New York is Baltimore and Baltimore is New York.

When I read on OWS’s Facebook page that there was a rally at 6pm tonight in solidarity with Baltimore, I was totally there. I couldn’t be there for long because I had therapy on the UES at 7pm, but I hung around, chanted, chatted, lent my energy, and took this photo from the second floor of Barnes & Nobles before leaving. 

The protest was mainly contained in the area near 17th Street but for some reason the NYPD had corralled the ENTIRETY of the park. Talk about fire hazard. (NYPD, I’m sure your guys could’ve been used much better, say, in Bed Stuy, where someone was probably getting stabbed.)

I so, so wish I could be with the protesters in Times Square right now, but hey, mental health maintenance is important too. I’m staying glued to the StopMotionSolo Live Stream and occasionally checking in on the MSNBC live stream (ya know, just incase they report actual news).

str8nochaser:

the fact that the police union president is using terms like “wartime police force” should scare the shit out of you. it really should. everyone out there protesting, they are going to use this killing as justification to escalate their response to any and every perceived slight. they have already said the words “the voices of these protestors must be silenced.” 

do not allow them to silence you, but please, please be careful. protect yourselves and each other

Exact thoughts. This NYPD has been a “wartime police force” ever since it was given arrest quotas to fill. I’m no fan of the NYPD in many instances (especially recently), but what happened to two innocent police officers last night is horrific. But sitting back and watching the union and assholes everywhere blame De Blasio and the protesters is absolutely disgusting. They didn’t pull the trigger. The protests have been 98% peaceful. Go turn your hate into prayers and thoughts for the families of those two cops. 

The point of the protests has not been to kill anyone, but to demand reform. Demand the firing of blatantly racist cops and demand that cops who kill unarmed citizens be brought the justice. No, not death of anyone. The killer was from out of town and a crazy person.  I haven’t read one report that he’d been to a protest this entire time. De Blasio was speaking honestly about his experiences with his son. His son is half black so yes, he has to be careful. More careful than, say, a white kid from Long Island. The truth hurts to hear sometimes, but it was the truth and it needed to be said. I’m glad our mayor had the guts to say it. 

Losing these two lives was just as senseless and unnecessary as Eric Garner losing his. Maybe if both sides could admit that, we could come to the table and start a discussion and make sure this never happens on either side again. 

Millions March NYC, December 13th, 2014

Yesterday was the Millions March in NYC. There were 45,000 RSVP’s on the Facebook page but you know how RSVP’s to events on Facebook usually go.

But they showed up. At least 30,000, if not closer to 40,000 showed up, to protest the unjust killings of unarmed civilians everywhere in the country. I met Ben down in Washington Square Park which was filled with thousands of people already and then we started marching near the front (the front being like, the first 300-ish people). We marched up Fifth Avenue to 14th street, up to 32nd Street, I believe, and then back down Broadway through Union Square, NYUville (the east village), through Soho and Chinatown, and finally to 1 Police Plaza. It was also the dreaded day of SantaCon. We were only in midtown briefly, and most of the Santa’s were supportive, some even gave up the crawl and marched, or ignored us all together. Along the way the police showed maximum restraint. I didn’t see one arrest. Thanks, De Blasio! 

Around 30th street, we stopped to use a restroom where I saw two drunk white Santa bros talking at a very calm black man about “how the police are just trying to help you” and how “could he protest against them.” The dude did nothing but listen, occasionally trying to get a word or two in. I got the last few seconds on camera here. I hope they fell off the Staten Island Ferry when they went home that night.

The pause in our marching took a good fifteen minutes as everywhere with bathrooms was packed (see, protests are good for the economy!) and I just watched swarms of people walk by. It was amazing to see. We quickly walked the ten or so blocks to catch up to the front after our break was done.

We made it down to 1 Police Plaza probably around 5:30pm. It was nuts. There was already a crowd of people there to greet us, lots of chanting, lots of news cameras, and, of course, lots of NYPD helicopters overhead (they were overhead the entire time – way to conserve gas, you idiots).

The march was supported by people on the sidewalks and up in windows. There was a woman in her window in the village who looked old enough to probably have been involved with the first Civil Rights Movement. She was clapping us along. It was really amazing to be apart of it. Hopefully it’s just the start. Photos below the cut!

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The [peaceful] insanity in Washington Square Park before the storm. This is a very, very small corner of the park. 

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The very beginning of the march heading up Fifth Avenue from Washington Square Park.

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New School students showing support at their Graduate Faculty building on 14th and 5th. 

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Turning the corner of 14th and 6th Avenue.

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A favorite of mine. So. true. (In Madison Square Park)

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I thought this dude was pretty awesome. (On 17th and Union Square West)

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Support in SoHo.

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The first few thousand at 1 Police Plaza with thousands more streaming in behind us.

It was a good day to try to restore democracy back to America.

Not All 

I don’t know if you’ve turned on the news lately, but we have a very serious problem with the law right now. The problem isn’t the police themselves, it’s the fact that officers who kill unarmed citizens aren’t facing trials. They aren’t losing their jobs. It’s become blatantly clear that the NYPD is above the law and doesn’t need to follow it.

I’ve been to three different protests now (last Wednesday up here, Thursday downtown, and tonight at Barclays), and things are 100% peaceful. Things only go south when the cops (some of them, not all) start riling protesters up. Even the people who are stuck in traffic and can’t move because we are aren’t mad – they’re raising their hands too. They’re smiling. They’re honking their horns and telling us to go get it. 

I love the above video. Probably because it’s set to The Hanging Tree from Mockingjay: Part 1 which I think is extremely relevant right now, but I don’t agree with their point, that we can get along without a justice system, or a police force. I think that’s extreme, and it sounds really silly. What we do need is an overhaul. Cops who are blatantly racist need to be fired, and those who kill unarmed citizens in broad daylight need to be brought to trial, and then probably fired as well.

All of this being said: I know not all cops are bad. Hardly. One of my very dearest girlfriends is married to a wonderful man who happens to be a cop.

I think part of the problem is the ego trip that sometimes accompanies being one of “New York’s Finest,” as well as deep seeded racism. You aren’t born racist, you are taught to be that way. So, like I said before, if there’s a racist cop in a certain precinct, shut it down. Just like you don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch, don’t let one racist cop teach otherwise good and decent cops to be racist. 

On Wednesday night I had wanted to go to Foley Square to march with the protest for the non-indictment of the officer who killed an unarmed man, Eric Garner, in an illegal chokehold. But I had therapy (gotta take care of yourself mentally first before you’re of any good to anyone else). So I went to that first and then came home to watch the livecam of the march. I watched them walk from 52nd to the West Side Highway, get off at 72nd and march north.

I thought they’d be at my door soon after, so I went downstairs to walk, or at least support from the sidelines. But they never made it as high as my street because they were corralled at 105th and Broadway. The NYPD corralled them on both sides of Broadway, made a few arrests, and then walked the rest of them up to 113th between Amsterdam and Columbus, outside of St. Luke’s Hospital. 

I walked with an older gentleman, a lawyer who lives in the neighborhood but is from England, who was appalled at the force the police were using and off we went up Amsterdam. There were cops in riot gear everywhere along Amsterdam, and lots of cop buses, ready to make arrests. I asked one cop on the street where the other protesters were and he said quietly, “113th…" 

The long-time neighborhood residents couldn’t believe what was going on, why the NYPD were doing this to peaceful protesters, and the students of Columbia were out in full support of the protest. There was an NYPD helicopter flying overhead, flying REALLY low, using it’s light to scan the streets for more protesters. 

After about an hour (maybe half an hour?) of the protesters being corralled on 113th, they made an announcement (not that you could hear it – those police bullhorns are the WORST) that they were going to let them all go without arrest.

They then headed up to Harlem, or so I heard.