In the build up to Damo Day, which was a day of remembrance for the murder of Dominque Franklin Jr. by the hands of Chicago Police Department (CPD), We Charge Genocide held another installment of Radical Education about arts and activism for the community of Chicago.I was requested by the local grassroots and organizations to lead a training about the importance of utilizing art in conjunction with direct action. This was an all day event comprising of different strategic workshops in preparation for the next day. I was honored to be apart of these events to participate, witness and share space with these beautiful souls of Chicago.
The following morning of Damo Day, family, friends and community members all gathered on the anniversary of where he was killed by CPD to gather to share memories, march, celebrate Dominique’s life and to confront the police – who were also present through out the peaceful events. “Dominique Franklin Jr., known by his homies as Damo was born in Chicago. In May of last year he was killed by the Chicago Police Department. He was murdered after being tasered twice in the head which is illegal. Ever since then, there has been nationwide action in his name catalyzed by people in Chicago and organized by the group We Charge Genocide.” – Ethan VanLear
Dominique Franklin Jr. passed away on May 20th, 2014. He was murdered by the Chicago Police Department. He was a brother, a son, a friend, and family of many people in the city of Chicago. We created this event not only to protest the perpetual Racist brutality carried out by the State and all its affiliates, but also to Celebrate the Life of someone filled with so much light. We gather May 20th to greet death with Life. We gather to show the system they cannot take us away without hearing from us. We gather for Damo. The United Nations Committee Against Torture released its report on the United States and its compliance with the Convention Against Torture. Remarkably, the committee indicated it was particularly concerned with reports of police violence in Chicago against young black and Latino people, who are allegedly profiled, harassed and subjected to “excessive force” by officers.
“We went to Geneva as a delegation of We Charge Genocide with the intention of getting Chicago visibly named as a site for systematic, horrific & punitive police violence against Black and Brown youth on a daily basis, and it is safe to say that we achieved our goal,” the organization declared in a statement. The organization was “overwhelmed with gratitude” that police violence was “specifically named as a deep concern.” “While going to Geneva to present our report on police violence against Black & Brown youth in Chicago was not our end goal as We Charge Genocide, we feel a slight sense of relief in the fact that the violence that Black and Brown youth systematically experience every day in Chicago is now getting the attention, internationally, that it deserves, which will only serve as an uplifting foundation in our continued work in challenging police violence in Chicago.”