Stop Racial Profiling and Police Brutality!
Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Was Right!
The Cambridge Cops Must Apologize!
Youth Need Jobs & Schools – Not Jails!
Demand a Justice Department Investigation of Racial Profiling Across the US!
Sign the Online Petition. http://www.bailoutpeople.org/gatespetition.shtml (text of online petition)
Let President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Massachusetts Governor Patrick, Cambridge Mayor Simmons, the Cambridge City Council, Cambridge Police Commissioner Haas, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders and members of the media know you stand against racism with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and you want the Obama administration to launch a national investigation into racial profiling and police brutality NOW!
The arrest of Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by a Cambridge police officer after showing two forms of identification after he, along with a Black limo driver, had unjammed the lock to the front door of Gates’ own house in a predominantly white, upscale neighborhood known as “Harvard Square” has brought the struggle against racism to the front pages of newspapers throughout the US and around the world.
The Cambridge Police Department and their racist allies have worked overtime to slander and vilify Prof. Gates. But his only crime was in fact to resist the racist arrogance of the Cambridge Police and not acquiesce to their racist and unjust treatment of him. The torrent of racist vitriol targeting Prof. Gates as well as the absolute racist arrogance displayed by the Cambridge Police Department in demanding that Pres. Obama and Gov. Patrick apologize for expressing support for Prof. Gates, cannot go unanswered! It is time for all poor and working people, and particularly whites, to come out against these racist attacks and stand foursquare in 100% solidarity with Professor Gates and against racial profiling and police brutality.
Cambridge, Harvard University and Boston are seen around the world as bastions of liberalism, hotbeds of progressive ideas and prestigious places from which cutting-edge research emanates. But the racial profiling and arrest of Prof. Gates have re-raised the question of how much has changed since the 1970s when, in the wake of court-ordered busing for desegregation, white racist mobs were stoning buses carrying Black school children and attacking Black people on the streets and in their homes.
Gates was Right! The Cambridge Police Department was Wrong!
Racial profiling is another expression of institutionalized racism. In the U.S., racial profiling and police brutality have become an unfortunate reality of life for people of color, especially youth. It doesn’t matter whether it occurs in the inner city, a small town, or an upper-middle class suburb.
In a 2004 report entitled “Threat and Humiliation: Racial Profiling, Domestic Security and Human Rights in the United States,” Amnesty International documented that in a year-long investigation, an estimated 32 million people had been racially profiled–the vast majority of them from nationally oppressed groups. One can only imagine how much these numbers have increased over the last five years, not only for those born in the U.S. but also for immigrants. Since 9/11 there has been a corresponding increase in racial profiling targeting the Arab and Muslim communities.
The police have been, by far, the most feared perpetrators of racial profiling, and understandably so. Police harassment and brutality is an epidemic. According to a 2008 report by the Washington, D.C. based Campaign for Youth Justice entitled ”Critical Condition: African American Youth in the Justice System” African American youth make up 30 percent of youth arrested while they represent only 17 percent of the overall youth population. Additionally, African American youth are 62 percent of the total number of youth prosecuted in the adult criminal system and are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence.
One only needs to remember how the Somerville 5 (5 Black youth from Somerville who were arrested on racist frame up charges by the Medford Police) or the Jena 6 were treated. Not to mention the racism that followed the devastation of the 9th Ward in New Orleans as a result of hurricane Katrina.
As the economic crisis deepens the ruling class will use all means at its disposal to foster artificial divisions between white workers and Black, Latina/o, and immigrant workers. It is our responsibility to build a movement based on anti-racist, class-wide solidarity–as workers of all nationalities are losing their jobs, homes, health care and pensions in rapid numbers; and as the economic crisis becomes even more severe.
Text of online petition:
To: President Obama, Attorney General Holder, Massachusetts Governor Patrick, Cambridge Mayor Simmons, the Cambridge City Council, Cambridge Police Commissioner Haas, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congressional Leaders and members of the media
I deplore the racist treatment of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. by the Cambridge police on July 16. Professor Gates was arrested simply for being in his own home and insisting on his right to have the name and badge number of the arresting officer, rather than standing silent in the face of blatant racist injustice inside his own home. I demand an immediate apology to Professor Gates from the Cambridge Police.
The Gates affair throws a bright national spotlight on the reality of racial profiling and police brutality in the United States, as Professor Gates himself said at the time of the incident. President Obama acknowledged this in his comments on it at his national press conference.
I call on all justice-loving people to stand in 100% solidarity with Professor Gates and against racial profiling and police brutality, and to stand up against the barrage of right-wing hate spewing forth from law enforcement and police unions and fanned by news media outlets and commentators, having the arrogance to demand that President Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick apologize for supporting Prof. Gates and speaking the truth.
I further demand that the Justice Department take up an immediate robust investigation of racial profiling and police brutality nationwide, and bring perpetrating police officers to justice and withdraw funds from police departments which practice racial profiling and police brutality. What happened to Professor Gates is not an individual incident. Racial profiling and police brutality must be dealt with in a serious and systematic way.
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