Activists March Against Police Violence In Chicago
Getty Images

Grassroots Groups In Chicago Agree: "Abolish The Police"

Young millennials are envisioning safer communities without the institution.

Young millennial activists are weary of state violence enacted by the police; however, in Chicago, instead of enacting liberal reform by way of body cameras and training, they are calling for an overhaul of the institution and embracing an explicitly abolitionist perspective, in an exclusive piece by the Chicago Reader.

Jessica Disu, a Chicago resident who calls herself a "humanitarian rap artist and peace activist," openly challenged the idea of repairing a "broken system" by boldly proclaiming on FOX News in a special TV program hosted by Megyn Kelly, "Here's a solution. We need to abolish the police."

A herald of disapproving boos, denouncements, and anger ensued from the audience at Disu's brave political pronouncement.

"Abolish the police?" came Kelly's shocked reply.

"Demilitarize the police, disarm the police," Disu stated firmly. "We need to come up with community solutions for transformative justice."

"Our police is not working—we need to replace it with something new," she told the audience. "It's more than a repair. We need something new."

Disu remains undeterred by anti-Black insults and threats that she's endured since she openly called for police abolition on national television. She makes the connection of objection over abolition to that of past refusal to end enslavement in the United States. "I'm sure when someone first said, 'We have to abolish slavery,' it was like, whoa, that's the stupidest idea, we're making all of this money off of free labor, and you're saying abolish? Like, that sounds ridiculous."' (Only a small number of people in the antebellum south believed that slavery would be abolished; most of the population favored a "benevolent" reformist movement of the institution or doubted that slavery would ever be abolished.)

The police, as also stated by Disu, began as a form of slave patrol. "The institution of slavery and the control of minorities were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities," explains researcher Victor E. Kappoler. "For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans, the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols. In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation's first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property."

The practice of police abolition came about in conjunction with the prison abolition movement in the 1960s and 1970s, with front-runners like former Black Panther Party member Angela Davis, who viewed the prison system as obsolete, violent, and inefficient in resolving what was an outcome of political, economic, and social repression. Davis was put on trial for aiding a courtroom hostage incident, led by Jonathan Jackson, in 1970. After her acquittal, the movement for prison abolition took off, and was mostly led by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous women.

Chicago activists and organizers are continuing the legacy of Davis by prison abolitionist work, and now most recently this summer, police abolition work, due to one specific person. Mariame Kaba, an organizer originally from New York City, came to Chicago in the mid 1990s to do graduate school work, growing up with a "collectivist" and "Black nationalist framework" after being raised by a Guinean father and a Senegalese mother. She hopes to build community institutions dealing with drug addiction, mental illness, and "other social problems" that will one day one day "make the police unnecessary". Her presence in the city deeply influenced the new generations politics and views towards abolition.

Kaba insists that police abolition and prison abolition is not simply about "destruction and anarchy", but about building alternatives outside of the current system that exists. "You can't just focus on what you don't want, you have to focus also on what you do want. The world you want to live in is also a positive project of creating new things."

This summer, millennial community organizations in Chicago such as Assata's Daughters, BYP100, and Seeds Of Autonomy have organized protests, sit-ins, and radical actions in favor of radically envisioning safer neighborhoods by promoting community accountability and transformative justice. Most recently, the Let Us Breathe Collective has staged an occupation on the city's west side in North Lawndale, right across from the infamous "black site" called Homan Square, in which Chicago Police Department illegally disappeared and tortured "suspects". The Collective transformed their campsite into a beautiful organizing space, naming it, "Freedom Square". As a community, they abide by being present, being helpful, being generous, and being transformed as liberatory principles.

"We're imagining a world without police," said Camesha Jones, 24, of Bronzeville, during a protest last month. "The city of Chicago has spent (millions) of dollars because of police misconduct settlements. I'm here to imagine a world where that money would be spent on education, mental health, to open school, clinics, create jobs."

These young millennials are making Black lives, community, and revolution happen—without police.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Trailblazing Hip-Hop Journalist Dee Barnes Reveals That She’s Homeless

Pioneering hip-hop journalist Dee Barnes is "officially homeless." Barnes recently launched a GoFundMe account and the public has already exceeded her $5,000 goal by donating more than $9,000 and counting.

“Standing in our own truth not the definitions or the expectations is powerful, and this is my TRUTH,” Barnes wrote on her GoFundMe page. “This page was created as an emergency fund to stop the process and the subsequent legal fees. Even though I am facing extreme financial hardship, I keep my head up.

“I know who I am, I know my worth and I know I'm not alone,” she added. “Everyone is dealing with their own different struggles. Some of us less fortunate than others. It may sound cliche but things will turn around in your favor, this is the balance of life ups and downs, so stay strong, and count your blessings, not your problems.” The former Pump It Up! host ended the post with a show of gratitude for everyone’s “love and support.”

Barnes, who became the first female hip-hop journalist with her own television show, also opened up about her predicament in an interview with Hip-Hop DX. “What made me finally say enough I’m going to ask for help is that quote, ‘You can overcome anything in life, but you must first be willing to live in your truth,’” she said before recounting how being assaulted by Dr. Dre in 1990 led to a strong show of public support that inspired her current crowdfunding effort.

“I had never asked for public help before, but I then remembered a long time ago while I was going through the assault trial in 1991 people were sending me checks for my legal fees. I never cashed any of them — not one — but knowing I had that support kept me strong enough to continue to face each court date, she revealed. “Right now, I am officially homeless. My goal with the campaign is to regain stability, which is imperative for survivors of any trauma.”

According to the U.S. Department of Housing, more than half a million people in the U.S. are battling homelessness. As of 2018, California has the nation's highest homeless population with more than 129,000 people in need of permanent shelter. New York is in second place with a homeless population of more than 90,000 people, followed by Florida, Texas, and Washington.

 

Continue Reading
Richard Levine

Report: Jehovah's Witness Community Kept Secret List Of Child Molesters

The Jehovah's Witness community is reportedly being investigated for allegedly keeping a secret database that listed thousands of "undocumented" child molesters within the community, The Atlantic reports.

According to the latest report, the information was obtained after the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, which serves as the head of the Jehovah's Witness organization, sent a survey to its 10,883 U.S. Kingdom Halls seeking information about members of the community accused of sexual abuse in 1997. The survey was reportedly comprised of 12 questions, including how the community viewed the alleged abusers, whether the abuse was a one-time occurrence, and more.

The responses were then mailed back to the Watchtower in a blue envelope and scanned into a Microsoft SharePoint. It was never shared with the police, however.

In 2014, a man filed a lawsuit against the Watchtower, claiming he was molested by a Jehovah's Witness leader in 1986. During that case, the Watchtower disclosed that its U.S. headquarters had received 775 blue envelopes from 1997 to 2001.

In 2012, Candace Conti, a former member of the community, was awarded $28 million by a jury after claiming a man she worked with for a community service project sexually abused her when she was nine and group leaders ignored her because of the  "two-witness rule."

According to The Atlantic, the organization's "two-witness rule" requests that two people bare witness to the crime being alleged. "Barring a confession, no member of the organization can be officially accused of committing a sin without two credible eyewitnesses who are willing to corroborate the accusation," the rule states. Critics have said that the rule makes it easier for child molesters to abuse kids.  

According to estimates, the number of accused Jehovah's Witness child molesters listed in the secret database could range from 18,000 to 23,000. It's unclear how police are proceeding in light of the new report.

Continue Reading
Ethan Miller

Report: Streaming Services Account For 93 Percent Of Latin Music's Revenue

A new report by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) found that streaming is now making up 93 percent of Latin music’s total revenue in the U.S., Billboard reports. This amount is in comparison to the 75 percent made of all other genres in total in the U.S. by the various streaming platforms available. It’s estimated that now Latin music currently accounts for 4.2 percent of the total $9.8 billion dollars of the music business in the U.S. The figure has increased since last year, which stood at 4 percent.

"Latin music’s transformation from a physical-based business to a streaming driven one is even faster than the overall U.S. music market’s turnaround," reads the 2018 Latin music revenue report. Most of the revenue comes from paid subscriptions, which make up a total of 58 percent of the genre’s revenue.

These paid subscriptions all come from music/content streaming services like Amazon Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Apple Music, which all grew 48 percent year by year. Ultimately, the growth generated a cool $239 million. Revenue from other ad-driven platforms like YouTube and Vevo garnered a total of 34 percent, which made $93 million. The sub-category made Latin music 24 percent in revenue, which is three times larger than the average eight percent made off the U.S. general market.

The artists whom helped push forward the genre digitally within the last year have been: Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J.Balvin and Karol G, among others. "Overall, the Latin music market is showing signs of strength again," the report stated. "We are excited for the next chapter of this comeback story."

Continue Reading

Top Stories