Stanford Students ARRESTED in #ReclaimMLK Shutdown

FOSTER CITY, Calif.,

This afternoon, 68 Stanford students were arrested while honoring Martin Luther King’s legacy by engaging in civil disobedience. They held the westbound side of the San Mateo Bridge for 28 minutes, symbolic of the fact that, every 28 hours, a black person is killed by law enforcement or vigilantes.

Participants engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience in support of the Ferguson Action national demands, which include the demilitarization of local law enforcement and the repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community-based alternatives to incarceration. They blocked the bridge for 28 minutes to symbolize the fact that every 28 hours a Black person is killed by a police officer or vigilante.

In accordance with the Ferguson Action national pledge, organizers noted in their public statement, “this [action] is in defense of ALL black lives. We stand with Black men and women. We act when Black Queer and Trans lives are threatened. We defend the rights of our Black family when we are poor, disabled and incarcerated.”

In addition to banners calling attention to the violence committed daily against Black communities, the protesters drew on King’s legacy of internationalism by carrying the Palestinian and Mexican flags as an act of public solidarity with victims of state-sponsored and specifically US-sponsored violence in Mexico and Palestine.

“Combating the triplets of racism, militarism and materialism was one of the biggest legacies King left us,” said participant Kristian Davis Bailey ‘14. “We proudly carry the Palestinian flag as we call on Stanford to divest from human rights violations in the occupation and related state violence in the US. The recent trip of Black Lives Matter and Ferguson representatives to Palestine signifies these movements are coming together on a global scale.”

Manny Thompson ‘15 added, “Reclaiming MLK means understanding that Dr. King was killed because he made connections between racial oppression and economic oppression and the interconnectedness of struggles across the globe.”

Ultimately, the students decided to reclaim MLK day because they recognized how much work remains to be done to reach racial justice: Carla Forbes ‘17 told organizers, “I am here because the time for my humanity and the humanity of brown and black people to be recognized is long overdue. I am here because the systemic oppression and racism of systems of law enforcement must continue to be revealed.”

According to the protestors, they chose to inconvenience the weekend commute to remind Silicon Valley that it can’t ignore oppression in the midst of its own comfort.

“We chose to inconvenience the weekend commute because the status quo is deadly to the black and brown peoples of this country and can no longer be tolerated,” said participant Maria Diaz ‘17. “We are honoring MLK’s legacy by forcefully reminding Silicon Valley that, decades after Martin Luther King, black lives, and brown lives, and the lives of all oppressed people, still matter.”

Contact 650-427-9827 or paloaltosoe@gmail.com to provide legal or bail support to the arrested students. Follow @SiliconShutdown on Twitter for information on future actions.

Silicon Shutdown #reclaimMLK at San Mateo Bridge

FOSTER CITY, Calif.,–Today, over 100 Stanford University students and community members have shut down the San Mateo-Hayward bridge in response to Ferguson/St. Louis organizers’ call for intense, sustained, direct action. We will hold the bridge for 28 minutes, 28 minutes because every 28 hours a Black person is killed by a police officer or vigilante. We align ourselves with the Ferguson Action demands (http://fergusonaction.com/demands/), including the demilitarization of local law enforcement and the repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community-based alternatives to incarceration. This is in defense of ALL black lives. We stand with Black men and women. We act when Black Queer and Trans lives are threatened. We defend the rights of our Black family when we are poor, disabled and incarcerated. In honor of Martin Luther King’s legacy, we will place ourselves and our bodies in direct opposition to the racist, oppressive system that has exploited, destroyed, and profited off Black and Brown lives from the moment of this country’s inception.  In commemoration of his legacy, we will continue his fight, and reclaim this day.

Dr. King’s legacy has been manipulated, manipulated to make us forget that systemic racism is alive and well. We will not forget. It’s been doctored to make us forget that the constant assault and harassment of Black bodies is intentional. We will not forget. When you took him from us, he was working to expose the international nature of oppression. In your softened renderings of him, his reminders about the interconnectedness of various struggles is often forgotten. We will not forget. From Ferguson, to Palestine, to Mexico, the state violence and racism that our state enacts and supports against Black people within our borders and marginalized communities domestically and around the world can no longer be tolerated. We reclaim King’s memory, because we know that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” We know that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” We cannot sit idly by.

Today, we act in solidarity with the people of Ferguson. We will disrupt your afternoon commute, as King disrupted the peace for those privileged enough to live unscathed by the status quo, because the daily loss of Black life to police and state violence can no longer be tolerated. We will inconvenience you, because normalcy is deadly to the Black and Brown people of this nation. Because silence is deadly to the people of Mexico, and the people of Palestine. Here in the heart of Silicon Valley we cannot sit in our comfort and acquiesce to this system. Black lives matter. They mattered when Dr. King was among us, and they matter now. The fight for the dignity of Black life is as necessary today as it has always been. And from Ferguson to Silicon Valley, it is a battle we must continue to fight.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice”–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Follow @SiliconShutdown on Twitter for more information.

I Can’t Breathe – March on University Ave. and 101 Shutdown

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December 12, 2014. University Ave., West Palo Alto and 101 Freeway, East Palo Alto.