On Black Friday last November, Black Lives Matter activists participated in a peaceful, non-violent, three and a half hour BART service shut down.
They stood together on the platform that day to shut down BART to protest the killings of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and countless others who have been victims of the cycle of police brutality, mass criminalization, and incarceration faced primarily by black and brown communities.
Fourteen activists were arrested that day, and initially, the Alameda County District Attorney and BART’s Board of Directors were demanding that they pay $70,000 in restitution to BART. Now, BART officials are instead considering asking for community service or a restorative justice alternative. However, we must join together and stay strong in our demand that BART drop the charges altogether.
As we all know, BART has a long history of attacking and disrespecting black and brown communities. In 2009, BART police killed Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man. Last year, BART police beat and arrested Nubia Bowe, a young black woman suspected of dancing on the train.
By pursuing criminal charges against these Black Lives Matter activists who were expressing their first amendment rights, the DA and BART’s board of directors are clearly showing that they value commerce and money more than black lives.
Please tell the District Attorney and BART’s Board of Directors to drop the charges against the #BlackFriday14 by signing Black Lives Matter and Black Out Collective’s petition on ColorofChange.org.