Demand Justice For Patrick Lyoya – a message from Color of Change


On April 25, the Grand Rapids police chief finally released the name of the officer who murdered Patrick Lyoya, but this is not enough. This officer is still on administrative leave and not being held accountable for Lyoya’s murder. We must continue to put pressure on the city’s officials as we demand justice for Patrick Lyoya.

—— 4/21/22 ——-

“He was more than a role model, somebody that you look up to,” Jimmy Barwan said about his cousin Patrick Lyoya, who was brutally murdered by a police officer in early April.

Here’s what we know:

On April 4, Patrick Lyoya was shot in the back of the head by a Grand Rapids, Michigan police officer, during a traffic stop. Last week, in response to community demands for transparency and accountability, officials released brutal bodycam footage showing the police officer kneeling on Patrick’s back and murdering him, execution-style. 

And while Patrick’s family and neighbors take to the streets to demand justice for their loved one, Grand Rapids officials have gone silent. The city’s police department is still withholding the name of Patrick’s murderer. In fact, the Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) just put the officer on paid leave. 

After murdering a community member, the police officer is on a taxpayer-funded vacation. This is despicable, inhumane, and far too common in this country.

We will not remain silent or let officials sweep this case under the rug. Add your name to demand justice for Patrick Lyoya now. 

Patrick Lyoya was a 26-year-old Congolese refugee who moved to Michigan in 2014. Patrick was also a brother, a son, a father of two young girls, and he should be alive today. But a militarized, unaccountable police force murdered him — tearing another family apart and forcing yet another community to mourn a senseless and preventable death. 

Patrick’s father said “My life has come to an end” and his mother is “deeply hurt and wounded.”

Patrick’s murder has sent shockwaves through his community as well. His loved ones and neighbors will have to carry that trauma and psychological pain for days, weeks, months, years. And unless we take action now, Patrick’s family and community will live with the fear that GRPD can murder again with impunity. 

That’s why, standing with the Grand Rapids community, we must demand action from elected officials to seek justice and accountability for Patrick Lyoya. These demands will not only seek action in response to his murder, but will also get us one step closer to the structural change we need to keep Black people safe — in Grand Rapids and across the country. 

Stand with us to demand justice for Patrick: 

1. Disclose the name of the police officer who shot and killed Patrick, and fire the officer immediately. 

2. Demand a thorough federal investigation into both Patrick’s murder and the history and culture of racist violence in the Grand Rapids Police Department.

3. Demand local and state elected officials invest in community-led alternatives to policing that would have prevented this senseless murder from happening in the first place — and take REAL action now to keep Black people safe. 

Patrick Lyoya should still be alive. Our communities deserve and demand real safety — a world where our loved ones can make it home safe and whole at the end of the day. Where no one lives in fear of police violence and brutality. It’s on us to fight for that world, and to make sure what happened to Patrick never happens again. 

colorofchange.org

The MOVE Bombing … Philly on May 13th – Black History- Actions that cannot be forgotten


Here are 11 things you should know about the MOVE Philadelphia bombing

Police, firemen and workers sort through the rubble resulting from May 13 fire, destroying 61 homes on Osage Avenue in Philadelphia, Penn., on Wednesday, May 16, 1985.
GEORGE WIDMAN / AP

On May 13, 1985, a bomb was dropped on a row house in Philadelphia, unleashing a relentless fire that eventually burned down 61 houses, killed 11 people (including five children), and injured dozens.

The fire department stood by idly. The Philadelphia Police Department did the same. The fire raged on, swallowing up home after home until more than 200 were without shelter.

It’s a shameful part of recent American history that’s somehow been buried under 31 years and other destructions that have fallen on the city of Philadelphia. NewsOne decided to take a trip back in time to explore what happened the day America bombed its own people.

– The MOVE Organization is a Philadelphia-based Black liberation group that preached revolution and advocated the return to a natural lifestyle. They lived communally and vowed to lead a life uninterrupted by the government, police, or technology. They were passionate supporters of animal rights. Members adopted vegan diets and the surname “Africa.” Often times they would engage in public demonstrations related to issues they deemed important.

– MOVE did, however, have a past with the police. Since inception in 1972, the group was looked at as a threat to the Philadelphia Police Department. In 1978, police raided their Powelton Village homes and as a result, one police officer died after being shot in the head. Nine MOVE members were arrested, charged with third-degree murder, and sent to prison. They argued that the police officer was shot in the back of his head on his way into the home, challenging the claim that he was shot by members inside the house. Eventually the group relocated to their infamous house on 6221 Osage Street.

– There are differing reports about the group and how troublesome they actually were. According to the AP, neighbors complained about their house on Osage, which was barricaded with plywood and allegedly contained a multitude of weapons. It has been said that the group built a giant wooden bunker on the roof and used a bullhorn to “scream obscenities at all hours of the night,” angering those living in nearby row houses. Eventually, they turned to city officials for help, which put into motion the events of May 13, 1985.

– On that day, armed police, the fire department, and city officials gathered at the house in an attempt to clear it out and arrest MOVE members who had been indicted for crimes like parole violation and illegal possession of firearms. When police tossed tear gas canisters into the home, MOVE members fired back. In turn, the police discharged their guns.

– Eventually, a police helicopter flew over the home and dropped two bombs on the row house. A ferocious blaze followed.

– Witnesses and MOVE members say that when members started to run out of the burning structure to escape a fiery death, police continued to fire their weapons.

– The fire department delayed putting out the flames. After the blaze, they claimed they didn’t want to put their men in harm’s way, because MOVE members were still firing their guns. But MOVE members and witnesses say the wait was deliberate.

– In the end, 11 people, including MOVE’s founder John Africa, were dead. Five children died in the home.

– This is the only child survivor (see picture below). His name is Birdie Africa, but it was later changed to Michael Ward. He ran out of the burning house naked and covered in flames. He survived his third-degree burns and went on to live a normal life, although he was scarred forever by the lifelong burns on his abdomen, arms, and face.

– Michael Ward was found dead on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 in the jacuzzi aboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean. He was on vacation with his family. Initial autopsy reports say he drowned.

– In the end, no one from the city government was criminally charged.

SOURCE: APPhilly, Independent research | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

image: AP  and vpr.org

Black History Month

Friday the 13th ~ History


1961 – A bus carrying Freedom Riders was bombed and burned in Alabama.

 

Long considered a harbinger of bad luck, Friday the 13th has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, an early 20th-century novel, a horror film franchise and not one but two unwieldy terms—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—that describe the fear of this supposedly unlucky day.

Just like walking under a ladder, crossing paths with a black cat or breaking a mirror, many people hold fast to the belief that Friday the 13th brings bad luck. Though it’s uncertain exactly when this particular tradition began, negative superstitions have swirled around the number 13 for centuries.

While Western cultures have historically associated the number 12 with completeness (there are 12 days of Christmas, 12 months and zodiac signs, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 gods of Olympus and 12 tribes of Israel, just to name a few examples), its successor 13 has a long history as a sign of bad luck.

The ancient Code of Hammurabi, for example, reportedly omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules. Though this was probably a clerical error, superstitious people sometimes point to this as proof of 13’s longstanding negative associations.

Fear of the number 13 has even earned a psychological term: triskaidekaphobia.

According to biblical tradition, 13 guests attended the Last Supper, held on Maundy Thursday, including Jesus and his 12 apostles (one of whom, Judas, betrayed him). The next day, of course, was Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The seating arrangement at the Last Supper is believed to have given rise to a longstanding Christian superstition that having 13 guests at a table was a bad omen—specifically, that it was courting death.

Though Friday’s negative associations are weaker, some have suggested they also have roots in Christian tradition: Just as Jesus was crucified on a Friday, Friday was also said to be the day Eve gave Adam the fateful apple from the Tree of Knowledge, as well as the day Cain killed his brother, Abel.

In the late-19th century, a New Yorker named Captain William Fowler (1827-1897) sought to remove the enduring stigma surrounding the number 13—and particularly the unwritten rule about not having 13 guests at a dinner table—by founding an exclusive society called the Thirteen Club.

The group dined regularly on the 13th day of the month in room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage, a popular watering hole Fowler owned from 1863 to 1883. Before sitting down for a 13-course dinner, members would pass beneath a ladder and a banner reading “Morituri te Salutamus,” Latin for “Those of us who are about to die salute you.”

Four former U.S. presidents (Chester A. ArthurGrover ClevelandBenjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt) would join the Thirteen Club’s ranks at one time or another.

An important milestone in the history of the Friday the 13th legend in particular (not just the number 13) occurred in 1907, with the publication of the novel Friday, the Thirteenth written by Thomas William Lawson.

The book told the story of a New York City stockbroker who plays on superstitions about the date to create chaos on Wall Street, and make a killing on the market.

The horror movie Friday the 13th, released in 1980, introduced the world to a hockey mask-wearing killer named Jason, and is perhaps the best-known example of the famous superstition in pop culture history. The movie spawned multiple sequels, as well as comic books, novellas, video games, related merchandise and countless terrifying Halloween costumes.

On Friday, October 13, 1307, officers of King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar, a powerful religious and military order formed in the 12th century for the defense of the Holy Land.

Imprisoned on charges of various illegal behaviors (but really because the king wanted access to their financial resources), many Templars were later executed. Some cite the link with the Templars as the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition, but like many legends involving the Templars and their history, the truth remains murky.

In more recent times, a number of traumatic events have occurred on Friday the 13th, including the German bombing of Buckingham Palace (September 1940); the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York (March 1964); a cyclone that killed more than 300,000 people in Bangladesh (November 1970); the disappearance of a Chilean Air Force plane in the Andes (October 1972); the death of rapper Tupac Shakur (September 1996) and the crash of the Costa Concordia cruise ship off the coast of Italy, which killed 30 people (January 2012).

“The Origins of Unlucky Friday the 13th,” Live Science.
“Friday the 13th: why is it unlucky and other facts about the worst day in the calendar,” The Telegraph.
“13 Freaky Things That Happened on Friday the 13th,” Live Science.
“Here’s Why Friday the 13th is Considered Unlucky,” Time.
“Friggatriskaidekaphobes Need Not Apply,” New-York Historical Society.

history.com

friday the 13th in 2017