Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Walk for Dignity Freedom Summer 2013


Bulletin from the #Walk4Dignity, Day One
Monday, 7/22
From Jacksonville, FL to St. Augustine, FL

Support the #WalkforDignity this week by contributing funds for gas, water, food, and medical supplies. Donate at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-walk-for-dignity
The WALK FOR DIGNITY (and to End Genocide), kicked-off its first step toward justice for Trayvon Martin and freedom for Marissa Alexander with the Southern Movement Assembly (SMA) of the Southern Movement Alliance, covering 10 states in the South, and made up of dozens of grassroots organizations of the SOUTHERN FREEDOM MOVEMENT.
The WALK FOR DIGNITY will cover the entire 120 miles from Jacksonville, Florida anchored by the New Jim Crow Movement there, with overall coordination by Project South and the entire Southern Movement Alliance.  A social movement assembly was held in the evening to capture all the voices and regenerate the Southern Freedom Movement narrative for the 21st Century.  The night’s assembly and evening shelter was at the same church in St. Augustine where Martin Luther King Jr. stayed when he was refused entry into Jacksonville, fifty years ago during the Civil Rights era.
The first night’s stop was in St Augustine, a Spanish colonial settlement dating back to the middle of the 16th century.  The historical site is important because of the resistance led by the Native people of Seminole Nation, and enslaved Blacks who formed an alliance.  St. Augustine was also a point on the route of the Underground Railroad organized for the abolition of slavery.

On the Ground in Florida:

Walkers in the #Walk4Dignity gathered in Hemming Plaza in Jacksonville, FL on Monday afternoon to begin their walk towards Sanford, FL, demanding the resignation of Angela Corey, FL State Attorney and the release of Marissa Alexander, sentenced to 22 years for protecting herself.
Walkers introduced themselves while holding hands in a circle, preparing for their 5 day trip together. They came from the New Jim Crow Movement (FL), the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (FL), Justice for Trayvon (FL), Project South (GA), National Students for a Democratic Society (Tampa, FL), the AFL-CIO (FL), The Ordinary Peoples Society (AL), Southerners on New Ground (GA and NC), from other organizations throughout the US South, and as local concerned citizens in Jacksonville.
Standing under the train tracks to stay out of the rain, walkers joined hands to answer the question, “Why are you here?” “To march!” said a young kid from the crowd. Because “Enough is Enough!” shared other youth. “I am here because Black Lives Matter,” said SONG organizer Mary Hooks from Atlanta. Lupe from the Coalition for Immokalee workers said: “Estoy aqui marchando por solidaridad y por que creo que la justicia debe existir no importa la color y la raza. (trans. I am here marching in solidarity because I don’t think that your color nor your race should have to do with whether or not we get justice.)”

I’m here to demand justice for the black and brown people who have been exploited by this country,” said a walker from the National Students for a Democratic Society in Tampa, while a walker from the Justice for Trayvon movement came “to show that any black man who wears a hoodie is not a gangster or a thug.”

As you see we have all come together,” cried Aleta Alston-Toure, one of the organizers of the march. “No matter what color, no matter how old, no matter where we came from, we are all standing together, because we are the ones we have been waiting for. I’ll take it out by saying on 1, 2, 3, let’s say justice. 1…2…3″

Justice!” the crowd cried as they walked out into the rain.

As the walk began, organizer Steph Guilloud of Project South reminded walkers, “If we’re going to be on the streets, we got to be watching out for each other, holding each other’s backs, being careful, but really just being with each other. If we’re aware of our space and with each other front, back, side, and up, I think we’re going to be able to hold that and keep our dignity rolling.”

Upon arriving in St. Augustine, FL (over 41 miles from Jacksonville), walkers held a people’s assembly at St. Paul AME Church–the church that in 1964 allowed Martin Luther King, Jr to come preach although he was stopped from going to churches in Jacksonville.
Walkers will continue on to Flagler Beach in Bunnell, Florida today, arriving at Zion Baptist Church in Palm Coast, FL (at 1 Enterprise Drive) for another community assembly to start at 7 pm.  Local communities are invited to participate as the #WalkforDignity continues and the assemblies will be live streamed on www.southtosouth.org

History of the Walk: St Augustine, Jacksonville, & Fort Mose

As the slave trade expanded, so did the efforts of black bondsmen to escape slavery.  The first Underground Railroad in America did not lead from south to north, but north to south. As early as 1687, slaves fled bondage from English-controlled South Carolina to seek life as free men and women in Spanish Florida. Spaniards in St. Augustine  took advantage of this black opposition to English slavery and offered freedom to the slaves who reached the Spanish settlement.  In order to accommodate the influx of black slaves fleeing from the English and arriving at their Florida settlement, the Spanish in 1738 established the fort and town of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose´, the first free black community in North America.  It became the home of more than 100 former black slaves and is located a short distance north of St. Augustine and South of Jacksonville. 
Because of its high visibility and patronage, the Hemming Plaza in Jacksonville and surrounding stores were the site of numerous civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s. Black Sit-ins began on August 13, 1960 when students asked to be served at the segregated lunch counter at Woolworths, Morrison’s Cafeteria and other eateries. They were denied service and kicked, spit at and addressed with racial slurs. This came to a head on “Ax Handle Saturday”, August 27, 1960. A group of 200 middle aged and older white men (allegedly some were also members of the Ku Klux Klan) gathered in Hemming Park armed with baseball bats and ax handles. They attacked the protesters conducting sit-ins. The violence spread, and the white mob started attacking all African-Americans in sight. Rumors were rampant on both sides that the unrest was spreading around the county (in reality, the violence stayed in relatively the same location, and did not spill over into the mostly-white, upper-class Cedar Hills neighborhood, for example). A black street gang called the “Boomerangs” attempted to protect the demonstrators. Police, who had not intervened when the protesters were attacked, now became involved, arresting members of the Boomerangs and other black residents who attempted to stop the beatings. Read more about Jacksonville’s Freedom movement history >>
(content from Wikipedia)


As movements build and progress, they inevitably allow us to take root in new ground and reconnect to history. Adding more soldiers to the fold, while reaffirming our commitment to carrying the torch of liberation for all. That’s why this movement and march is so important.---Trap

We stand on the site of (Fort) Mose --the first freed slave community-- and the site of our memory to resist oppression and build community self-determination in defense of all oppressed people! We March for Dignity and for the regeneration of the Southern Freedom Movement...Emery

Amazing first day and night for the Walk! ...Steph

Solidarity statements from Monday July 22, 2013
This letter is to express our support and solidarity with The Walk for Dignity action to demand justice.
In view of the injustice committed in the Trayvon Martin trial and the current situation of growing poverty, discrimination, intolerance, violence, oppression, exploitation and racism against working people, women and the poor, we unite our voices to the call by the social movements of “Enough is Enough!”
The Walk for Dignity can be the inspiration to advance in the path to build such power.
Keep us informed and express our solidarity and our support to all the participants of The Walk for Dignity with our best wishes.
Border Workers Agricultural Project

Walk for Dignity from Jacksonville to Sanford...Justice for Trayvon and FREE Marissa!
We say “The US government, Justice system and racist violence on trial”
Black People are right to have dignified rage; We support what we feel is principled outrage;
Because together BLACK & BROWN we say Enough is enough...YA BASTA.... 'We are Human'!
We are with you ONE LOVE!
In solidarity and Action ON the road to justice, healing and peace; Action now!
University sin Fronteras

Southwest Workers Union (SWU) stands in solidarity with the organizations and community members calling for justice for Trayvon Martin and his family. We recognize that this case and the precedent it sets has direct implications for families and youth throughout Texas, one of the 31 states in the U.S. with Shoot First laws.
For these reasons, SWU is joining churches, community groups, and individuals from across the South in the Walk for Dignity this week from Jacksonville to Sanford, Florida. Our immediate collective demands are:
  • To demand the resignation of Angela Corey, Florida State Attorney; and
  • To demand the release of Marissa Alexander, a black woman sentenced 22 years in prison for protecting herself under the Stand Your Ground law
We are encouraged by the fact that the nation is being forced to have conversations around racial discrimination, violence, and terror against communities of color; however conversations are not enough. Please support the organizations, families, and communities participating and follow our journey on Facebook and Twitter. Join us as we put pressure on our communities, legislators, the national media, and the national public debate to call for justice rooted in fairness and equity for all.    
Southwest Workers Union

We are so inspired by the actions that you have chosen to take to build a better world for all of us.  We are domestic workers.  We are immigrants.  We are Black people who have been displaced from the economy.  We are youth of color from San Francisco's working class communities.  We thank you for standing for our dignity.  We thank you for saying with us in unison that Black Lives Matter.  We thank you for saying with us in unison that we believe in freedom, and we will not rest until it comes.  
Many of us wish that we could be there walking with you--but know that we are standing right by your sides in solidarity all the way from the other side of the country.
California POWER

Statement of Solidarity with Walk for Dignity and Justice!!!!
On behalf of Elena Herrada and the whole of Centro Obrero we express our support unconditionally for the Walk for Dignity starting from Jacksonville, to Sanford, Florida.
The Walk that took its “first step to justice, real justice” started today at 4 PM.  We are there in spirit taking that first step to bring justice to Trayvon and Marissa.
Please accept our abrazos as a sign of support and solidarity
A injury to one is an injustice to all.
Centro Obrero

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


165 Years of Internal Colonialism in the Southwest:
Decolonize Now!

February 2, 1848, marks the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo with Mexico, the United States 'occupied' the Southwest United States (otherwise referred as AZTLAN) since for 165 years, the treaty ending the US War against Mexico. It was the first U.S. expansionist war. The northern territories of Mexico became the new U.S. Southwest of today. In the everyday oral history of our people this was passed on through generations as the story of 'nos robaron las tierras', they stole our lands. Whose land was stolen?

The land is the land, the original peoples lived on the land under a co-existing balance with nature, no one person owned the land. The land, belong to all who lived on it. The Europeans, Spanish as far as Mexico is concerned, occupied by military force, terror and violence the 'Americas' calling Mexico New Spain. Under their own invention called 'Right of Discovery' they justified genocide and the forceful removal of the original peoples in oder to occupy the land and transform it into 'private property'.

Starting in 1492, the Spanish Empire their terror and occupation of the Caribbean, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Extending the occupation of what is now Mexico, from 1521 to 1821, 300 years of 'colonial rule' based on Monarchy system. This expansion of colonial rule brought Florida, New Orleans, Mississippi River and the US South under Spanish rule for hundreds of years, or French, English Dutch imperialists settler colonialists. Thus the Southwest, the South of the United States today share more common history of genocide, racism, colonial occupation and oppressive rule, plantation work, slavery, and war than we do under the rule and occupation by the United States. Approximately 300 years of colonial rule and oppression under the monarchical empires, and 165 years under US rule for Southwest, and 148 years for South African Americans since emancipation from slavery. Streets and plazas named after the assassin Ponce de Leon can be found from San Juan, Santo Domingo, to Florida and Georgia amongst other places and cities.

We share, Native American Indians, Indigenous, Mexicans (and Puerto Ricans in diaspora) and African Americans, a status of internal colonial subjects. As colonial subjects we exists in a culture and politics of oppression where like Puerto Rico we have a status of 'belonging to but not a part of' the United States. Indian removal, massacres and the forced confinement in 'reservations', another name for 'federalized' concentration camps, continues as policy and practice up to today. The Mexican removal laws, under the umbrella of immigration turned inhabitants of these lands into 'undocumented' migrants. To make the divide as permanent as possible the US government has 'walled' the US-Mexico border and militarized it with equipment and military, federal agents, homeland security and local law enforcement officers and 'deported' or force removal of millions of people annually resulting in hundreds who die crossing the border, while the US has an open border with Canada. The African Americans, brought from Africa and other regions by forced removal and enslavement under terror and forced labor, finally achieved their dream of freedom from slavery, but live under a 'Jim Crow' apartheid racism based on color of the skin, Black as inferior and whites as superior race. The Puerto Rico diaspora in US is a result of forced displacement due to colonial policies in Puerto Rico and labor demands by United States.