Aug 24, 2020
Families of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Trayvon Martin Press Conference Transcript August 24
The families of Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, and George Floyd held a press conference on August 24. They discussed Breonna’s Law, Jacob Blake, and social justice in Kentucky. Read the transcript of their remarks here.
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Reverend Stephen Green: (04:15)
Good morning, family. Good morning.
Audience Member: (04:17)
Good morning. [crosstalk 00:04:21].
Reverend Stephen Green: (04:23)
I need everybody to take a second to ensure that you are socially distant. I need one mic. We want to thank you all for gathering. As we prepare to begin, if you have a seat, we ask that you take it. Thank you so much. [inaudible 00:04:46]. [inaudible 00:05:24]. (silence). [inaudible 00:08: 21].
Speaker 1: (09:53)
Sabrina. [Jasare 00:09:55]. Ms. Kenny. Natasha. [crosstalk 00:10:04].
Reverend Stephen Green: (10:16)
What is that noise? [crosstalk 00:10:22]. Somebody’s feedback? Thank you so much.
Speaker 1: (10:28)
[crosstalk 00:10:28] this way we get more people [crosstalk 00:10:33] come on in. [crosstalk 00:11:25]. Bianca, don’t stand to the back.
Reverend Stephen Green: (11:34)
I don’t know whose frequency is doing that, but we need you to help us out. [crosstalk 00:11:41]. Excuse me, whoever feedback that is, we need to handle this before we have this press conference. All the technology people, if you can just make sure that your sound is where you need it to be. [crosstalk 00:11:57]. (silence).
Reverend Stephen Green: (14:25)
[inaudible 00:13:42]. (silence). … to let the nation know today that we are united in purpose, united in vision, and united in our assignment. Today is a day of policy and teachings. Our state representative is here, who has introduced Breonna’s Law into the legislature here in Kentucky. We intend to take this across the nation. You’ll hear more about this today, but we are just thankful for your presence and we invite you to be a part of this conversation.
Reverend Stephen Green: (14:57)
Who will help spearhead our conversation today is one of the most fearless freedom fighting soldiers of our time. One of the co-founders of Until Freedom, Linda Sarsour, will continue to lead us through our day today. Let’s give her a hand as she comes.
Linda Sarsour: (15:20)
Good morning, everyone. As a Reverend Stephen Green said, my name is Linda Sarsour, L-I-N-D-A S-A-R-S-O-U-R. I’m one of the co-founders of Until Freedom, and today I want to start this press conference by sending condolences to the family of Trafford Pellerin from Louisiana, who was just shot. I also want to send prayers for full recovery to Jacob Blake shot at the hands of the Kenosha Police Department.
Linda Sarsour: (15:50)
Even while we stand here today before all of you with families who have lost their children and loved ones at the hands of the police and vigilantes, this continues to happen. This is not a story of the past and what has happened before, this is what continues to happen. That is why we are here in Louisville, Kentucky.
Linda Sarsour: (16:10)
What you will hear today is nothing short of remarkable, the courage and strength of families who not only fight for justice for their own loved ones, but came here in solidarity with Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, to let her know that they stand for her and stand with her and will continue to demand justice, not only for their own loved ones, but for Breonna Taylor.
Linda Sarsour: (16:32)
This is not just a fight for morality. This is not just a fight for justice. This is a fight for transformative change. I’d like to introduce to you the only black women legislator in the entire state of Kentucky, who is working on, and has presented to the legislator, Breonna’s Law. Please give it up to Representative Attica Scott.
Representative Attica Scott: (16:58)
Audience Member: (17:01)
Representative Attica Scott: (17:02)
Peace and blessings to you. I am State Representative Attica Scott. I filed Breonna’s law for Kentucky because we have to end the home invasions, or what are commonly called no knock warrants, across Kentucky.
Representative Attica Scott: (17:17)
Far too often, people think that black folks are only in Lexington and Louisville. Black people are in every single one of our 120 counties in Kentucky. Every single one. Breonna’s law for Kentucky would mandate that when a law enforcement officer is involved in violence against the people they are supposed to protect and serve, that they have to submit to alcohol and drug testing. You don’t get to wander off for an hour or more. We don’t know where you are, what you’re doing.
Representative Attica Scott: (17:45)
The third piece of Breonna’s Law for Kentucky would mandate that before a warrant is served, five minutes before, five minutes after, those body cameras have to be on. We pay far too much of our taxpayer dollars for those body cameras not to be used.
Representative Attica Scott: (18:03)
Now we’ve already been attacked by the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police for Breonna’s Law. They didn’t attack the white man who talked about filing a no knock warrants bill. They didn’t attack Rand Paul for talking about filing a no knock warrants bill, but they have attacked us.
Representative Attica Scott: (18:20)
In fact, they had the nerve to align Breonna with violent drug dealers in one of their latest posts, in one of their latest attacks. But we will not back down.
Audience Member: (18:31)
That’s right. [crosstalk 00:18:33].
Representative Attica Scott: (18:33)
We’re going to keep fighting. In fact, today I’m sending a letter to the leadership of the House requesting a hearing before the session begins in January on Breonna’s Law.
Representative Attica Scott: (18:47)
Finally, I want to give it up to Pennsylvania Senator Kearney, who has filed Breonna’s law in Pennsylvania. This is a policy movement that is going to go all across the country. I have no doubt about that. I appreciate everyone who has supported Breonna’s Law for Kentucky. We will get it done.
Linda Sarsour: (19:16)
Thank you so much, Representative Attica Scott. We are in full support as Until Freedom of Breonna’s Law. We will work to support the local community here across the state with calling campaigns, working directly with our partners at Grassroots Law Project and others to help build the momentum that Representative Attica Scott and her colleagues need in order to make sure that legislation gets passed.
Linda Sarsour: (19:38)
Next up, I want to introduce to you the co-founder and our leader at Until Freedom. We are here in Louisville, Kentucky living indefinitely until Breonna Taylor gets justice, and it is because of the vision of this woman. Please give it up to Tamika D. Mallory.
Tamika D. Mallory: (19:58)
Good morning. Yes, we are living in Kentucky indefinitely. I don’t know who came up with this plan, but I’m now forced to stick to it because I said we were going to do it, so we are here.
Tamika D. Mallory: (20:10)
It’s been really good. It’s been a great experience to be here in Louisville, not just to be here supporting the family, which is obviously why we came, and we will continue to do that no matter where we are in the world, but it also has been a humbling experience for us to stretch with that beyond our comfort zone, to leave our homes, to leave our families. I’m happy that my son came down to join us this weekend, so it brought a little bit of home to fill up my stomach and make me feel good. I’m happy for that. But we have left our families behind.
Tamika D. Mallory: (20:48)
There are a number of leaders who came from across the country. I don’t want to start naming folks, because I’m going to forget people, but I will say that one of our dear brothers has joined us here, who I have just a soft heart for. And that is a young man who was one of the leaders on the ground in Ferguson. We all know the Ferguson movement is where we really began to see what young folks were made of in this new time within the civil rights era and social justice fight. And that is our brother Tory Russell. Somewhere. Wherever he is. [crosstalk 00:21:24].
Tamika D. Mallory: (21:24)
Just want to make sure that, and there are a number of other folks who have come together from across the country. We’ve all been working together. We’ve smiled together. We laughed together. We’ve cried together. The other night, when we were feeling a lot of stress, we prayed together. We believe that a family that does all of those things together can fight any battle. We are on the battlefield.
Tamika D. Mallory: (21:53)
BreonnaCon, where some folks may not have understood what it is that we were trying to accomplish by having a conference this weekend called BreonnaCon. First of all, some folks were a little confused about the name or felt uncomfortable with the name, to be clear. What we know is that con is short for convention. I understand that some people may have heard of Comic-Con at one point, and that is one of the brands that is deeply associated with con. But since that time, you now have heard Politicon, Justice Con, Boss Con. What is happening is that people are beginning to use the word con and it is stretching beyond where it started to being more of a culturally competent opportunity for people to have dialogue around a number of issues.
Tamika D. Mallory: (22:43)
We strive. Everybody has to know your audience. Until Freedom is very specific about going to places where folks don’t usually go. We are very intentional about bringing people into this work who are not always on the front line. They’re not always protesting. They don’t necessarily have entry points into the work. Maybe they feel that they’re not invited that they won’t be included because they’re dancing on a pole at night or standing on a street corner in the daytime. Our goal is to draw those people in, so we can change their lives and get them to be a part of this movement that is about them as well.
Tamika D. Mallory: (23:22)
You may not understand our mission. Some folks may not understand why we do things the way that we do. But what we know is that at many of the events that we had and the activities this week, we’ve met people who said, “I’m from this town, but I’ve not attended a protest. I’m glad that I learned more about what it is that you all are doing. I’m going to say Breonna Taylor’s name.”
Tamika D. Mallory: (23:45)
I also want to say that Breonna Taylor is not just a young woman who was killed. She’s a young woman who had a life. Beauty and entrepreneurship and all of these things is a part of the woman who was and the community that she left behind. That’s why we came here to be diverse. We protest for sure. We the first ones that will go out there and protest. But we also understand the importance of uplifting a community and giving people the vital tools that they need to feel a part of this work. That’s what BreonnaCon is about. Run tell at everybody. Tell them what I said this morning. Tell them that we are not online on social media. We’re outside in the street for real. One of the things we have learned, and we’re being joined by Pastor Tim Findley, Kingdom Fellowship Church.
Audience Member: (24:42)
Hey, Pastor Findley.
Tamika D. Mallory: (24:46)
Who has been one an incredible ally of ours. Thank you, Pastor Findley for coming. Thank you. I know we called you 10 minutes ago and told you to hurry up because we forgot. Sorry. But as we have been out canvassing in the community here, we’ve done for the last two weeks, we’ve served at least 4,000 families just with our produce and farmer’s market alongside someone who has quickly become my dear sister in this town, and that is a Sadiqa Reynolds, the President of the Louisville Urban League.
Tamika D. Mallory: (25:27)
We put together an operation and through the support of folks nationally, through the support of relationships that our brother, [inaudible 00:25:36] has, and others, we’ve been able to service the community.
Tamika D. Mallory: (25:40)
One thing we realized is that everyone wasn’t going to come to us to get their boxes of produce. We had to go out into the community. And while we were out canvassing, informing people about our work, informing them about Until Freedom, bringing them food and trying to service this community and be good neighbors, as Linda says, we saw the same thing we see all over the country. Everywhere that black folks are concentrated, where we live in our communities, we are starving. People are starving. We’re starving for resources. We’re starving for attention. The communities are neglected. Grassroots organizations, like the ones that are listed here, the ones that we have learned about, the people we’re working with in this town, they’re doing a darn good job, doing the best that they can, such as all of us across the nation.
Tamika D. Mallory: (26:34)
But until we get proper reparations for the harm that has been caused to our people, we will never be able to heal what we see happening, whether that be the gun violence that’s going on in our communities.
Tamika D. Mallory: (26:48)
Yesterday, we attended an event. I was told by attorney Lynita Baker that there was a gun violence event honoring families who have lost loved ones, and that we needed to show up there. So so along with Porsha Williams and Yandy Smith-Harris…
Tamika D. Mallory: (27:03)
So along with Porsha Williams and Yandy Smith-Harris and others, we went together to this event. If you don’t know, anyone from the media who was here that did not cover yesterday’s event, you need to make sure if you didn’t that you find out because it was the most beautiful moment. I cried. It was just a special moment to see families bring the shoes of their children to the steps of one of, I guess the courthouse, was at a courthouse? To the courthouse to bring shoes there and lay them on the steps. And one of the mothers who lost her own child walked by and pointed to the shoes and the family members would yell out the names of those persons that used to wear those shoes and talk about their children.
Tamika D. Mallory: (27:50)
And what I realized is that that story, it may not be the same event, but there is an event very much like it happening all across this nation where black people are. And we are not born savages. We are not born killers. There is something that happens in our communities and it is called starvation. Poverty is in fact violence. And that is what we are experiencing as a nation. So when we come together, you damn right. We come with everybody. We’re not a group of people that’s just organizing with protestors. We’re bringing influencers in because you could be shy. We’re bringing politicians in. Everybody is invited to this fight because we all could have been Breonna Taylor and we all could be the three year old baby that was shot and killed in this town. We all could have any of those experiences at any time, just because the color of our skin says so.
Tamika D. Mallory: (28:48)
And so we are, again, glad to be here. I want to say to you as I close that America has to deal with us. And I think this summer has shown that we are not going back. We’re not going back. I saw our sister, Tiffany Laughlin, is here from the NAACP and I think your campaign, you all’s campaign is “We’re Done Dying.” We’re done dying. We are done dying. And I think this summer has shown that even in the face of tyranny, even since we’ve been in this town, helicopters flying around, we’ve been under heavy surveillance everywhere we go, unmarked cars, all that we’ve experienced, which is literally terror, because the bottom line is that we’re here because you summoned us here by killing our sister. We didn’t just show up in this town because we had nothing else to do. We had to come here because there was no justice for our system. And so if you give our sister justice, then maybe we can go home. And that’s happening across this nation.
Tamika D. Mallory: (29:58)
But we have to be dealt with. You will not distract us. Your trolls will not distract us. Your special forces will not distract us. Some of us have decided that we are willing to die on the battlefield for what we believe because we are either dying in our homes or we’re dying on these streets. And I for sure would preferred to stand up and die in that way than to have you shoot me when I wake up out of my sleep. So thank you all families for being with us today. We brought these families together because this fight is not just one family’s fight. We need to be able to show that from city to city, state to state, the hell that black and brown people across this country and particularly black people are facing, it has not stopped. But we ensure you that we will continue to press forward until justice rolls down like a mighty river. Thank you very much.
Linda Sarsour: (31:04)
Next up, I want to introduce to you a brilliant woman, a daughter of Louisville, a fighter for justice, someone who’s unapologetic. And I’m so proud to know her. We are so proud to know her at Until Freedom. Please welcome Lonita Baker, Esquire, who is one of the attorneys representing the Breonna Taylor family. We’re also joined by Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, Bianca Austin, who is the aunt of Breonna Taylor, and also nationally recognized and one of the most brilliant freedom fighters in this country, someone who unapologetically fights for black people and all people every single day, Benjamin Crump, Esquire.
Lonita Baker: (31:59)
United we stand, divided we fall. That’s the motto for the state of Kentucky. United we stand, divided we fall. And in this fight, the fight that we’re currently in right now, that’s the only way we’re going to get through it. All of us have to stand together to get to the finish line, to stop the attack on blackness in America. To get there, we can’t have irresponsible people who call themselves leaders telling us to withhold our vote because it’s more important than the race that’s just at the top of the ballot. We have races down the ballot. And in Kentucky, are we calling those people down the ballot to say, “Hey, where do you stand on Breonna’s Law that’s been introduced? Are you going to vote in favor of Breonna’s law?” And if they say yes, they need to state it publicly so that everyone knows where they stand. Now that’s not the time for silent allies. [crosstalk 00:32:56]
Lonita Baker: (32:56)
It’s not. We can’t accept you being on the sideline saying, “We support you.” We need you to stand up. We need you to be vocal. We need you to vocalize that support to say, “It’s not right to bust into someone’s home. It’s not right that our police officers are not being drug tested after any officer involved shooting. It’s not right that police departments get to investigate themselves when they are the aggressors.” Right?
Lonita Baker: (33:29)
And in order to stop this behavior, we have to change the laws so that we don’t have another Breonna Taylor, so that we don’t have another Philando Castile, so that we don’t have another Alton Sterling, so that we don’t have another Jacob Blake. We have to change the laws so that we can quit having the hashtags. So United we stand, divided we fall. And that’s where we have to do it at the ballot box in November. I’m going to turn it over to attorney Benjamin Crump, my co-counsel. [crosstalk 00:34:08]
Benjamin Crump: (34:21)
Tamika has been a little shy this morning, but let’s give her love and tell her we stand with her. Thank you to Attorney Lonita Baker, one of the best kept secrets in Louisville, Kentucky. [crosstalk 00:34:42] I know. [crosstalk 00:34:47] You all are starting something. It is certainly appropriate that we’re here, Until Freedom. And so grateful to the leaders, Queen Tamika Mallory, Queen Linda, [inaudible 00:08:15], the general, and all the leaders of this great organization to have us at Simmons College. You see, [inaudible 00:35:29], this follows the precedence that has been set before how we achieve change in our community is when the educators, the preachers, the lawyers, and the activists all come together for a common purpose. And the purpose is to speak up for our children, to stand up our children, and to fight for our children. Because if we don’t do it, we can’t expect anybody else to do it for our children. So thank you, Until Freedom, for leading the way.
Benjamin Crump: (36:13)
And it is with a very heavy heart that we are here. I think it has been alluded to what happened in Lafayette, Louisiana with Trey Pellerin. Even though they are grieving and heartbroken, Tamika, they asked that I let you know that you’re in their prayers because you all, as I’m sure many who are gathered behind us, are in a fraternity that no parent wants to be in. You saw that video. I mean, he had 11 officers following behind him and they thought the only thing they can do to de-escalate a man who is having a mental health crisis is to put 11 bullets in his body. And it’s all on video. But yet they continue to try to justify this legalized genocide of colored people. And then you all just saw tears in Wisconsin. You saw Jacob Blake, and I was talking to his father, his name namesake, Jacob Blake Sr. And as hard as it was for him to think about his son being shot seven times point blank range while the officer was holding on to his tee shirt, my son. I mean … What he said, Reverend Green, the hardest thing he was dealing with is that his three grandsons, his three year old grandson, his five year old grandson, and his eight year old grandson was in the car as his father attempted to get into the vehicle. And they did this in front of them. Now, can you imagine what kind of psychological problems these babies are going to have for the rest of their lives? [inaudible 00:00:38:51], we call it racial battle fatigue.
Benjamin Crump: (38:56)
I mean, we saw it throughout our history. We saw it with Emmett Till, we saw it with Reika Boyd in Chicago,. My lord, we saw it with Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, all the way up to Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. So I join my co-counsel, Attorney Lonita Baker, saying we got to act. We can’t let people divide us. We got to be united because they picking us off. They picking us off one by one. I mean, think about the names who they picked off. The Laquan McDonalds, the Alton Sterlings, the Philando Castiles, the Sandra Blands, the Atatiana Jeffersons, the Eric Gardners, The first I can’t breathe case. I mean, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Rayshard Brooks, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Stefan Clark, Ayana Stefan Jones, seven years old in her apartment just like Breonna was. A no knock raid.
Speaker 2: (40:39)
[crosstalk 00:40:39] Pam Turner.
Benjamin Crump: (40:40)
Oh my God, Pam Turner. One of the worst executions. They picking us off, brothers and sisters. And if we don’t get united, all of us get united with a plan, they might pick your child off next. [crosstalk 00:40:55]
Benjamin Crump: (40:55)
So yeah. I want to introduce to you all a woman who has come to epitomize how you grieve with dignity and grace, a woman who is here not only for Tamika, but was also for so many other parents who were executed out there, her 17 year old son was executed after he was profiled, pursued and shot in the heart while talking on a cell phone, walking from 7-11. And she’s going to be joined by the nephew of George Floyd, who was like a surrogate son to him, who came all the way from Houston, Texas, Brandon Williams. Tamika, you knew her well because you were there when we all were saying, “I am Trayvon Martin.” Please open your hearts and give a welcoming round of applause for a lady who has lived it all, Sybrina Denise Fulton, Trayvon’s mother.
Sybrina Denise Fulton: (42:42)
First of all, I want to say that families are standing together. Families are uniting. We are no longer taking our kids that are deceased and going home and being depressed and suicidal. [crosstalk 00:43:02] We are going to stand together. We’re going to stand tall. We’re going to be here for these families, such as my family. We are going to do this. This is a struggle. This is hard. You guys don’t really understand what it’s like to stand up and be heard. You don’t understand what it’s like to stand your ground in your own home. A lot of times we see these tragedies happening because they are not stories, because we can’t end that. These are tragedies that are happening. And you have to search your heart. I want to tell America to search your heart and think about if Breonna Taylor was your daughter and the police came in your daughter’s home and shot and killed her. How would you feel? What would you want the law to do? What laws would you want applied?
Sybrina Denise Fulton: (44:07)
We have to think about those things. We can’t be selfish and just think about ourselves. We have to think about somebody else sometimes. America does not want to deal with the ugly truth. They don’t want to deal with racism. They don’t want to deal with discrimination. They don’t want to deal with racial profile. They don’t want to deal with all of those ugly things, but they are happening right there in front of your face. You can’t ignore it any longer. We have to be active. We have to get involved. We have to participate. We have to continue to stand for these families.
Sybrina Denise Fulton: (44:44)
And right now I want to take just a moment, just a moment of silent meditation for not only Breonna Taylor and her family and her mom, but everyone that’s in this room and everyone that’s listening that has lost a child through senseless gun violence. And there’s no accountability for it. So I just want to take, just pause for one moment. If you could just close your eyes for one moment and just thank God that we able to still fight. And to all the families who have lost a child, never give up. Keep fighting. Keep pushing forward. On your sad days, be sad. On your days you cry, cry, but then get back up. We got to get back up. We got to keep moving forward because the beat goes on. We got to continue this fight. We got to continue this struggle. And it’s not easy, but we have to do it. And we can do it together. We can do it united. And we can do it. We definitely could do it. God bless you all.
Benjamin Crump: (46:27)
And Linda, Brandon is shy too,, Tamika. So [inaudible 00:46:34] is going to come up with them and say a brief word on behalf of his uncle, who was like a father to him. [inaudible 00:46:45] get together.
Speaker 3: (46:48)
That’s why he said brief, because he know I’d get up here and start preaching.
Speaker 3: (46:52)
On behalf of the family of George Floyd and all of the families that stand here today, let’s be clear about one thing that my sister Tamika said. I wish I had a minister around here. I think Reverend Ryan is up here. And there’s something to be said about the new generation. Joshua said that he’s not waiting 40 years. And so when you see these young folks out here pushing, pushing for a new message, a new agenda, they may organize different, the same way that I stand here with my brother, Brandon, Moses also had somebody, and his name was Aaron, Pastor Ryan, that said that if you cannot speak, I will send you a communicator.
Speaker 3: (47:35)
And so when people get upset that folks are coming in and what they call outside agitators, they were sent to be a communicator for those that couldn’t speak for themselves. So if you don’t like it, get used to it and buckle up because we’re not waiting on you to figure it out. And we’re not waiting no 40 years for you to get it together. And we ain’t begging and we ain’t pleading, we bossing. So either you with us or you not. We looking for allies and soldiers. Allies are good, but soldiers are better. It’s called having soldiers on the frontline is a soldier in the [inaudible 00:48:13] today. I don’t need no allies. In the military, I want a soldier, an M60 gunner with 100 rounds on my shoulder. And that means we straight shooting. I don’t mean literally, but I mean spiritually, every principality that tries to stop this group, every spirit that tries to deter. Let it be known that we are standing on a rock and there’ll be no going back. There’ll be no turning around. And if you don’t like it, then just go ahead and bow out now. The sidewalk was made for you because we in these streets. Get on the court, because we in the streets doing drive bys. Not literally, but mentally doing drive bys.
Speaker 3: (49:01)
That was brief. [crosstalk 00:49:09] Thank you on behalf of the Georgia Floyd family and Brandon Williams. This young man is 29. Young man that came out and wanted to stand. Thank you so much, [inaudible 00:49:21], to make sure that he was involved. That’s really important. I want to say this before I sit dow. As you organize on behalf of these families and in the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and all these other, reach out to these families because they need to be … Tamika, [inaudible 00:49:36] made sure, I want to make sure that George Floyd is here. It’s not about just saying their name. It’s about making sure they got a seat at the table, to make sure they’re involved. And for those who work in views on social media, Breonna Taylor’s family was involved on this entire event. Nobody making no moves without the family being involved.
Speaker 3: (49:51)
Now go ask the media when the last time they asked for a comment. Go ask the media when the last time you said, “Well, what do Linda got to say about it?” Or did you just write the article on Linda without a comment? Did you just write an article on Tamika without giving the comments? So let’s not start here. I’m wrapping up. He hitting me on my back. Let’s not start talking about who don’t get involved. Because everybody that’s standing up here, we standing with these families and they’re standing with us. Now the question is, where do you stand? [crosstalk 00:50:16]
Brandon Williams: (50:15)
How you all doing? First off, I want to thank everybody for having me, especially the Until Freedom organization. They’ve been nothing but gracious and kind to me. I appreciate you all for having me. So thank you to everybody involved. I’m not here to make it about George Floyd or certain individuals, but I believe it’s a major issue going on in this country and it needs to be addressed. There’s no way that … I mean, several families here and it’s all for basically the same reason.
Brandon Williams: (51:05)
Change needs to happen. And it’s only going to happen if we come together. I’m just thankful to be there, to just stand in support with you and your family and the rest of everybody that’s here. It means a lot. And hopefully this sparks what needs to be done and what should have been done a long time ago. And I’m looking at you in front of you with your shirt on, we are done dying. We tired of it. Change needs to happen right now. We’re no longer waiting. They can’t keep getting away with what’s going on. It’s getting caught on camera now and they still trying to deny the facts. It’s unbelievable. So thank you all for having me. [crosstalk 00:51:51]
Linda Sarsour: (51:55)
Lord have mercy. Next step, I want to introduce another young man, an attorney who also is part of a new generation of people unapologetically fighting for black and brown people here in our country. He’s also joined by the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Tatiana Jefferson, Anton Rose, and Jemel Roberson. And his name is Lee Merritt, Esquire.
Lee Merritt: (52:29)
Good morning. I’m going to go ahead and be joined by a few people. I’ll start with my brother here. Sean King and I grew up together, went to Morehouse together as students. And we started doing justice work before we knew what it was. And he’s holding a very special young man, his name is Tristan. Tristan traveled here with me from Chicago and Tristan’s dad was a security guard. His name was Jemel Roberson. He was the quintessential good guy with a gun. And he stopped a mass shooting at a time in the country we were hobbling from mass shooting to mass shooting. It was the same month, really, as Sherman Oaks. It was the same month as Tree of Life. And a young man entered a club in Chicago and began indiscriminately picking off patrons and Jemel sprang into action. He held the shooter down and he waited for the police to arrive.
Lee Merritt: (53:35)
When our militarized police, when our murderous police arrived, who have proven that they lack the training or competency to engage the black community in any meaningful way other than violence, they shot his dad four times in the back, killing him. His father was a hero, a national hero, a treasure. And Jemel Roberson should have been enough.
Lee Merritt: (54:02)
Jemel Roberson should have been enough. Trayvon Martin should have been enough. I have so many stories and so many families, and I’m sorry, that is a curse word. It’s not story. Thank you, Sister Sabrina. So many tragedies joining us here. We don’t want this club to grow any bigger. We want Breonna Taylor to be enough.
Lee Merritt: (54:24)
I’m joined here today, and if Ashley, if you don’t mind, come and stand with me. I’m not going to make you say anything per se. My AKA sister, Ashley has become a part of my extended family. She’s from North Texas. I’m tempted to say you’re from Fort Worth. Is that fair?
No, I’m from Dallas, Texas.
Lee Merritt: (54:47)
From Dallas Texas. Like the HBCU we stand in today, her sister was an HBCU or a historically black college graduate from Xavier University. Her family was so proud, and they remind me so much… they’re [inaudible 00:55:06] but they’re close friends. And their family reminds me so much of my family. First generation.
Lee Merritt: (55:13)
When my sister started talking about the Joshua generation, who said they weren’t going to allow poverty to hold them back. They weren’t going to allow societal limitations to hold them back. And they began to break barriers. The first in their family to graduate high school, the first to attend college, the first to plan to get a graduate degree. And while she was home taking care of her mother playing video games with her seven-year old nephew Zion, she left the door open. She left the door open to get a cool breeze. A neighbor noticed the door open, knowing that an elderly woman stayed there, he called to see if someone could just go by and check. And the Fort Worth Police Department came to attack Atatiana Jefferson’s bedroom. They crept through the back of the home and they shot her through the window, killing her.
Lee Merritt: (56:05)
We’re joined here by the family of Antwon Rose, Michelle Kenney, who’s been a mother to me. I call her Mother Kenney. And Michelle is standing for her 17-year-old son, Antwon Rose. And I can remember the first day I met Michelle. I sat down on her couch. Her son hadn’t been buried yet, and we just talked. We talked about my dad. We talked about Antwon’s Dad. We talked about how hard he had to work to not only get out of the circumstances that he was born into, but to lift others up as he went. And Antwon Rose was preparing to be such a leader for the community of East Pittsburgh, but our best and our brightest are being killed.
Lee Merritt: (56:54)
And Antwon Rose, on the day that this officer Michael Rossville was sworn in, on the first day that he was sworn in, and he took an oath. Hours later, he shot her son in the back as he ran away. He was unarmed. And this community of women have learned to support each other, and unfortunately the number continues to grow. I can’t even say most recently now, because if you just give it an hour, the police are going to kill someone else.
Speaker 4: (57:31)
Four times a day.
Lee Merritt: (57:34)
Four times a day on average in this country, which makes it the deadliest police force in the modern world. Do you all understand that no nation kills or incarcerates more of its citizens period.
Speaker 4: (57:45)
Lee Merritt: (57:46)
This is a genocide, and we haven’t seen the genocide play out in such stark terms as the broad daylight murder of Ahmaud Arbery by a legal system that said that that was okay. And I’m so thankful for Wanda Cooper to join us here. If you don’t mind, just come and stand with us.
Lee Merritt: (58:09)
Wanda Cooper Jones is a pillar of strength, and grace, and dignity. And every time these families come together and stand with each other, they heal a little, and they hurt more. Because hurting is a part of the healing process. They all wanted to be down here to stand with.
Lee Merritt: (58:31)
Honestly, we told them… Sabrina asked them to come up and with that mother calling, to stand with Breonna’s family. This is not the first time, this will not be the last time. We don’t need new bodies. We have enough tragic stories to go around. And if we are going to declare an end to it, we [inaudible 00:58:52] in the names of the bodies that already exist, and in the names of the people still yet to come.
Lee Merritt: (58:59)
We have to stop this culture. We are done dying. And when we say we’re done dying, that means we don’t move past Breonna Taylor’s case when they tell us that their laws won’t allow for justice. Change your laws.
Lee Merritt: (59:15)
We won’t move on past Breonna Taylor’s murder until the people who murdered her go to jail. Until the laws all across the country… And I appreciate the sister mentioning that now it’s spreading. That Pennsylvania is considering the Breonna Taylor’s law. Because we know that there are so many families in Pennsylvania that are set up to join this club, and we want to we want to close membership down.
Lee Merritt: (59:41)
We believe that this stops here. And so I thank you all so much for standing with these families and giving us the opportunity, not only to share our suffering, but to join you all in this fight. We believe that we are stronger together, and we will do whatever it takes to end membership in this club.
Lee Merritt: (59:58)
We do not have to live in a culture where police on average kill four people a day. That is not acceptable. And so we declared that it’s over now, and I want to give these women, this baby of this community, a chance to stand together, to speak to you all and share with you our vision for the future. Thank you.
Michelle Kenney: (01:00:25)
I wasn’t prepared for this, and I see [inaudible 01:00:27] down on me. [crosstalk 00:06:29]. We say this all the time, and I really do mean this. We don’t need any more members. This club should be closed. When my son was first murdered, Attorney Lee, he was in Pittsburgh within 24 hours, thank God, because I was lost.
Michelle Kenney: (01:00:49)
So when we tell you that you don’t know what this feels like, not only do you not know, you don’t want to know. You do not want to ever have to bury your baby. And my son was my baby. So to all of the mothers here, I think I have spoken to every single one of them. What the world didn’t know was y’all bonded us. You bonded us for life. By killing us, you connected us. So for that, I’m grateful because now I’m not alone. I got mothers that are going through the same thing I’m going through.
Michelle Kenney: (01:01:27)
And whether it’s a bad day or a good day, I got a phone [inaudible 01:01:30] then I could pick the phone up and say, “Today is not a good day.” And to the police, they keep killing us. Just pray one day that it’s not your child. Because right now, it’s ours, but we can’t predict the future. So this club could be [inaudible 01:01:48] by some folks that don’t want to be in it. And the only thing I say to everybody is keep fighting, because I’m here for a lifetime. They took my son’s life. I’m here for a lifetime. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4: (01:02:03)
Lee Merritt: (01:02:04)
And I’ve been fortunate to be able to stand in this fight, as I mentioned earlier, through every case through my entire career, my brother has been with me, Sean King. And we have walked so many families through this tragedy.
Linda Sarsour: (01:02:13)
Lee Merritt: (01:02:13)
I’m sorry. [Lydia 01:02:19], if you want to introduce him? I’ll take the baby and I’ll let you guys handle it.
Linda Sarsour: (01:02:22)
Reclaiming your time.
Lee Merritt: (01:02:23)
Reclaiming my time.
Linda Sarsour: (01:02:24)
Trying to act like Sean King’s just his friend. Thank you, Lee, and to all the families that have come up here. We got your back 100%. I wanted to give a shout out to [1Hood 01:02:38] who’s here and our brother [inaudible 00:08:39]. Because we have soldiers and warriors allover this country. And those are soldiers and warriors from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So we see you 1Hood, and all the great work that you do every day.
Linda Sarsour: (01:02:52)
This fight is for everybody. Everybody has a role to play in this fight. Everybody who has a platform has a responsibility to fight for the very people who gave them those platforms and put them there. And so we stand here with Sean King, co-founder of Grassroots Law Project, someone who has risked his life so that he could bring justice to the many people who have been harmed and impacted by vigilantes, white supremacists, folks who have said things against our communities to hold them accountable and to stand with the many families.
Linda Sarsour: (01:03:23)
So he has a big platform, but Sean knows how to use it. And so when we see his role in this movement, we see the work that he does. Not everybody got to be with Sean King, but we understand the importance of his role in this movement. So we want to give it up to Sean, and we want to give him this platform. Sean is our friend.
Sean King: (01:03:44)
Hello everybody. First and foremost, I wanted to say, I’m not an outsider. I was born and raised in Kentucky. So I lived here for 20 years, and this is my home. And I just want to make a very simple point. I was actually trained as a high school teacher. I bump into people who think what I do is post on Instagram, but I was actually trained as a teacher.
Sean King: (01:04:12)
I taught high school history and civics. I taught for three years in Atlanta’s jails and prisons full-time. I just want to teach just for a moment. Louisville’s system is not broken. There’s a tendency for us to often think that what we’re dealing with here in Louisville, what we’re dealing with in Kentucky, and what these families are dealing with all over the country is a broken system.
Sean King: (01:04:37)
But when a system is broken, what that means is that that system was designed well, was well intentioned, and has deviated from the way it was designed. That’s not what we’re dealing with. And so when you approach a system that’s broken, you approach it with bandaids, with tinkers, with little adjustments.
Sean King: (01:04:58)
What we’re dealing with is not a broken system. We’re dealing with a system that was designed to function this way. And so often what we fight for are adjustments and repairs. Well, that’s what you do to a broken system. You adjust it and you repair it. But this system that we’re fighting against was designed to oppress us.
Sean King: (01:05:22)
It’s not broken, it’s functioning exactly the way it was imagined, created the way it was funded to work. And so often what we experience is that in spite of all of our good efforts, the little adjustments, you can slap a body camera on it, and they’ll still do it.
Sean King: (01:05:41)
You can have a cell phone, with we just saw, and it continues. It’s because the system is actually functioning the way they intend it function. So yes, we’re here to call for justice for all of these families who’ve experienced it, but what we’re actually calling for is a complete dismantling of this system.
Sean King: (01:06:04)
When we call for defunding, what we’re saying is that this nation shows its priorities every single day. So when a city like Louisville, a county like Jefferson County or a state like Kentucky says, “Well, we care about children..” What we’re saying, show us that in the budget.
Sean King: (01:06:23)
When people say black lives matter, well, we want to see how black lives matter in your budget. Show us how black lives matter in your policies. And what we understand is that the policies, the budgets don’t match the rhetoric. So we are here to dismantle these systems from the bottom up.
Sean King: (01:06:45)
And as we stand with these families, we’re also calling here in Louisville, and here all over the state of Kentucky. We’re calling for a complete re-imagination. I’ll close with this, of what public safety means. Listen, if you go to the safest communities in Louisville, you go to the safest communities in Kentucky, you can hardly find a police officer in those communities. Imagine in your mind, the safest neighborhoods in this city, there are no police there.
Sean King: (01:07:19)
Let me tell you why those communities are safe. They’re safe because everybody’s employed. Everybody is well housed. Everybody has access to quality health care. Mental health is actually given treatment. Substance abuse is given treatment.
Sean King: (01:07:37)
And let me really make it personal. They don’t even execute no-knock warrants in those communities. Every single study for 40 years shows that black folk and white folk use drugs at the same rate. Every study shows that rich white folk and poor black folk use drugs at the same rate. But these no-knock warrants and the way they police our communities, they don’t do that there.
Sean King: (01:08:06)
They receive treatment. They use healthcare. They have intervention. And so they define for themselves safety to be one thing, which is access to resources, which is access to quality schools and healthcare, but define for us something totally different.
Sean King: (01:08:24)
And what we’re saying is, we want the safety that Louisville’s safest communities have. We want the safety that America’s 10 safest neighborhoods have, and it’s not police. That’s the safety we want. And that’s what we’re calling for.
Sean King: (01:08:40)
We are so immensely proud that these families are able to push through their pain, to hop on planes, to put themselves in harm’s way during a pandemic, to still not just fight for their own case, but to show each other support and love. Lastly, I’m so grateful for the Until Freedom Organization. They are fulfilling a need allover the country by loving on families, and loving on communities in practical ways. We saw yesterday Louisville felt the love, and it was a beautiful thing. So thank you all for having me. Let’s keep fighting for justice.
Linda Sarsour: (01:09:27)
Thank you, Sean. I want to acknowledge the presence of Dr. Kevin Cosby, who’s the president of Simmon’s College. And want to say to him, we have such immense gratitude for you. And everybody plays a role, and this is your allyship and solidarity and sisterhood and brotherhood that you have shown to us and the families that are here today. So want to say thank you to you on such short notice for opening your home to us. Thank you so much.
Linda Sarsour: (01:09:59)
We’ve talked a lot about police reform, police accountability, or you can’t reform the police, and that’s a conversation about families who’ve lost their loved ones. But we know that the people of Louisville are hurting beyond just police accountability and the police killings that are happening in this area.
Linda Sarsour: (01:10:13)
And there are people here in Louisville, Kentucky who are on the front lines ensuring that the families here in Louisville have what they need. But what we do know is that resources are limited, but the courage is endless.
Linda Sarsour: (01:10:27)
So we want to introduce to you our sister, Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League, who’s on the front lines, working on eviction prevention, making sure families have adequate food and fighting for our families in the city of Louisville, so we could get the reparations and the respect and services that we deserve with our taxpayer dollars.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:10:51)
I am Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, and I am honored to have Until Freedom and all of these people in our community. There are a lot of folks that are saying, “Why are they here? Why are we getting these outsiders?” Well, if we could have got it done, it would have been done. Breonna was killed in March, and we still don’t have justice.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:11:08)
We need to be clear about something. We may not all agree on everything. I don’t know their sign, I don’t know how they vote, I don’t know who their mother is or father is. But what I know is that they came to Louisville and they said, we want justice for Brianna Taylor.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:11:22)
And so then I said, then you and I are alike. I am the president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League. Justice for us means jobs, full access to justice. It means support for small businesses. It means education. It means closing the achievement gap. It means healthcare. It means access. It means recognizing that our people are dying more in this pandemic, and it ain’t because of protests.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:11:51)
Everybody here has a mask, we pull it off to speak. We are protected. It is because of underlying conditions, jobs, justice, education, health, housing. We need affordable housing in this community. We have 6,000 children at a minimum that are homeless in our public school system.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:12:09)
We want access to justice in every corner of this city. And yes, we want police reform. Absolutely. We are tired of police officers responding to people with mental health issues. That is not their job. They are not trained for that. We want you to deal with us. And Sean said it best.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:12:28)
Let’s look at this y’all. In Louisville, you don’t even know how much money we spend on NARCAN. Because when white folks have drug problems, we revive them. Every life matters If your skin is the right color. We have to talk about this in our city. We have got to talk about it. We’ve got to call out the fact that we are willing to revive some people, and some people we are willing to throw away.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:12:53)
When we have been suffering with drug addiction in our communities, what happened? We were imprisoned. It was not a public health problem, and now it is. It is time for us to talk about race. It is time for us to talk about justice. We have to do that.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:13:09)
And to those of you out there who support organizations like the Urban League, and you say, “Sadiqa, but they’re disruptive. These people that have come here.” Let me explain.
Linda Sarsour: (01:13:23)
Come on people.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:13:24)
See, Kaepernick Kneeled for you quietly, silently on a football field and you didn’t speak up for him. You allowed them to destroy that black man’s career. So what we have decided is we can’t find a respectable way to get justice for us in the city, in this community, in this country. So the Urban League, [inaudible 01:13:53] along with all these folks, we are here to say our lives matter. Breonna could have been me. She could have been my daughter. My life has to matter.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:14:05)
And somehow I think they thought… And I’m going to wrap this up. But I got to say. Somehow, I think because there’s been little leaks out, well, maybe Breonna was in a relationship with somebody that use drugs, or maybe this… So you think somehow that she was not respectable enough for us to lover her? To care about her? Come on y’all. We’ve got to be smarter than this.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:14:28)
We are alive in our desire to see justice in this city, and in this country. And it is important for us all to be together on that. White, black, rich, poor, everybody. We have to have it. We have to have it. Our souls must demand it.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:14:49)
So I just want to say this. You need to vote. If you are in the street protesting, you need to vote. If you’re in the street protesting, you need to finish that census. You must do that. We must be counted. If your life is to matter, you have to be.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:15:10)
But to the folks who would say, “We want you to have justice, we just don’t like how you do it.” And folks who would say, “We want peace.” Let me say this clear. You get your peace when we get our justice. And if you have a better idea for how to save our children, how to save our sons, how to save our daughters, give it to us because we’ve been begging. We’ve been kneeling. We have been praying. We have been crying. We have recorded you. We have done everything we know how to do, and our babies are still dying. So listen to me. You want justice, so do we. Give it to us? You want peace? So do we. Give us justice. Invest in our community like you invest in other places. Jobs, small business support, affordable housing, close this achievement gap. And I mean, do it now. I mean now. I don’t mean later.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:16:26)
One other thing. In this country, we have money for everything we want to have money for. So as an example, Ruth’s Chris, Harvard University, millions of dollars in stimulus.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:16:45)
I’m on the fed board, and fed said, so many people that got stimulus funds, that money ended up in savings account. So this country can write checks when it values you. And so it’s time for us to have the investment that we have seen in other places because our country can afford it.
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:17:03)
And let me say it to you like this. We cannot afford not to. All of these people here, we love America. We love this country. I am here in this city. I love Louisville, Kentucky. I gave birth to my two children here. I may die here, but you know what? I have found the thing that I am willing to die doing. Thank you. Thank you Until Freedom. Thank you all. Thank you [inaudible 01:17:30] thank you all. [crosstalk 01:17:34].
Linda Sarsour: (01:17:43)
That’s why I follow black women. One of the things about Until Freedom is we’re not just the protest group. We understand how to organize politically, electorally, we know how to be in the street in our sneakers and beautiful sweatsuits that you’ve seen, but we also know how to put on business suits and walk into a member of Congress’s office.
Linda Sarsour: (01:18:08)
We as Until Freedom know that elected officials work for us, I don’t work for elected officials. We pay the salaries of elected officials. And just to give you an idea, we went to some of the neighborhoods here in Louisville to do food distribution, I had conversations with people. And I would ask people, I said, “Who’s your city council member? Who’s your state rep?” And it’s not because people are uneducated, it’s not because people couldn’t find the information. Here’s what the grandmas were telling us.
Linda Sarsour: (01:18:35)
They said, “I ain’t never seen nobody my neighborhood. I don’t know who they are. I never see them know where I go to the church. I’ve been to the farmer’s market. I’ve been here. I went bingo. I don’t see nobody.”
Sadiqa Reynolds: (01:18:47)
But they knew the Urban League.
Linda Sarsour: (01:18:50)
They did know the Urban League. When we told them come tomorrow when we were canvassing in the West-end of Louisville, we told them, “Come to the urban league to get some fresh produce.” They said, “Oh yeah, we know the urban League.” But in there they didn’t know who the council member was.
Linda Sarsour: (01:19:03)
And so this is not a slight on anyone, it’s a charge and a challenge for elected officials to start knocking those doors and talking to those community members and asking them what they need. And I say that because we understand that this is a high-stakes election.
Linda Sarsour: (01:19:18)
We understand that Louisville has an opportunity from the bottom of the ballot, to the top of the ballot. And there are women across this country, black women in particular who every day wake up to think about, to organize, and to implement power, to bring people together and build power. So that when we come together and have that power, we can put people in office and we can take people at office.
Linda Sarsour: (01:19:44)
So I want to introduce to you one of the most brilliant minds in this country. A woman who we will follow wherever she tells us to go, no questions asked. She can tell me to be on any street corner. And I will be there. LaTosha Brown from Black Voters Matter.
LaTosha Brown: (01:19:56)
LaTosha Brown: (01:19:56)
LaTosha Brown: (01:20:47)
Not are we done dying you can’t kill all of us. You can’t kill all of us. And so as I stand here and I’m thinking, I’m so moved sister, I love you. I love you. And I know it takes courage to even stand here. And the other women that are up here-
Speaker 5: (01:21:03)
… you, and I know it takes courage to even stand here. And the other women that are up here, the sisters got your back. We stand here in solidarity. We pray for you. We stand for you. And we shall fight for you. And so at the end of the day even in this space and as I’m here, we were invited here a couple of months ago, Black Voters Matter. I want to do a shout out to the sisters who actually brought us into DECA. Thank you, sister. She organized for us to come here. I want to thank… We were partners with Black Lives Matter. We’re partners with the Urban League. We were partners with NAACP. I want to give a shout out folks around the election. Let me tell you what I noticed when I was here. So here we are in Jefferson County. We’re in Jefferson County in Louisville where you had 378 polling sites.
Speaker 5: (01:21:47)
But what happened on that particular day where you got 612,000 people who are right in this county that can actually vote, only one polling site, one. And we thought that the word that we heard is everything went well. No. It didn’t. When we got off at the Urban League, the first person we saw was a brother named was Mustafa who said that he had went out to vote that day, but the reason why they wouldn’t let him, he had received a letter on election day saying that he had voted Republican. And so he wouldn’t be able to participate in the Democratic primary. He had never voted Republican in his life and there were 13 other people out there waiting. So things didn’t go as well as they said that it went. Right? That ultimately there is a concerted, coordinated effort, you all, to suppress the vote.
Speaker 5: (01:22:32)
And so what we have to do well, we’ve got to learn from the brothers and sisters from Selma, Alabama, which I stand on their shoulders. We’ve got to resist. And for us voting, this isn’t a conversation about participation. We get reduced the black folks around. We’re going to participate. No. This is about power. Right? This is about our power. And ultimately when we show up, we win. I need you all to hear me. When we show up, we win. It ain’t by accident. So we’ve got to see a way that there are ways that we’ve got to go at this at different levels. Right? We got protest and take it to the streets. We’ve got to longterm organize where we’re building infrastructure in our community. And we’ve got to take folk out that stand in the way of our protest. And the one of the ways we can do that as brother Malcolm said, by any means necessary. And so we’ve got to see the power of voting. Right?
Speaker 5: (01:23:26)
Not as a tool around. Listen. I’ve been doing voting work my entire life. I am the first person up here to tell you that I don’t think that voting is a panacea for everything. That it’s not going to solve everything. What it will do though, I can tell you the difference that when I’ve gone in the courtroom and see a DA that was elected by black folk and a DA that was not, I can tell you the difference in the citizen. I can tell you the difference of when there’s judges put in office. Right?
Speaker 5: (01:23:54)
That is still where people and those judges that have been against the people. So it makes a difference. When you at war, you have to use every single tool available to you so that you can back folks up off you. So I’m going to say, brothers and sisters, not just here in Louisville, not just here, all across this nation. Right? And I know we haven’t brought it up, I’m going to bring it up. We got a fascist, racist president that is in office that is empowering and literally aligning himself with the law enforcement that is shooting us down like we dogs in the street. But what we can do, is we can do something about it, every tool that is available. So it’s not just about you voting. It’s your family. Get the people around you. Take kid. You’ve got to get it. All you all have officially been deputized from this moment.
Speaker 5: (01:24:43)
You need to see yourself. You ain’t responsible for just your one. Be a multiply. Have a multiplying effect. Turn your one into 10. Because at the end of the day, when I say black voters, you say matter. Black voters.
Speaker 5: (01:24:55)
Speaker 5: (01:24:57)
Speaker 5: (01:24:59)
Linda Sarsour: (01:25:06)
Latasha taught us if voting didn’t matter, they wouldn’t be trying to take your right to vote away from you. And the mailboxes. Don’t remind me about the mail boxes. That is a situation. Lord, have mercy. You’re all employers in this room without even you knowing about it, because you employ these representatives in your communities and you could actually make a decision whenever you feel like it at every election that they are fired or hired. So make that decision this time. I want to thank a lot of our friends who are in this room, the Louisville 87. Free the guys, free the girls. Some of the bravest folks that we met out here in Louisville who didn’t even know who we were, but they felt the spirit.
Linda Sarsour: (01:25:56)
They trusted us. And they went with us into the Department of Corrections here at Louisville. And we built sisterhood and family and brotherhood with them. And they have been showing up for us every single day. Anytime we called them, the Louisville 87 from Louisville are here. Want to give a shout out to our friends from the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. I see Shameka here in the room. Transform Louisville Collective. We got folks here from so many organizations, as you can see behind me. There’s No Justice, No Peace, Louisville. Support those young people. They’re fired up. They’re passionate. Need some support, some direction, but they’re out in the streets so we’re very proud to work with all these folks. Tamika said Pastor Tim Finley’s here with us from Kingdom Fellowship Church, a truth teller.
Speaker 6: (01:26:45)
He’s going to be talking tonight. [inaudible 01:26:47].
Linda Sarsour: (01:26:47)
Oh. Yeah. Tonight we got… You just got me there. So tonight we have a mass revival, because we are disruptors, but we are also servants of God. And we are so honored to have pastors not only here locally from the Louisville area, but also nationally who are coming to tell you that we are with you, that God is with you, and no weapons formed shall prosper.
Linda Sarsour: (01:27:18)
So before that, because I’m bringing up a great man up, an ally to us, a brother to us Tuesday, which is tomorrow, August 25th, 2:00 PM. We’re going to meet at South Central Park. We are asking for our sisters and brothers across Louisville and outside of Louisville to come down, to stand in solidarity, to remind people that justice still has not been served. We want you to show up for the family of Breonna Taylor, but also for the many families that have been killed at the hands of the LMPD. And we have not forgotten them. We also want you to come stand with the protestors, 86 days in the streets of Louisville. They’re tired, but their spirits are alive and they need your solidarity. I want you to come and see a protest, say I see you, and come stand with them tomorrow, but we need prayers. Because the LMPD put out a memo to the entire Louisville Metro Police Department.
Linda Sarsour: (01:28:18)
They told the Louisville Metro Police Department every single officer Tuesdays and all work workday, you can’t be sick, can’t have a vacation, can’t take your daughter to the doctor. I need you at work. So we can’t allow the LMPD to out organize us. There’s about 1,500 police officers in the LMPD.
Speaker 6: (01:28:39)
A lot of us.
Linda Sarsour: (01:28:40)
So we hope that we are going to out organize the LMPD because we will not be intimidated by the LMPD, or any police department, or any mayor, any governor or any attorney general in this state. So because of that, we need prayer. And while our movement welcomes all people of all backgrounds, people of faith, and people of no faith, we happen to be people of faith. And so we want to bring up a powerful brother, someone who has been praying justice into the world, praying love and compassion, standing with his sisters in the movement. Give it up to Reverend Jamal Bryant from New Birth Church in Atlanta, Georgia. You’re too fired up. God is ready to go.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:29:25)
The press conference is over. Thank you. Talk about making an entrance. Let me thank Linda and Tamika for doing an amazing job of really putting out front leadership led by sisters. For far too long we have sequestered our sister to the background and I’m grateful that our sisters are leading and that you’ve heard a chorus of a superbad sisters get to the microphone declaring that the sisters are with them. And I wanted to come out and say that the brothers are with you all, as well, and underscore your leadership. I’m thankful for all of our allies and comrades who are with us on today. I’m coming from Atlanta. And I would be remiss if I did not highlight and underscore the presence of Porsche Williams and Phaedra Parks, who are also from Atlanta.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:30:57)
Atlanta up until five months ago was the headquarters for civil rights. But now Louisville, Kentucky is, and we’re mindful of that. That in the time, since Breonna was murdered, John Lewis was killed, killed by cancer. And he was the youngest person to make it to speak at the March on Washington and the last person to die from the March on Washington. So as serendipitous that this week we’re headed back to Washington and young leaders are now taking the stage. And when they wouldn’t invite us to the platform, we built our own stage to make sure that there was space. It is interesting to note that the most noted letter ever written in American history was the letter from a Birmingham jail in which Dr. King had to say to preachers who didn’t get the memo that we’re here because injustice is here. Regrettably, Tameka, that letter written by Dr. King under this postal system would have never been delivered.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:32:05)
It is amazing thing of how it is that we see mailbox are missing, but the deliverers of the mail are not missing. Standing before you are, in fact, mailbox carriers. Those who are carrying the message to the mayor, to the district attorney, the state’s attorney, to the governor, and the president that we can not rest until justice comes. It was amazing that the Bible gave us a sneak preview that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty under God for the pulling down of strongholds. Many of you are wearing masks because you believe that you are under the indictment and the threat of COVID-19, but it’s really the COVID of COVID 1619. President Simmons just reminded us that this is 400 years of slavery, and what a time for COVID to come because COVID is, in fact, a nuclear threat to those of us who are advocates. You’ll notice what it is that COVID requires advocates to do. The first thing that COVID requires advocates to do is to cover your mouth.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:33:16)
They have been hoping that we would be silent over these last five months, but we’ll keep screaming even if we got a mask on. That we will not rest while it is that America is out of order. While we were in this press conference, the Republicans decided that Donald Trump was worthy to hold up their entire party, and yet we will not be silent. The Bible requires of us that we will cry loud and that we would spare or not. We can’t be quiet, because while it is that we are suffering under the affliction of COVID 16. You’ll notice that the police department is following the CDC by only doing one thing, washing their hands. They’re washing their hands as if they are not guilty of murdering our dear sister.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:34:07)
They’re sanitizing their hands hoping that by time we will forget what has happened. But we have assembled here from Atlanta, from New York, from Chicago, from Florida to tell the Louisville Police Department, you got blood under your nails. The blood under your nails is that of Breonna that you have killed senselessly and we will not roll over and play dead. My fifth grade teacher gave me a bit of advice, that until freedom has taken, and that bit of advice that my fifth grade teacher told me is that you’ve got to act like a stamp, stick to it until you get there.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:34:45)
So we’re going to be here in Kentucky until something shifts, until something happens. Last week, Congress called the Postmaster General to come and be accountable to why it is that mail isn’t being sorted and mail is not being delivered. He had no answer. He failed the system, failed the citizenry, and as a consequence, he’s failed the nation. However we’re thankful under God that Linda has reminded us that we’ve got another postmaster general. That when we send him mail, he always delivers. For 400 years, we have been crying out. Over our head we hear music in there. There must be a God somewhere. He may not come when you want Him to come, but He’s an on time god in the time of trouble. He will hide you. He is here. He is not heavy that He can not hear. And His arm is not showing that he can not say. So right now we’re mindful that we’re under despotic president, who is not for us.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:35:51)
We are under a district attorney who was not for us, but we’re thankful under God that if God be for us, then who can be against us. I’m telling you, we have marched. We have cried. We have knelt. But Frederick Douglas said, “I never saw prayers answered until I got off my knees.” Tonight we getting off our knees and at seven o’clock we want all of you to meet us at the waterfront where we are engaging in a high level spiritual warfare, because we understand that when we call on Him, He will answer. I want you to know that we are praying that four people will get arrested in Kentucky. We are praying that this government will not allow another election to get robbed. We are praying that our children will not in fact have to figure out how to get Wifi when they’re forced to learn virtually.
Rev. Jamal Bryant: (01:36:47)
We are praying that our teachers will have a livable wage. We are praying that our workers will have access to capital. We are praying that our students won’t just get scholarships to throw footballs, but to understand engineering and STEM. We are praying that our preachers will not contract prophetic laryngitis and lose their voice for the comfortability of that which is politically correct. We are praying that all of Kentucky will stand as a lamp light to the entire United States of America, that business as usual is not acceptable. And we have waited five months for the mail to be delivered, but tomorrow at two o’clock is coming Federal Express. And you’re going to have to sign for what it is that we are waiting for, because we will not be denied.
Linda Sarsour: (01:37:56)
Federal Express, two o’clock, Louisville, tomorrow, South Central Park. We’re going to be marching on the LMPD Training Academy where the training to execute black people, to racially profile black and brown people, to terrorize community starts. And we will be marching somewhere else, but we ain’t going to tell you all about that. You know us. We just take you with us. Just trust us and go along like the Louisville 87 trusted us. If you’re fired up after Jamal Bryant, he was giving you a little promo for tonight, 7:00 PM at the waterfront. We’re going to be out there. Praying love into the people of Louisville, lifting you up because you are loved. We see you from every corner of this nation. And as Angela has said before, my co-founder, you are the ground zero for the civil rights movement in America right now. All eyes on you, Louisville, Kentucky.
Linda Sarsour: (01:38:57)
There will be history books written about you. There will be little black girls and brown girls and black boys and brown boys that will learn about your names, about your organizations, and about those protesters in the streets. Don’t let them ever underestimate you, and the power that you hold. You are the home of Muhammad Ali. You are the home of Mattie Jones. So let us honor those that came before you and meet us on the streets tomorrow at two o’clock at South Central Park. So right now, don’t go anywhere. I want to introduce to you Leslie Redmond, Esquire and Angelo Pinto, Esquire because we are a movement of activists and organizers, formerly incarcerated folks, hip hop artists, attorneys.
Linda Sarsour: (01:39:40)
We have brought an intersection of the brilliance that our communities have. So we could do this work holistically. And right now we’re about to have the real conversations that need to be had. So we’re going to start moving some things around. So if you want to not drop your microphones and stuff, try to do it really quick. Because we got to get into formation for the next part. So please give it up to Leslie Redmond who came here from Minneapolis. She’s from the NAACP Minneapolis, the president of the NAACP Minneapolis, youngest woman ever in the history in the state of Minnesota to hold that position and a brilliant young woman. Angela Pinto is one of the co-founders of Until Freedom. She a leader. She a most brilliant woman. She told me not to [inaudible 01:40:30] because she wants to get to the [inaudible 01:40:31] But these are our leaders. Thank you, everybody. See you tonight, seven o’clock. See you tomorrow, two o’clock. South Central Park.