(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Streetvibes in the August 28th-September 11th edition, a publication of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Pick up a copy from a Streetvibes vendor today!)
On August 14th a “National Moment of Silence” to honor victims of police brutality spread across the nation stemming from a call to action via Twitter (hashtag #NMOS14) by Feminista Jones, a New York activist, writer, and social worker. Rev. Damon Lynch III hosted the Cincinnati gathering for Michael Brown and other victims of police brutality at his church, the New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn. A large group of mostly African-American men and women gathered to pray, talk, and plan for what to do next. Local newspaper clippings from 2007 covering the murder of Timothy Thomas by Cincinnati police were hung on posts surrounding the courtyard where well over 100 people sat in a large circle.
The conversation after the moment of silence centered on reflections of people’s experiences following the tragedy of the shooting of Thomas in 2007 (many of the activists who worked on Cincinnati police reform then were in Roselawn this evening), and what needs to happen here in Cincinnati today to continue to fight for justice. A mother expressed worry that her son could be shot down by police, an elder called for unity among the faith community, a young woman tearfully called out for guidance for the youth in Cincinnati to help them respond, and know what to do. Several people spoke of the need to continue to educate their communities about how to respond to the police. What are their rights during an encounter with a police officer? Do they know how to make a report if they feel they were unjustly treated? That although gains were made since 2007 following the federal consent decree to overhaul our police department, vigilance and instruction is still needed. Read more ›