Last spring, The Nation launched its biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out September 15 and September 29. For an archive of earlier editions, see the New Year’s dispatch. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
1. Moving a Moment
From October 10 through 13, thousands of people from across the United States gathered in Ferguson and St. Louis, Missouri, for a Weekend of Resistance that arose from protests against the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the violent police crackdown in the days following his death and the larger issue of police violence against the black community. Marches, convenings and nonviolent direct actions united a wide spectrum of causes—from labor to climate justice—as part of building a national movement against racism and police violence. At the forefront of the weekend were youth, who have led the Ferguson protests since Brown’s death in August—despite being assaulted with tear gas and arrest. Students and young people, including activists from Millennial Activists United and Lost Voices, led mass protests in both Ferguson and St. Louis in honor of Brown, Vonderrit Meyers and Kajieme Powell—two local youth killed by police—and other victims of police violence. Moving forward, we are working to build local coalitions—from student networks like St. Louis Students in Solidarity to the strengthening of relationships among young activists in St. Louis, Ferguson and other areas of St. Louis County—to build upon the momentum gained over the weekend.
2. Demilitarizing America
On October 3, as thousands prepared to head to Ferguson, students of the Community Rights Campaign in Los Angeles held a vigil, “From Ferguson to LA: Demilitarize Our Communities,” to honor the lives of the many young people who have died at the hands of law enforcement. The program that supplies military weaponry to St. Louis, the Department of Defense’s 1033, recently delivered a Mine Resistant Ambush Vehicle, sixty-six rifles and three grenade launchers to the Los Angeles School Police Department. Los Angeles schools are not a war zone. We demand an immediate return of all the weapons and a complete inventory of the weapons the LASPD has in its possession. Over the past eight years, we have fought successfully to curb truancy ticketing, ban the use of willful defiance and secure a new police protocol to decriminalize student discipline. Now, we are ready to demilitarize LAUSD and all police and build a movement for power and respect for black and brown communities.