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Nov 23, 15

NYC: Akai Gurley Memorial Demonstration

Originally posted to It’s Going Down

On the cold evening of November 20, 2015 friends and family of Akai Gurley and revolutionaries in New York gathered in the courtyard of the Pink Houses, in East New York to mourn during the one year anniversary of Akai Gurley’s murder in the stairwell of his apartment building. The gathering was guarded at each entrance by police and interspersed with undercover police throughout the crowd. The irony of their heavy handed presence was not lost on Gurley’s family as they spoke of the loss of their loved one, about the ongoing oppression by the police, and the exasperating pain that is black life in American society.

The speakers’ passionate oration against state-sponsored oppression and murder elucidated the fact that unfortunately, not much has changed in the past year. The families cries of pain and love for Akai echoed through the crowd and in deafening silence we all realized this struggle is truly in its early stages. As the mood turned from solemn to defiant we poured into the neighborhood and the chants became increasingly louder and stronger as we took the streets.

Under the watchful supervision of a despotic police escort, the crowd circled the block and then marched back into the narrow pathways into the corral of the Pink Houses courtyard. The heavily policed, and therefore, ritualized expression of anger about the ongoing police executions seemed like a dystopian metaphor for where we sit one year later in New York; a calm counterbalance to the explosive demonstrations of last winter.

Yet inside the demonstrations, in the fiery chants that won’t stop, inside the barricade of buildings, between the people present, putting their lives together for this small moment to remember, to celebrate, and to condemn, the connections felt real; the need for dignity and a new kind of life felt imperative.

Akai’s family stated that they have never had time to mourn; they have been searching for justice ever since officer Liang took Akai’s life in that stairwell. In this struggle for black lives we hope to ensure that this family, the countless before, and the one’s to come will finally be able to sleep a little easier. This struggle for black lives strikes right at the core of American society; from the Stono Rebellion to Gabriel’s conspiracy, from Nat Turner’s rebellion to the LA riots. The black struggle for human renewal is what has always shaken this country at its foundation, and it is the struggle of our time. It is through this struggle that we can create a life worth living and a world where Akai’s family can again raise their heads with the dignity they deserve.

As New York City anarchists we express our support and admiration for Akai Gurley’s friends and family as they move forward, and look toward a different world. To everyone who walks these New York City streets not knowing if they will make it back home, we will walk with you, and fight with you until the brutal, racist force they call police is a memory more distant than any one of the young people they murdered.



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The Base is an anarchist political center in Bushwick, Brooklyn, committed to the dissemination of revolutionary left and anarchist ideas and organizing. The mission of the space is to spread ideas and practices to the broader populace and provide a place where individuals can learn, grow, and organize outside of traditional activist and educational institutions. We will provide a foundation for fostering the ideas and theory of people who have either a preliminary background in political thought, or who have not grappled with political theory at any level. Furthermore, we will establish a framework where creative modes of sharing will be encouraged, with the goal of spreading these modes beyond the confines of the space itself. We intend to establish a sociopolitical model in New York City where participants can create projects that are expansive and creative. Lastly, this will be a place where people can grapple with, organize, and find solutions to issues that affect their living situation in a constructive environment.

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