At the Martin Luther King day marade this year in Denver, several thousand people broke away and came early to Civic Center Park. They, not the leaders who have made this STATE FARM Martin Luther King day, spoke (roughly, the difference between Hillary Clinton and as we will see, an even more forceful version of Bernie Sanders speaking). Several young black woman from Black Lives Matter 5280 led this demonstration and the statement, given powerfully, by Amy E. Brown, demanded Justice for Michael Marshall – a black man, homeless and mentally ill, killed in prison by six police officers – part of the horrific tape has now been released, see here and here – the end of the camping ban which gives the homeless no right even to sleep on the streets, the renaming of Stapleton – the KKK mayor of Denver and organizer of rallies, lynchings, and the demilitarization of the Denver police. See here. In addition, Natalia Marshall, Michael Marshall’s niece who was on a hunger strike, spoke out. For tapes of them speaking check out my Facebook page for January 18th-19th and Brother Jeff’s (the films were taken by Brother Jeff who does an indispensable job in celebrating creativity but also chronicling racism in Denver).
The two women were amazingly heartening (as was Soul who was also doing the hunger strike). For the breakaway march and seizing the stage was mass nonviolent direct action, something embodying the radical spirit of MLK. Brother Vincent Harding would have celebrated this action…
In contrast, Mayor Hancock showed up to mention Michael Marshall but also sympathize with police officers and refuse to release the tapes (pressure has since resulted in their release). He himself, with Councilman Albus Brooks among others, is responsible for the camping ban though he couch surfed with his mom as an impoverished child – and needs desparately to remember himself…There is something particularly awful in the way he speaks.
If the protestors spoke from the heart, Mayor Hancock made a three dollar bill look genuine. Though he showed up, the crowd rightly expressed discontent/contempt at his words.
And District Attorney Michael Morrissey who has never once prosecuted police for a murder naturally declined to do so this time (alleging medical insight about when, being manhandled ,Michael Marshall had a heart attack). District Attorneys are generally corrupt, dependent and watched over by the police, and have a miserable, corrupt record. See democratic-indiividuality here and why American cops – in contrast to others – claim a license to kill, Jan. 11, 2016.
But Morrissey, distinctively terrible, will not be exceeded in this regard.
Here is part of what Amy Brown said:
Neil Haverstick sent me a question on Facebook which opposes civil disobedience and defends any reactionary order. Despite his sympathies, he fails to see the profound issues of justice involved, what makes Black Lives Matter, including on campuses all over the country – see the protests against Woodrow Wilson at Princeton here – so morally vibrant.