The African community of St. Petersburg, FL, led by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), claimed and renamed the street where 18-year-old TyRon Lewis was murdered by the pigs exactly 20 years ago to the date on October 24, 2016.
The historic street-naming ceremony commenced as over two dozen Africans of the community, including the family of TyRon Lewis, gathered in front of the Uhuru House in the evening and marched to 18th Ave to rename it “TyRon Lewis Avenue.”
When TyRon was murdered by killer cop Jim Knight in 1996, the black community rose up in a rebellion known by many as the Battle of St. Pete.
During the Battle, working class Africans fiercely fought the pigs. Black people burned police vehicles to a crisp, bloodied the cops and took down a pig helicopter after the pigs attempted to attack the Uhuru House.
Chairman Omali Yeshitela of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the Uhuru Movement played a critical leadership role during the African rebellion and has been fighting for justice for TyRon every step of the way.
When asked if the Uhuru Movement received permission from the city, the Chairman responded, “they didn’t ask this community before they killed TyRon Lewis, so no, we don’t need any kind of permission.”
He added, “this city has never shown any culpability.”
The Chairman demanded Black Community Control of the Police as he explained how the pigs are an “external force that comes in and occupy our communities.”
He described the relationship between the pigs and the African community in the U.S. as an “anti-democratic relationship.”
A powerful African Ceremony shows decades of struggle
Members of InPDUM led the march of over two dozen members of the community holding a bright yellow banner with a photo of TyRon. The banner boldly announced, “BLACK COMMUNITY TO NAME STREET AFTER TYRON LEWIS.”
The words “killed by St. Pete. Police” was displayed below TyRon’s young smile.
TyRon’s son, Tyron Lewis Jr.––who was only one year old when his father was murdered––was present. He powerfully marched with the street sign bearing his father’s name resting on his shoulder.
Deanna and Pam Lewis, TyRon’s sister and mother, also marched behind the banner with his cousins and other members of the community.
The procession arrived at the corner where TyRon was murdered.
TyRon Lewis Jr. helps to plant the street sign in the ground. Chairman Omali, Deanna and Pam Lewis looks on.
Collectively, they planted the TyRon Lewis Ave & 18th Ave South street sign as family members took turns shoveling dirt and concrete to anchor the sign in the ground.
Drivers who passed by honked their car horns and raised their black power fists to show their unity with the renaming of the street. Passersby stopped to listen.
Friends of TyRon spoke through the megaphone to recollect him and the rebellion sparked by his murder.
The African community took self-determination into our own hands just like we did 20 years ago.
The 20th anniversary of TyRon’s murder is a time not only to reflect on how we Africans live the same colonial reality where we are killed daily by the pigs, but to also remember what Africans can achieve when we organize and resist.
The time has come for every African to have the word self-determination on the tip of our tongues.
We must begin to take control of our communities. We must struggle for power over our own lives.
As Chairman Omali states, “We are going to defend our right to exist. The street sign is one example of that.”
The Struggle For Self-Determination Must Be Made!
Long Live TyRon Lewis!
We Are Winning! We Will Win!
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