On Wednesday, July 20th Freedom, Inc., Young Gifted and Black Coalition, Groundwork, and SURJ disrupted the Concert on the Square to call for Black community control of the police. The purpose of the action was to bring attention to murder and physical violence that Black people face locally and nationally and to call for Black community control over the police.
Thousands of people attended concert and as the second half of the concert started a dozen protesters took the stage holding signs and read a statement calling for community control of the police and to call concert attendees to move from the sidelines to action. As Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmichael) famously explained, “If your people are oppressed and you are not involved in any action to help your people, then by your very act you are against your people…there is no neutral ground.” The protesters called all Madisonians to recognize that their people are being dangerously harmed by policing practices and to move from spectators to actors in the fight for racial justice.
The evening action is lead up tomorrow’s July 21st National Day of Action calling for #FreedomNow from the Movement for Black Lives. This is a day where actions and protests will take place across the nation in order to call attention to continued police violence and the defense of egregious police actions by those in power. In Madison, the Thursday, July 21st Action will take place at the Police Union (660 John Nolen Drive) starting at 4pm. The coalition will rally at the police union to call for Black community control of the police and to demand accountability for the countless ways police harm communities of color. The coalition recognizes that the police union prevents police officers from being held accountable to the people they are supposed to protect and serve. To rectify this, the coalition calls for community oversight and control of the police. Freedom Inc. organizer T. Banks said of the necessity of this action: “It is time to put an end to violence against communities of color. We want power and control and we want it now. If we don’t get it, we’ll shut it down!
- We demand that the police stop killing Black people.
- We demand Community Control Over the Police so that people most impacted by police violence set the policies, practices, and priorities of the police. So that we can hire and fire and bring true accountability to those who are supposed to protect and serve.
- We demand the City of Madison invest in community not cops, that the budget of the Madison Police Department be cut by $6 million and that money redirected into needed community based resources, such as culturally relevant crisis mental wellness and conflict mediation.