Tag Archives: occupy the hood

Occupier Jelani Mashariki Announces Candidacy for New York City Council-District 35

Occupier Jelani Mashariki Announces Candidacy for New York City Council-District 35

[NEW YORK, NY] Occupy Wall Street activist Jelani Mashariki will announce his candidacy for New York City Council – District 35 at an announcement party at 6pm tonight (9/25/2012) at Brooklyn’s Rustik Tavern [located at 471 Dekalb ave (btwn Kent & Franklin Aves) Brooklyn, NY 11205]

Mashariki is the second candidate to run under the “Bumrush The Vote” banner, the first, congressional candidate George Martinez, made national headlines using Bumrush The Vote’s unique grassroots approach. Mashariki’s candidacy announcement serves as the latest chapter in his life-long story of community organizing and social justice advocacy.

Jalani Mashariki is a Brooklyn native, child of the Crown Heights Youth Collective, a Brooklyn College graduate, an inaugural AmeriCorps volunteer focusing in HIV outreach, an activist with Black Veterans for Social Justice, the Director of Pamoja House Homeless Men’s Shelter, Co-founder of the Global Block Foundation & U.S. Cultural Envoy, an Occupy Wall Street & Occupy the Hood activist, and is currently the Dean of Liberation of the Paul Robeson Freedom School.

The announcement party will feature performances & spoken word from…

George Martinez: The first Occupier Congressional Candidate, Hip-Hop Artist and Co-Founder of Bum Rush The Vote

Job Mashariki: Inaugaral Awardee-NYS Veteran Hall of Fame, Founder of Black Veterans for Social Justice Inc, Lifelong Activist

Jitu Weusi: Lifelong Activist, Educator, Founder of The East

Justin Wedes: Occupy Wall Street activist, Founder and Co-Principal of the Paul Robeson Freedom School

Maisha Morales: Lifelong Activist & 35th District resident

Atchuda Bakr: Lifelong Activist, Union organizer, Owner of Sister’s Community Hardware Store, & 35th District resident

A New Style of Campaign: Teamwork for Change

The Occupy Wall Street camps inspired a global movement of decentralized local assemblies in which people shared stories, resources, and skill sets. As the encampments were met with eviction from authorities the tents and books were scattered but the inertia of the camp’s affinity groups remained. As if one were to whack a hornet nest, the hive was damaged but the collective was sent out into the world with a renewed zeal to challenge systemic injustice. These “Post-Camp” Occupy groups restructured themselves around shared skills or specific issues, and the remainder were a wide spectrum of affinities with varied politics and tactics ranging from groups of advocates on the street who embraced property destruction to parallel movements like Bum Rush The Vote who set their sights on occupying public office as a direct action. Following the organizing template of Zuccotti Park, Bum Rush The Vote relies on a crowd-sourced method of campaigning by pooling the resources of graphic designers, photographers, experts in viral social media campaigns, artist relations, and street teams of D.I.Y. campaigners to move their message to constituents. Moreover,Bum Rush The Vote is a creativity-driven campaign aimed at spending time with constituents and implements this through staging cultural community events such as pop up concerts, neighborhood clean-ups, anti-stop-and-frisk actions, and guerrilla gardening efforts in regions within regions of NYC most plagued by inadequate access to healthy food.

To request a fact sheet, high resolution photos, or to arrange an interview with Jelani Mashariki or a representative of his campaign please contact Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan at cecilymcmillan@gmail.com or via phone at at (404) 468-1034. For more information on Bum Rush the Vote visit http://BumRushTheVote.net for more information on Jelani’s campaign visit http://peopleforjelani.com

 

All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets: George Martinez’s Response to Jay-Z

All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets: George Martinez’s Response to Jay-Z

[NEW YORK, NY] George Martinez grabbed national headlines when he became the first Occupier to qualify as a major party primary candidate for the United States House of Representatives, but few know that the fledgling politician also has a seasoned career as a celebrated hip-hop emcee in New York City’s grassroots political hip-hop scene.

Last week when Jay-Z was interviewed for a cover feature in the New York Times Style Magazine he indicted Occupy Wall Street as a directionless cloud of ideas. Local press was buzzing with how Occupy would respond, would they ignore it?, would they protest?, would Jay even care if they did? Hip-Hop media mogul Russell Simmons quickly seized this opportunity to open up a dialogue with Jay-Z surrounding money in politics. Simmon’s political director, Michael Skolnik quickly followed suit with his own thoughtful response, but in order to fully capture Occupy’s & Hip-Hop’s response to Jay-Z’s uninformed comments it would be best to have the response come from an Occupy Hip-Hop artist.

The following is George Martinez’s letter to Jay-Z & Russell Simmons…

First, I want to thank Jay Z for his recent public statements regarding the Occupy movement. I respect his honesty and I welcome this exchange as an end to the “Government For Sale” syndrome corrupting our democratic processes.

Second, I want to thank Russell Simmons for his response to Jay in an attempt to educate and build solidarity. His response was a thorough and thoughtful summation of the macro issues that Occupy has raised over the last year. In particular, Russell helped to illustrate the connections between “the corrosive influence of money in politics and elections” and repressive policies like stop and frisk.

Jay, I would prefer to build with you instead of slam you, and I know that you are already supporting a number issues that make up the cloud of “Occupy,” like… ending the war on drugs, supporting job creation and supporting the president on marriage equality. And let’s also be clear, I know progressives don’t want to plunk tens of thousands of dollars per plate on campaign fundraisers when they know that the money could be going to directly helping people and directly investing in the community. But because some have highjacked our democracy through Super PACs that spend limitless amounts of corporate cash in politics, hope and opportunity get stifled. This process has driven our country towards the brink of economic ruin.

In response to this process a coalition of activists, artists and various segments of the community have taken on the challenge of getting money out of politics and putting the people back in charge of their democracy. To get the money out …and put the voters in!

Our public and political institutions should not be allowed to operate under the same rules the govern regular commercial industries, since our constitution and our republic exist only through a social contract bound by the consent of its’ people. Thus “we the people” vest trust in our public institutions and must raise up when that trust is violated, or when special interests join to undermine the integrity of our public institutions, politicians and their elections. Imagine Jay, some people believe that corporations are people like you and me. They believe that these corporations have the same rights as people. Then, with a Supreme Court decision called, Citizens United v. F.E.C, the “Super PAC” was born allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections because of their individual rights to “free speech” just like you and me. I hope you would agree, that this is wrong. In fact, President Obama, has also said he supports exploring a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the “Citizens United” decision.

For me, “Occupy” can be easily understood from a Hip Hop perspective.

With Hip Hop we bum rushed school yards and sidewalks and transformed them into dance arenas for breakers. We didn’t ask James Brown or anyone if we could sample their records. We “borrowed” electricity from lamp posts to power our amps. We painted subway cars and inspired a global phenomenon that is literally saving lives around the world through the convergence of 5 elements: Dj, Rap, Aerosol Graffiti, B-boy, and Knowledge.

What happened in Zuccotti Park was similar to the spirit of Hip Hop; in that an unauthorized assembly of like-minded and creative people, created a space for community building and organizing to directly address local community concerns. More importantly, “Occupy” took on the overarching barrier to addressing these concerns due to the corrupting power corporate money has on our democratic processes and institutions. Through this organic coalition, a framework was created to mobilize around the reality that “another world Is possible.” By creating this framework, a model was built that embraced a diverse set of strategies to encourage everyday people to find where they could fit into the movement to work towards the overarching goal of reclaiming our democracy and building opportunity.

At the beginning of my involvement with OWS, I also observed that there was a “cloud of issues,” however, I quickly recognized many of them as issues that I and others in the Hip Hop community had been vocalizing and organizing around for years. Through keeping an open mind and participating in the democratic and community-building processes, I learned from others and was able to build support to identify specific strategies and actions to focus the movement on addressing issues that impact my immediate community. This included focusing on strategies to challenge the power of money and its’ corrupting influence on our democracy. We did this by building a grassroots movement and providing tools to empower the hood through a “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY), direct democracy engine that would facilitate community deliberation of important issues, implementation of community solutions and community resource management. Additionally, we inspired people to “Occupy” local political office. My personal “direct action” involved running for Congress by building a “Block by Block, and City by City” electoral direct action movement called Bum Rush The Vote (BRTV). The premise of BRTV is simple, build a people’s machine that can compete against the power of the corporate control over our democracy.

Five months into the Occupy movement, I declared my candidacy, for New York’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional District. This included my home neighborhoods Red Hook and Sunset Park and your home neighborhood of Marcy Houses. Throughout the course of my campaign, I met with thousands of people on their neighborhood blocks, highlighting their stories in order to move the dialogue beyond the macro analysis of the issues to the real-time effects on our neighborhoods. One issue in particular, that Russell also highlighted, involves the relationship between money and the prison industrial complex which has particularly harsh repercussions in the hood. Studies document that there is a dollar for dollar relationship between dollars cut from public education and increased investment in the prison industrial complex. Furthermore, in New York, your home neighborhood of Marcy Houses falls in the police district with one of the highest rates of youth “stops and frisks,” all while local schools and youth programs are either failing or are being shut down.

This is our opportunity to “HEAL” once again. To hold those accountable who have corrupted the political system with corporate interests. The end result includes the reality that communities we come from are further disempowered, underserved and deliberately targeted by the prison industrial complex to the point that there is a dollar for dollar correlation in cuts to education and investment in prisons. KRS ONE, said it so eloquently in his lyrics to HEAL Yourself, “…black and white ain’t the real fight, that’s the only thing the media hypes, the real fight is these major corporations, holding back on real education…

This is why I occupied, this why we are the 99%, and this is why we need the 100% who want to reclaim our democracy and our communities. I believe that the space of transformational hopefulness that is at the core of “Occupy” is available to everyone, and that we all have a part to play in finding solutions. I have committed my non-profit organization, the Global Block Foundation, to developing and distributing Bum Rush The Vote as our official political literacy initiative. I invite you to join us, or, in the spirit of “Occupy,” get in where you fit in. Working Together, Block by Block and City by City, Another World is Possible.

All Day, All Week, Occupy All Streets!

George Martinez, is the first OWS organizer to qualify as a major party primary candidate for the US House of Representatives and creator of Bum Rush The Vote. He and his wife are the creators of the #OWS Hip Hop Anthem: Occupation Freedom He is an artist/ activist who believes in the power of Hip Hop culture as a force for positive world change and serves as a Hip Hop Ambassador with the US Dept of State. He is a former Democratic District Leader of the 51st Assembly District in Brooklyn, a professor of Political Science at Pace University and the Founder of the Global Block Foundation. He has appeared on MSNBC, HuffPost Live, Telemundo, TEDx and was the subject of a cover story in the Village Voice. Follow George on twitter at @hongeomartinez Follow Bum Rush The Vote on Twitter at @bumrushthevote

Occupy Wall Street Activist George Martinez to Run for NYC’s 7th Congressional District

Occupy Wall Street Activist George Martinez to Run for NYC’s 7th Congressional District

[NEW YORK, NY] George Martinez, a Brooklyn native, hip-hop artist and seasoned Occupy Wall Street activist has announced his candidacy for Brooklyn’s 7th Congressional District. In a clear statement honoring Occupy Wall Street’s non-partisan process, an autonomous parallel movement calling itself “Bum Rush The Vote” has announced it’s intentions to grab political seats using the same grassroots guerrilla campaigning strategies that quickly catapulted the Occupy message from New York’s financial district onto the international stage. George Martinez is the first of several Occupier candidates pursuing public office under the “Bum Rush The Vote” campaign banner. In the June 26 Democratic primary he will be challenging Nydia Velazquez whose tenure as a New York representative has spanned two decades.

A New Campaigning Model
The Occupy Wall Street camps inspired a global movement of decentralized local assemblies in which people shared stories, resources, and skill sets. As the encampments were met with eviction from authorities the tents and books were scattered but the inertia of the camp’s affinity groups remained. As if one were to whack a hornet nest, the hive was damaged but the collective was sent out into the world with a renewed zeal to challenge systemic injustice. These “Post-Camp” Occupy groups restructured themselves around shared skills or specific issues, and the remainder were a wide spectrum of affinities with varied politics and tactics ranging from groups of advocates on the street who embraced property destruction to parallel movements like Bum Rush The Vote who set their sights on occupying public office as a direct action. Following the organizing template of Zuccotti Park, Bum Rush The Vote relies on a crowd-sourced method of campaigning by pooling the resources of graphic designers, photographers, experts in viral social media campaigns, artist relations, and street teams of D.I.Y. campaigners to move their message to contstituents. Moreover, Bum Rush The Vote is a creativity-driven campaign aimed at spending time with constituents and implements this through staging cultural community events such as pop up concerts, neighborhood clean-ups, anti-stop-and-frisk actions, and guerilla gardening efforts in regions within the 7th district most plagued by inadequate access to healthy food. “How do we do it? Our resources come directly from our people” say’s Martinez’s Deputy Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan, “George’s campaign team is made up of volunteers …Occupy volunteers! Canvassers have petitioned for over 3000 signatures, while we’ve had individuals and small businesses donate space and resources for meetings and fundraisers.”

Money Out / Voters In
George Martinez and Bum Rush The Vote are hoping to create a new model of campaigning that eschews large donations while placing importance on the power of individual constituents. Following Occupy Wall Street’s radically inclusive model of directly democratic organizing, Bum Rush The Vote aims to empower individual constituents while disempowering the role of money in politics. To do so they are leading by strict fiscal example, “We were told that it takes an average of 1.2 million dollars to run for congress,” says George Martinez “much of this comes from corporate backers. However, with less than $5,000, we made it on the primary ballot and even won a ballot challenge.” Bum Rush The Vote seeks to set an example through their campaigning model that you do not need money from corporate backers or special interests to win a race. “The resources are available in our communities to take back our government from the crooked and the ineffectual.” say’s Martinez, “It is time to take the power back from the people who think that political office is theirs to trade back and forth, and who sell their legislation to the highest bidder. This is a Bum Rush, we are running up to the halls of power, and we cannot be ignored!”

 
About George Martinez

George Martinez is an adjunct professor of political science at Pace University, a celebrated hip-hop emcee and founder of The Global Block Foundation. George is an active member of the End Corporatism Affinity Group of Occupy Wall Street and a primary organizer of Occupy Bed Stuy, Occupy Sunset Park and an active member of Occupy The Hood (a group whose nation-wide organizing with low income communities continues to be some of the most effective and celebrated work within the Occupy movement.) Outside of his Occupy resume George was the former District Leader (51st AD) and former Assistant Director for the NYS Attorney General. He is currently a member of U.S. Cultural Envoy to Latin America and Asia and a member of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. You can follow George on Twitter at @hongeomartinez

To request a fact sheet, high resolution photos, or to arrange an interview with George Martinez or a representative of his campaign please contact Deputy Campaign Manager Cecily McMillan at cecilymcmillan@gmail.com or via phone at at (404) 468-1034. For more information on Bum Rush the Vote visit http://BumRushTheVote.net

 

An Injury to One, is an Injury to All: Occupy the Justice Department on April 24th

Now that the celebrated, radical journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, is off death row, many dare to imagine the next step—his release from prison. On December 9, 2011 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, where over 1,100 people gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of Mumia’s incarceration, Archbishop Desmond Tutu asked our nation to “rise to the challenge of reconciliation, human rights, and justice” and called for Mumia’s “immediate release.” And when Frances Goldin–Mumia’s literary agent–called on the audience to OCCUPY the Justice Department, the call was met with a roar of excitement.

On April 24, 2012, Mumia’s 58th birthday, we will gather at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Washington, DC. A large-scale, vibrant and colorful rally will amplify our formal request that Eric Holder immediately meet with a delegation to discuss police corruption and civil rights violations in Mumia’s case and in the cases of hundreds of other defendants in Philadelphia. Some demonstrators will engage in acts of civil disobedience to draw greater attention to these injustices.

PLEDGE TO OCCUPY THE DOJ

 

On April 24, consider joining a group of renowned citizens in an act of civil disobedience, among them Danny Glover, Frances Fox Piven, Norman Finkelstein, and M1 of Dead Prez. Your pledge to engage in an act of civil disobedience will be critical to reaching our goals of enlisting the participation of other activists and ensuring news coverage of the case and of our broader demands. If you cannot commit to civil disobedience, you can pledge to be at the demonstration.

Because Mumia’s removal from death row coincides with the dramatic shift in consciousness brought by the Occupy Wall Street movement and the execution of Troy Davis, we now have a unique window of opportunity to fulfill one of the most important moral assignments of our time: to build a movement that will link all of the violations in Mumia’s case and his fraudulent trial to the crisis of mass incarceration, so as to win this innocent man’s freedom. Short term goal: release Mumia. Long term goal: end mass incarceration.
Attorneys will be available to answer questions and to support this important demonstration.

“there is something in the soul… …that cries for freedom!” Twenty-first century social movements around the world are illuminating the root causes of social crises, class inequality, bigotry, human rights violations, and environmental degradation. Here in the U.S. we have seen how, in the face of the growing OCCUPY movements, the state has intensified its campaign to restrain people and silence dissent. From the incarceration of state critics and whistle blowers (Bradley Manning), the pepper spraying of peacefully protesting students in California and the passage of repressive legislation (HR 347 & NDAA) to the warehousing of millions of poor Black and Latino people in American prisons and the increased scapegoating and detention of immigrants — the state is ramping up repressive measures.

On April 24, we will breath life into the old labor slogan: “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” On that day we will say that we are all Mumia, we are all immigrants, we are all Bradley Manning, we are all poor, we are all Palestinian, and we are all Troy Davis.

For 30 years, in a death row cell, Mumia has offered a radical critique of power and injustice through his regular radio commentaries and seven published books. His defiant voice in the face of state repression has taught us all something about courage and the human spirit’s inclination toward freedom. His message articulates our highest aspirations as a society. On April 24, make a placard and write on it all of your grievances. They will be welcomed. Above all, on that day, bring your fighting spirit and your desire to live in and create a decent and different world.

The police who shot, brutalized, and arrested Mumia Abu-Jamal in 1981 — for the shooting death of Officer Daniel Faulkner — were under scrutiny by a Department of Justice investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department. The probe, which began in 1979, marked the first time in United States’ history that the federal government sued a police department for civil rights violations and charged an entire police department, rather than individual officers, with police brutality. The DOJ suit maintained that the Philadelphia police’s practices of “shooting nonviolent suspects, abusing handcuffed prisoners, suppressing dissension within its ranks, and engaging in a pattern of brutal behavior ‘shocks the conscience.’” Only days after the end of Mumia’s fraudulent trial and conviction, 15 of the 35 police officers involved in collecting evidence in his case would be convicted and jailed, as a result of this federal investigation, on charges which included graft, corruption, and tampering with evidence to obtain a conviction. Chief among these officers was Alfonzo Giordano, the police inspector who led the crime scene investigation in Mumia’s case. The DOJ investigation remains unfinished: it did not provide relief for defendants like Mumia who were convicted by the testimonies and work of these corrupt and convicted cops.

OCCUPY THE DOJ’S DEMANDS
• Release Mumia Abu-Jamal
• End Mass Incarceration & the Criminalization of Black & Latino Youth
• Jobs, Education, & Health Care. NOT JAILS!
• End solitary confinement & stop torture
• End the racist death penalty
• Hands off immigrants
• Free all political prisoners

Thousands of New Yorkers Demanding Justice for Trayvon Martin will Rally Today In Union Square

Thousands of New Yorkers Demanding Justice for Trayvon Martin will Rally Today In Union Square

[NEW YORK, NY]  On March 21st People from across the city and movements come together to stand in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin as they seek justice for the murder of their son. Organizers of the New York City protest are asking people from across the city to throw on their hoodie and join others in Union Square, NYC at 6:00pm as they demand justice for the murder of Trayvon Martin. Those that are unable to attend the event in New York City are asked to throw on their hoodies and share the story of both the life and death of Trayvon and his family’s fight for justice. JOIN US IN NYC – Throw on your hoodies and come gather in Union Square to show your support for justice for Trayvon Martin!

On February 26th Trayvon Martin who was 17 years old at the time of his death, was shot and killed as he walked to his father’s home from a convenience store in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon’s killer, the leader of a community “neighborhood watch” called the police to report a suspicious person when he saw Trayvon walking from the store. Trayvon a young black male was wearing at the time a hoodie and on his person was a bag of skittles and a beverage. Despite police instruction not to confront Trayvon, Zimmerman ignored instructions and followed Trayvon, cornering him and ultimately killing him. Zimmerman admitted to the shooting of Trayvon however has not been charged for the murder.

“We are tired of looking in the eyes of our brothers, our sisters, our children asking ourselves whose next? If you think tomorrow is about a protest, simply an assembly of people, you are wrong. Tomorrow, will be the night we remember the murder of Trayvon Martin and say, with one voice, never again,’” said Daniel Maree, a Digital Strategist at McCann, NY who launched the Million Hoodies event.911 recordings released of what many suspect is Trayvon pleading for help before he was shot to death, has inspired many to come together and protest the racial injustices that revolve both around Trayvon’s death and the freedom of his killer.  Many supporters of Trayvon’s family come together to express to the state of Florida and the world their outrage over the death of Trayvon Martin and to call for an end to racial profiling, racial injustice and the terrorizing of black and brown communities throughout the country.