Charles Barron on Ramarley Graham and Trayvon Martin: 'This Madness Must Stop'
As New York and the rest of the nation demand answers about Trayvon Martin's death, Councilmember Charles Barron delivered a message on the steps of City Hall this afternoon that was alternatively angry and somber.
Barron, joined by Ramarley Graham's parents and the family of Jateik Reed, asked that the February killing of Graham not be forgotten in light of the Sanford, Fla. shooting. Barron, alongside councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Melissa Mark-Viverito, voiced solidarity with Martin's relatives, calling for police accountability and an end to racial profiling.
But Barron, as well as the other electeds and community leaders present, delivered yet another message: Blacks and latinos had had enough, they said, and tension in New York's minority communities could soon come to a critical point.
Indeed, talk at the press conference quickly moved from Ramarley to riots.
"We're concerned that the case doesn't get lost," he began. "We don't want to forget about Ramarley."
"This madness must stop," he said shortly after. "We're going to unite with all of those families that didn't receive justice."
Using the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Barron described the 1967 riots as "the voices of the unheard."
"You'd better listen to us," he said, directing a warning to Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "[We are] trying to bring reason because our people are fed up. How many times are we going to say 'no justice, no peace?' There are going to be consequences if you don't listen to us now."
Williams, who also spoke at the event, criticized Cuomo.
"At least in Florida, the governor had the decency to come out and say something," he said.
He too attested to growing unease in minority communities, and the need to an end to stop-and-frisk.
"The streets are bubbling," he said. "We are very tired of coming up here to beg for justice"
Mark-Viverito then told attendees: "We want true justice and equality."
"There is this dual system of justice," she said.
Other speakers echoed their sentiments. Communities have grown sick of seemingly endless cycle of violence and the press conferences that come after to decry it, they said. Many Blacks and latinos don't trust cops, they said, and soon won't put up with the shakedowns and beatings.
"We're going to make it uncomfortable in this city," Barron said. "So that business can't go on until there is justice."
The press conference came to a close with shouts of "NYPD, KKK!"
After, Barron explained his comments further to Runnin' Scared: "I think we have to get to the point where business can't go on as usual. We need to get enough people out here to shut the city down," he said. "There's going to be an explosion. Don't blame the social weatherman."
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.