MayDay Stands With Ferguson
Since October, MayDay Arts Space has hosted a series of gatherings in support of the uprising that began in Ferguson and is spreading nationally; it has also provided the space for Families United For Justice, an organization of families who have lost loved ones to police violence, to organize.
Reportback from Ferguson
On Monday, October 20th, community members gathered to listen to 4 panelists report back on their recent experience in Ferguson, MO, the previous weekend, a national call put out by Ferguson organizers calling for supporters to join their struggle to demand Justice for #MichaelBrown
- William Sylvester, Question Bridge: Black Males
- Keeshan Harley, 19-year-old member of Make the Road New York
- Dragonfly, activist and performer, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping
- Tareq, Veterans For Peace
- Moderated by Oja Soundtwista
MayDay hosted a report back with organizers recently returned from the coordinated weekend of actions in Ferguson, Missouri. Having stood in solidarity with local community groups fighting for racial justice and police accountability, these activists shared personal stories of how they were moved by the struggle in the streets as well as insights on how to sustain this momentum with related efforts in NYC.
Artists worked in the Mayday space all weekend long, and attendees were invited to stay after the event to help finish artwork and sign-making for the day of action. People’s Climate Arts artist and stewardship committee member Raul Ayala created a large banner for the action.
With the support from People’s Climate Arts and MayDay, community artists met with family members impacted by police violence to create portraits of their loved ones. These portraits were then used in public mobilizations to protest police violence.
These events occurred in conjunction with the October 22nd events in New York City – The National Day to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalisation of a Generation.
The time was used to consider lessons learned in preparation for a day of non-violent protest alongside families affected by police violence.
October 24, 2014 – 50+ people gathered at Mayday Arts Space to share art (visual, film,, musical & performing arts) and dialogue about the anti-police brutality movement in Ferguson, NYC, and nationwide. The funds raised will aid the legal services needs of the young people in Ferguson.
About the organizers:
Families United 4 Justice (FU4J)is an organization made up of families affected by police violence.
In early October, Cynthia Howell, niece of Police Brutality victim, Alberta Spruill, called for the families most affected by police violence (those who have lost loved ones to police) of New York to come together and form a collective.
Due to the perceived need that families most affected by police violence should be supported rather than exploited and should ultimately be able to represent themselves, the collective was formed with the intent to connect families and hold space for them to assess their needs, support each other, share resources, and organize together.
The first 3 meetings were held at Mayday Arts Space at 214 Starr Street. Families came together to share their stories and establish the foundation in which FU4J would grow from. Right after the 2nd meeting, the families participated in the democratic process and came up with the name, Families United 4 Justice.
With the support from PCM Arts and MayDay, community artists were able to work directly with family members to create portraits of their loved ones in time to lead the march on October 22nd, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.
In the short amount of time FU4J has been operating, 15 families have joined FU4J, participating in conference calls and meetings.
We envision that one day all the families will be empowered through organizing themselves rather than to have political figureheads and organizations misrepresent them.
For more information, please contact Cynthia Howell @ firstname.lastname@example.org