an historic event. For the first time in my life, the paradigm shift from protest and opposition to transformation, resistance and alternatives occurred in the presence of 150 to 200 people (many young and most from the community) as people marched from the park to the home where Robert was killed, to 8 mile, into Warren and then returned.
This is my understanding and may not be based upon a larger historical context. I remember marching with We Pros and Save our Sons and Daughter against violence, Down with Dope and Up with Hope in the 1980s. I remember planting tress in front of the homes or at the sites of where people had been killed by violence.
This event has emerged from the "tenacity" and dedication of a group of people struggling against police brutality for more than a decade and came to the conclusion that there was a need to create community and peace zones for life while working for justice in and accountability.
Ron, the coalition, friends and the family of Robert Mitchell did something different on this day: May 21, 2009.
The Demands were clear:
Justice for Robert Mitchel
Create a Detroit-Warren Peace Zone for Life
End the use of Tassers
Prosecution the POlice Officers
The tone was set by Ron, Scott, Sandra and Yuseef Shaku (from Hush House) who said: put the neighbor back in the hood, this is about life, ending the anger, becoming and creating community, caring for each other. This was truly about "ending the war on Mack" and also making it clear to the authorities that the communities of Detroit and Warren would take responsibility for creating peace, ending the violence and ending the police brutality. This was about a community saying: "we are responsible to make the change" and we will turn our pain and tragedy into community building ,transformation so our children and young people have a future.
The leadership by the family, Cora Renee Mitchell (mother of Robert) who has worked on her own painful journey and the support of other families who have had been victims of police violence or community violence came to support this event. This was a space where voices of life and dedication and hope were heard.
In the process of the march, the chants changed and the paradigm changed.
While some folks chanted:
"No Justice! No Peace" the group also chanted:
What do we want? Justice!
What do we need? Peace!
Peace Zones for Life! Peace Zones for Life!
Put the neighbor back in the hood!--
There were organizations present, NAACP, Lawyers Guild, Green Party, Young Democrats, President of Local 909 (came out on crutches to speak) Rep, from Conyers office, a large group of young people who were playing basketball joined the march. We needed a few more young people to speak or rap or do some spoken. Andrew met a young woman from the community who has been part of City Year. Barbara and Larry were also present. Larry suggested that we make up signs: Justice for Robert Mitchell: Create Detroit Warren Peace Zones for Life Posters: Peace Zone for Life- and place them in the front windows of homes.
As Ron pointed out on an early morning phone call, there was no mention of race (except the BAMN signs) but the fact that folks know in their heart hat racism exists, know about the history of Warren Police, this was about Justice that could only come about through transforming ourselves, becoming more human, ending the violence, creating different ways and tools for people to care for each other. Robert Mitchell's mother said: Stop running from the cops, end the B&E's, let's take care of each other.
The DCOH Banner lead the march through the community. To have a banner that says; Detroit City of Hope (we need one that says: Create Peace Zones for Life- added to this historic day.
I was honored and humbled by the mothers, the teens, the young people and the friends that came out for this gathering.
May 19th was Malcom's birthday and both Malolm and Martin would be honored to see that we are all works in progress and we all are working to change ourselves, create community and do the hard work necessary to show that
Another Detroit is Happening!
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August 13, 2010