We Will Have Our Victory

from by Renaissance The Poet

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After the Grand Jury decision not to indict, Darren Wilson, the Ferguson officer responsible for the murder of Michael Brown on November 24, 2014, people across the country took to the streets in protest. Seattle was no exception to this national wave of civil unrest.
People throughout the country are upset and fed up with being treated unfairly and being valued less than other citizens. The people are sick and tired of feeling like our rights and our lives do not count, like we do not matter. The people are done with passively fearing for their lives, knowing that at any moment we can be killed with impunity because the officers will almost unequivocally escape any sort of punishment. The people are tired of being treated as second-class citizens.

The Grand Jury decision was the last straw.

The civil unrest did not just occur because of this one particular incident, but rather because of long series of incidents that stretches back hundreds of years. Although, the most recent incidents of Trevon Martin, and the 12-year old child who was shot by a Police Officer because of he was in possession of a bb-gun, catalyzed the issues of police brutality and injustice in recent memory. If it was only one incident, then the people would not be standing in solidarity throughout the nation, but they are.
I keep hearing again and again, that people are "sick and tired of hearing people of color complaining about injustice."

To them I ask:

What is it that would cause a people, and not just black people, but all kinds of people to clamor for justice?
What would cause the people to take to the streets, host protest, and use the only voice they have left?
Could it possibly be because we actually feel and are being treated unjustly?

When I hear that people are sick and tired of hearing people of color complain about injustice what I hear is one of two things:

(1) Either they believe that the system is just, i.e., it provides for the common benefit of all people.
Or
(2) they know the system is unjust and do not want to do anything about it, i.e., relinquish some of the privilege gained by the oppression of others.

In either case the outcome is wrong, but option two is far worse because inherent in it is an obvious choice to maintain the status quo, to maintain a system of oppression.

For a few generations since the Black Liberation Era of the 1960s & 70s, the people have been attempting to maneuver through the political system, the people have published papers and articles, written books, held peaceful vigils and all that has come about from it all is a corrupt system of injustice. Since the 1970s, but really picking up steam in the 80s and coalescing in 90s a new criminal justice system was created. This new system has the results of 3/4 of the adult African-American male population either in prison or with a prison record, that same population having their right to vote revoked, denied access to higher education, and legally discriminated against culminating to create what Michelle Alexander termed "The New Jim Crow." The rhetoric behind and which founded the creation of this system has identified the young person of color as the enemy, as the "bad man," and as worthy only of contempt and punishment. Simultaneously, the system shifted from prevention to punishment and diverted most of the funding that was set aside to help prevent crime and the causes of crime and suffering to the Prison Industrial Complex. These cuts and redistributions of funds, while argued in public were often cryptic in design, like cuts to education programs, cuts to welfare programs, cuts to drug rehabilitation programs and the money was reallocated to law enforcement and to prison construction and maintenance. This is the result of peaceful, non-civil unrest action over the past few decades has come to nearly naught and the people most affected by this system know it all too well, even though many who are not affected by it are surprised to discover it nature.

This system just described above is what provides the motivation and the justification for officers of the "law" to act with impunity concerning the lives of people of color in the United States, a fact well known by the people. So, when the Grand Jury decided not to indict Daren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown, essentially what the judicial system was doing was upholding its position against people of color. The determination was there was not probable cause to file murder charges. This could only be the case if the law was set up to tolerate this type of behavior in the first place, but what is legal and what is just are mutually exclusive and are not one and the same.

This is why the people took to the streets all throughout the nation screaming "Hands up, don't shoot," and "what do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!" and "Black Lives Matter."

lyrics

Lyrics:

Answering the call of war we ran into the streets
Blood had spilled, the cops had killed, revenge was looking sweet
Didn’t matter who you were, or what neighborhood you from
All that mattered, was that, with this system, you were done!
The horns and the drums, fire poundin in our hearts
Raging through our veins, was an anger off the charts
Black, White, Asian, Native, Mexican, we all
Knew this racist, white supremist system had to fall
Downtown to Westlake, where all of us converged
Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! Was the war-cry that emerged
As we took over the streets, people steady flooding in
Bringing traffic to a halt, the movement had began
A fight for Human Rights, for Dignity and Life
A fight for Respect, Liberty the Right
To go to the store and to make it home alive
Cuz it’s nearly, impossible, to be Black, and to survive
The gauntlet of the school system not going to jail
a prisoner, a slave, told we can do naught but to fail
While a system of laws, written to, protect, us all
We wanted to know that cops were not above the law
Due Process, that precious 5th Amendment clause
They are neither judge nor jury, but they’re acting without pause
And while none of this is new to a people who’ve seen the worst
Daren Wilson’s, non-indictment, is what pushed us to subverse!

We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory
We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory

Marching through the streets, was simply not enough
Police came gassed up, turtle suits, and billy clubs
Seattle Mayor Murray, Chief O’Toole, and Bruce Harrell,
Our supposed ‘Civil Rights, City Hall Official’ failed
To recognize and respect, our Right, to assemble
To petition our government, for grievances, rendered
And instead authorized paramilitary troops
To stifle Free Speech, and Suppress the People whose
Intent was to acquire equal unbiased treatment
Guaranteed, in the 14th, Amendment achievement
In 1868, and over a hundred years later
Still waiting, hence my reason for being an Agitator
The people grew complacent, felt comfort in their ignorance
So, there was nothing left but Civil Disobedience
They disregarded us at city hall and public meetings
Labeled hooligans thugs, with anarchist leanings
Negotiation failed, and out gunned and out strategized
We recognized, to mobilize, we had to organize ourselves
If we meant to win against a system generations fixed
& that, is why, we created OA206

We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory
We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory

We hit the streets, we had to, people were dying
All were upset, the government was conspiring
State Sanctioned Violence, was claiming our people’s lives
Impunity ubiquitous, getting off left and right
Martin, Brown, Garner, Rice, and Boyd
Their killers walked free, everyone was annoyed
Darren Wilson made half a mil with network ABC
Adding insult to injury, we just couldn’t believe
Being Black, was not, a precondition, for anger
But in the protracted struggle, color became a hang-up
First there was a split between the Brown and the White
Which, made perfect sense given the White Supremist plight
Then Black only spaces formed, to lead the struggle
Cuz One, should, rumble for their freedom, un-muzzled
But to deny, the vital intellect and the skills
Of a person, based on race, is a practice that kills
Black people suffering from internalized oppression
A festering pestilence, ushered death from within
& From the depths of deception, character assassination
Followed the path of this nation, down to the heart of black hatred;
This is where O.A. Split, and though, now it is clear
that the spiritual harms we came with left us unprepared
to truly unify against this Totalitarian Regime
We’re healing wounds and righting wrongs, that go back centuries


We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory
We will have struggle
Won’t be defeated
We will have justice
Won’t be defeated
We will have freedom
Won’t be defeated
Working Together we will have our Victory

credits

from Into the Struggle, released November 20, 2016

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