April 29, 2015

Students for a Democratic Society Stands in Solidarity with Baltimore Protesters, Against Police Brutality

Students for a Democratic Society stands in solidarity with the people’s uprising in Baltimore as they demand justice for Freddie Gray. SDS stands against police repression and militarization, particularly in its manifestations as brutality, racial profiling, and enforcement of white supremacy. The uprising in Baltimore highlights the extreme emergency situation of oppressed nationalities in the United States and demonstrates the extreme measures to which people living in Baltimore will bravely go to take back their streets, in a sustained series of protests that have yet to cease.

Baltimore police officers tackled Freddie Gray and took him into custody on April 12. In the process, police crushed his voice box and nearly severed his spine. Police then waited nearly 40 minutes before calling for medical attention. Gray died a week later from his injuries. Local, state, and federal law enforcement units have always stolen the lives of innocent Black, Latin@, Indigenous, Asian, and other oppressed nationalities in the States. However, some stand-out cases over the past few years have led to persistent protests, such as Derek Williams and Dontre Hamilton in Wisconsin, Eric Garner in New York, and of course, Michael Brown in Missouri. Reported less frequently are the deaths of black trans women, such as Mya Hall, who hailed from Baltimore, just like Freddie Gray, and was also killed by police.

It doesn’t stop with the police; their racism is reinforced by the racism of the courts, with mass incarceration, Stop and Frisk policies, and laws like Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine. The media is also a huge player in excusing the murders executed by police and racist vigilantes. A good example is the smear campaign against the Justice for Freddie Gray protesters, which shifts the focus away from the brutality committed by police and projects it onto the protesters. The media then excuses the police repression carried out by the National Guard and riot cops, attempting to win over public opinion to police brutality against black people.

These conditions have led to an enduring uprising in Baltimore; and just as in Ferguson, MO, the conditions are creating a new generation of young Black people who fearlessly fight back against riot cops.

Students for a Democratic Society stands with the people of Baltimore in their struggle for liberation and justice for Freddie Gray. SDS also condemns police repression, brutality, mass incarceration, militarization, and racial profiling. We are campaigning against those forces, and we believe that Black and Brown people should be free from and have the right to resist white supremacy and its agents, the police.