Dick Gregory Speaks on Why He Marched to End Stop and Frisk
I woke up at 5:00am Sunday morning in Chicago to get to the airport for my early morning flight to New York City, cause there was no was I was missing the Silent March to End Stop and Frisk. As a Black man who was recently pulled over driving through NYC last week, and given my first breathalyzer, I felt I had a responsibility to join the 300 other organization who signed on to endorse this historic event.
I hopped off the plane, rented a car, and headed for Brooklyn to scoop my Brother Paradise Gray. We were headed Uptown to be a part of history. We arrived at 1:00pm the march was already packed with thousands of New Yorkers fed up with Mayor Bloomberg’s racist Stop and Frisk policies that target Black and Brown people. The first group we encounter was the Universal Zulu Nation, so you know, Hip-Hop was in full effect. We also saw 1199’s Purple Gold getting everybody in order and a strong presence from the NAACP and National Action Network.
We were blessed to line up beside Make it Plan radio host Mark Thompson and his son, Institute of the Black World founder Ron Daniels, and legendary activist and comedian Dick Gregory. At 3:00pm we began to walk silent through the streets of New York with over 50,000 concerned citizens. The mood was somber but hopeful that this tremendous example of unity on Father’s day could make the NYPD change its wrongheaded behavior.
Jasiri X, Dick Gregory, Mark Thompson and his son (Photo by Paradise Gray)
After walking a while me and Paradise decided to peel off and capture footage of the march. We saw group after group marching quietly in unity from NYCLU, Occupy Wall St, the Bronx Defenders, even the Quakers came and marched for justice. For me one of the most memorable and heartbreaking moments was speaking to Franclot Graham, father of Ramarley Graham. Ramarley Graham was gunned down by the NYPD, unarmed in the bathroom of his home, in front of his grandmother. Even though Officer Richard Haste was charged with the shooting, Franclot had to endure the indignity of having the NYPD loudly cheer Officer Haste after he posted bail. Clearly visible was the hurt in Mr. Graham’s eyes as he walked quietly in memory of his son.
A strong message was sent across the world on Father’s Day, we will no longer stand by while our children are persecuted. End Stop and Frisk!