©2014 by Alice Walker
for  Carl Dix and Cornel West

It is still hard to believe
that millions of us saw Eric Garner die.
He died with what looked like a half dozen
heavily clad
standing on his body, twisting and crushing
especially his head
and neck.
He was a big man, too.  They must have felt
like clumsy midgets
as they dragged him down.

Watching the video,
I was reminded of the first lynching
I, quite unintentionally, learned about:
it happened in my tiny lumber mill
town before the cows were brought in
and young white girls
on ornate floats
became dairy queens.
A big man too,
whom my parents knew,
he was attacked also by a mob
of white men (in white robes and hoods)
and battered to death
by their two by fours.

I must have been a toddler
overhearing my parents talk
and mystified by pieces of something
called “two by fours.”

Later, building a house,
i would encounter the weight,
the heaviness, of this varying length
of wood, and begin to understand.

What is the hatred
of the big black man
or the small black man
or the medium sized
black man
the brown man
or the red man
in all his sizes
that drives the white lynch mob

I always thought it was envy:
of the sheer courage to survive
and ceaselessly resist conformity
enough to sing and dance
or orate, or say in so many outlandish
You’re not the boss
of me!
Think how many black men
said that: “Cracker,* you’re not the boss
of me;” 
even enslaved.  Think of how
the legal lynch mob
so long ago
tore Nat Turner’s body
in quarters
skinned him 

and made “money purses”
from his “hide.”

Who are these beings?

Now we are beginning to ask 
the crucial question.

If it is natural to be black
and red or brown
and if it is beautiful to resist
and if it is gorgeous to be of color
and walking around free,
then where does the problem

Who are these people
that kill our children in the night?
Murder our brothers in broad daylight?
Refuse to see themselves in us
as we have strained, over centuries, 
to see ourselves in them?
Perhaps we are more different
than we thought.
And does this scare us?
And what of, for instance,
 those among us
who collude?

Come see what stillness
lies now
in the people’s broken

It is the quiet force of comprehension,
of realization
of the meaning
of our ancient

and perfect
of what must now be understood
and done to honor
and cherish
no matter who
today’s “bosses”
may be.

Our passion
and love for ourselves
that must at last
and free us.  As we put our sacrificed
beloveds to rest in our profound
and ample caring:
broad, ever moving, and holy,
as the sea. 

*Cracker:  from the crack of the whip wielded by slave drivers.


New York: Daily Vigil at 1 Police Plaza, NYPD Headquarters – You Are Needed!


First Day Is Friday, September 12, 5 pm – 7 pm Thereafter: Monday – Friday, 3 pm – 7 pm Bratton and “Broken Windows” Must Go Now! Justice for Eric Garner! Indict the Killer Cops! 

Stop the Repression of the Witnesses!

All Out for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation! 

“Broken Windows” means broken lives.  “Broken Windows” means Black and Brown people harassed and arrested for putting their feet on subway seats, smoking pot in public, selling loose cigarettes, and more.  Police Commissioner William Bratton claims he has instituted the “Broken Windows” theory of policing to target people that commit petty crimes because petty crimes are the first step to people committing major crimes down the road.  No, that is a lie.  The authorities had to jump back in the face of widespread and growing opposition to “Stop and Frisk”.  This is their new policy of abuse to replace it.  In reality “Broken Windows” policing is the first step to the NYPD harassing, brutalizing and murdering people. Eric Garner was choked to death for supposedly selling loose cigarettes.  The murdering cop Daniel Panteleo is still walking free.  Ramsey Orta, the young man that filmed the police murder of Eric Garner has been arrested and is facing prison.

Join a daily vigil starting on: Friday, September 12, 5 pm – 7 pm.  Then every week day beginning: 

Monday, September 15, at 1 Police Plaza from 3 pm to 7 pm to demand:

Bratton and “Broken Windows” Must Go Now! Justice for Eric Garner! Indict the Killer Cops! Stop the Repression of the Witnesses! All Out for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation! 


If you refuse to accept the constant harassment, brutality, and murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of the NYPD then come to the vigil.  Let your voice and demands be heard.  This must stop!  Gather your friends, co-workers, members of your religious congregation, fellow union members, neighbors, professional colleagues, and others. Choose a day to represent, publicize that you will be there, and let us know.  Think of the significance of families with pictures of their loved ones whose lives have been stolen by the NYPD gathering in front of 1 Police Plaza.  Let the teachers be there one day, the students the next, the imams, rabbis and ministers the next, each day gathering momentum.  You are needed.  Imagine the societal effect of day after day, different kinds of people gathering at 1 Police Plaza to demand, “Bratton and ‘Broken Windows’ Must Go Now!”.  Imagine the impact of the news reports everyday talking about how long people have been outside 1 Police Plaza, demanding, “Justice for Eric Garner! Indict the Killer Cops!” Make all of this part of the buildup to and organizing of the October 2014 Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.  Make this part of impacting millions across the country, changing the way millions looks at mass incarceration, police brutality and murder, and all these outrage and bring many of them into a movement to stop all of this. And make this part of bringing thousands in New York out to Union Square, 1 pm, for the 19th Annual October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Start gathering everyone you know to be at 1 Police Plaza.  Make your plans.  Bring your sings, banners and whistles! — New York – Stop Mass Incarceration Network




©2014 por Alice Walker
Para Carl Dix and Cornel West


Todavía es duro pensar

que millones de nosotros vimos morir a Eric Garner.

Murió con lo que parecía media docena

de policías

fuertemente equipados

parados junto a su cuerpo, torciéndolo y golpeándolo

especialmente en su cabeza

y cuello.

Era un hombre corpulento. Debieron sentirse

como torpes enanos
mientras lo arrastraban.


Al ver el video

recordaba el primer linchamiento

del que, casi involuntariamente, supe:

ocurrió en mi pequeño pueblo

con aserradero antes que trajeran las vacas

y jóvenes blancas

en adornadas camionetas

se volvieran reinas de lecherías.

Era igual un hombre enorme

a quien conocían mis padres,

lo atacó también una turba

de hombre blancos (con túnicas y capuchas blancas)
y lo mataron a golpes con
sus “dos por cuatro”.


Debo haber sido una bebita

que de pasada oyó a mis padres hablar

perplejos sobre algo que

llamaban “dos por cuatro”.


Después construyendo una casa

yo encontraría el peso,

la solidez de esta longitud variable

de madera y empezaría a entender.


¿Cuál es el odio hacia el alto hombre negro

o el pequeño hombre negro

o el mediano hombre negro

el hombre pardo

el hombre rojo

de todos los tamaños

que impulsa la mentalidad de la turba

de linchadores bancos?


Siempre pensé que era envidia

del genuino coraje para sobrevivir

y continuamente rechazar la conformidad

lo bastante como para cantar y bailar

y hacer discursos o decir en tan extrañas


¡Ustedes no son

mis dueños!

Piensen en cuántos negros

dijeron: “Cracker*, tú no eres

mi dueño”,

aun siendo esclavos. Piensen

en cómo la turba linchadora autorizada

hace tanto tiempo

desgarró el cuerpo de Nat Turner

en cuartos

lo despellejaron

e hicieron “monederos”

de su “cuero”.


¿Quiénes son estos seres?


Ahora empezamos a hacernos

la pregunta crucial.


Si es natural ser negro

o rojo o pardo

y es hermoso resistir

la opresión

y si es esplendido ser de color

y andar libremente,

entonces ¿dónde reside

el problema?


¿Quiénes son estas gentes

que matan nuestros hijos en la noche

y matan nuestros hermanos a plena luz del día?

¿Rechazan verse en nosotros

como nos hemos forzado, por siglos,

a vernos en ellos?

Tal vez seamos más diferentes

de lo que pensábamos.

¿Y esto nos asusta?

¿Y qué hay, digamos,

de aquellos nuestros

que actúan en connivencia?


Vengan a ver la calma

que hay ahora

en los rotos corazones

de la gente.


Es la quieta fuerza de la comprensión,

de la percepción

del sentido

de nuestra antigua

y perfecta


de lo que ahora debe entenderse

y hacerse para honrarnos

y apreciarnos,

no importa quiénes

hoy puedan ser

los “jefes”.


Nuestra pasión y amor

por nosotros mismos

que debe finalmente


y liberarnos. Mientras dejamos descansar

a nuestros sacrificados amados

en nuestro profundo

y amplio cariño:

inmenso, siempre móvil

y sagrado como el mar.



              *Cracker: por el chasquido, “crack”,  que producía el látigo de los que conducían a los esclavos. 





  ©2014 Stop Mass Incarceration Network | P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station, New York, New York 10002-0900 * Facebook: stopmassincarcerationnetwork *