"It's absolutely the case that police brutality shown towards many Occupy protesters has brought to the forefront the issue of police violence and led to an awakening among many white folks of the day to day reality of police violence that many people of color have lived with now for many years," Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, told the Guardian.
Enraged at police beatings (see "OPD spies on and beats protesters," Feb. 14) both Occupy Oakland and Occupy San Francisco have held "fuck the police" marches. March 18, after a six-month commemoration celebration brought 3,000 to Zuccotti Park in New York City, followed by 200 arrests and rampant police violence, Occupy Wall Street protesters followed suit, holding their first anti-police brutality march.
Occupy Wall Street has reanimated concepts that burned through the '60s, such as violence vs. nonviolence, the systemic causes of personal economic woes, and the peoples' relationship to police. With the consciousness created by Black Power activists, today's organizers have a foundation on which to build their own answers to these questions, across issues and generations.
National Occupy the Hood has called for action concerning Trayvon Martin, the unarmed black 17-year-old who was shot Feb. 26 and whose confessed killer has yet to be arrested. Taking up high-profile cases of injustice and working more closely with organizers to respond to the needs of local African American communities could bring more power and truth to the rage for justice currently galvanizing a new generation.
"It's about black re-empowerment," Archbishop King said. "It's like the torch, the light of freedom and justice, has actually gone out. And we're trying to relight that. That's why I'm so excited about the Occupy movement; it ties into the Black Power struggle. And I think it's waking up some of us old revolutionaries to stand up."