The following are statements about the death of another African American at the hands of those sworn to protect us and the local and nationwide protests still ongoing.

My message to protesters is simple, will their turn up be a turn out in November?

Adrienne Hood’stragic story is well known and far too common. The mother’s 23-year-old son Henry Green was murdered by Columbus Police in June of 2016.

“The last few days have been emotional roller coaster. I am angry at what I saw, I ask the Lord, “Just how much more are we supposed to take!”

My son’s ‘angelversary’ is just over a week away. My emotions were already heading to a place where I have to constantly fight depression. My frustration and anger are real and I acknowledge that. But I have a greater disappointment in our leadership and black leadership to be more specific! Where has our NAACP or Urban League been?! Where are the black leaders across this country? I have no faith in them. I’ve heard some leadership say it’s political suicide to speak out, so in essence what they are saying is their status and political career is more important than the many young live that have been lost!

While I don’t condone violence, what was seen last night was a people that are tired of being bullied, murdered in the street and absolutely no justice for the victims!

My message to the protesters is simple, will their turn up be a turn out in November? This anger and frustration will be for nothing if they stop here. Turn that energy into positive things. Young people run for office. Get an education so we can have doctors, lawyers, police officers and judges that we feel safe around. That’s what our community needs. And at the end of the day to love one another.”

Police departments without the courage to root out hatred killed them

Liliana Rivera Baimanis a former Columbus City Council candidate and progressive activist. The 33-year-old former “Dreamer” with roots in Mexico grew up in Texas and her neighbors were the local KKK chapter. At an early age she knew her calling would be to someday advocate and protect People of Color.

“On Monday night, the world witnessed a black man being murdered in broad daylight by four Minneapolis police officers. On Thursday night, peaceful protestors were tear gassed and arrested in Columbus. On Friday morning, the news and social media are only focused on the minimal looting that occurred at some of the protests. This is its own tragedy.

As Columbus residents know, there is a toxic culture that feeds white supremacy, hatred, and racism within the police force. Our community stands in solidarity with Minneapolis. George Flynn, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Donna Castleberry, Henry Green, Tyre King, and so many others should still be with us. We know who killed them. We know the names of the officers who snuffed out these Black Lives that matter. We also know the institutions that killed them. Racism killed them. Elected officials afraid to act killed them. Police departments without the courage to root out hatred killed them. So now we must seek justice. We must hold these four officers to account. They must be arrested and charged immediately. We must also hold our Columbus institutions to account. Columbus officials have a long history of giving PR-firm-approved statements and then taking zero action. We see a community filled with rage, hopelessness and sadness. We see children and mothers crying. We hear Black men saying they can’t breathe. We see the consequences of looking the other way. It is time for the nice statements to stop and for city leadership to take real action.

We must create a Citizens Review Board that includes victims of police brutality. We must hire a new chief of police that understands black lives matter and is going to deal with the institutional racism within the department. We must hold elected officials accountable at the polls and elect courageous leaders who will stand up to the Columbus Police Department and Fraternal Order of Police. We need to start these changes now and it all starts with admitting there is a problem!”

White People! What will we do to change our legacy of violence?

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)has become a preeminent and vocal People of Color advocacy group for Columbus. Their membership consists of all colors – and they have a simple demand for all white people…White People! What will we do to change our legacy of violence?

“White people need to show up now and over the long haul and protest the ongoing murders of Black and Brown lives by police across the nation.

We need to protest the lynchings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Julius Tate and every other Black life lost to state sanctioned violence. We also protest in solidarity with our Columbus comrade Christopher Radden who was beaten and arrested by CPD while peacefully protesting on Wednesday night. What’s happening in Minneapolis is not an anomaly. Columbus Police continue to send the message that black and brown people’s lives don't matter; it is understandable that many folks protest such inhumane conditions. 

On Thursday night we gathered at the Columbus Divisions of Police Internal Affairs Bureau. After approximately 100 comrades gathered there, we took the streets to march past Columbus City Hall and the Statehouse as many more protesters joined us on foot and in car caravans. As we reached the intersection of High and Broad Street, CPD police, many in riot gear, blocked us from moving forward so we engaged in a stand still face off with them. Very quickly after, CPD pepper sprayed many of us at point blank range. We continued to protest in a standoff with police as more and more officers joined to keep us from proceeding. Many comrades from the earlier protest at another location joined us in our standoff with police at High & Broad. There were at least five Legal Observers from the National Lawyers Guild and a few medics with us. The protest continued until at least 1am and CPD officers pepper sprayed protesters multiple times, tear gassed the crowd, and also shot rounds of rubber or wooden bullets at protestors. 

We demand the immediate release of Christopher Radden and condemn policing as violent, oppressive, and unnecessary.”

Stay strong, hold your ground, we will win!

Aramis Malachi-Ture Sundiatais director for the Peoples Justice Project, a statewide collective that organizes working people and people of color to lead the fight for safe, healthy, and equitable lives for all by fighting against mass incarceration. Our vision is a transformation in the criminal justice system from the criminalization and incarceration of individuals, particularly young people and people of color, to policies that support healing and growth for individuals, families, and communities.

“We were fighting for black power over our own black lives! There was no need for the police to escalate the way they did on Thursday and Friday nights. The murder of George Floyd was one to many. We are fed up. We had to act.

The People’s Justice Project, during the ‘hot phase’ of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014 when African people were engaged in spontaneous revolt over the countless assassinations of Eric Garner, Mike Brown, John Crawford, and Tamir Rice, created favorable conditions to accelerate the dynamics of political life for the African working class.

In analyzing the national conditions which gave birth to Black Lives Matter, in Ohio the People’s Justice Project reinforced and insisted on building an organization to house the energy of the African masses in a revolutionary trajectory. People’s Justice Project became a mass or popular political organization seeking to answer the ideological, philosophical and class question from the black revolution of the 60s. PJP is a political organization, divorced from the traditional bourgeois organizations, who’s survival has been assured time and again by linking its struggle to the struggle of the African working class. PJP’s campaigns and victories includes voter registration in Spring of 2015 by launching a statewide voter registration program that focused on registering communities who have low voter turnout (15k new voters in Franklin County).

Our other advocacy included #JusticeForHenryGreen and #KneeForTyre (both 2016). Henry Green and Tyre King (a 13-year-old!) were both gunned down by the Columbus Police Department. Both tragic murders, only months apart, gained statewide and national attention. Their killers are still free.

#WhatHappenedToJaron (2017) 36-year-old Jaron Thomas, a mentally ill father, having an incident, calls the medic as directed by his doctor. Columbus Police Department shows up and beat Jaron into a coma. Jaron passed away from these injuries days later. His family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the CPD.

We have stood in solidarity with the Thomas family an organization. #BanTheJUMPOUTBoys (2016 to the present).

We took a list of demands to City Council to demand that resources be invested in trauma and healing services. Organizing families directly affected by police violence and the Summer Safety Initiative (also called the Summer Strike Force).

PEOPLE’S LOVE (2016 to present) is rooted in showing people love and a space to heal from all the trauma that African people endure every day. Grounded in understanding that we must break bread with our people and share spaces with each other.