NY councilmen propose curfew bill to criminalize and attack African youth

NEW YORK — Two city council members in New York recently announced their proposal for a citywide youth curfew bill. If approved, the bill would make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be outside without adult supervision between midnight and 6:00 a.m. More than 80 percent of all large cities in the U.S. already have similar laws which effectively place young “citizens” under house arrest after dark.

Proponents of curfew laws are quick to argue that they are just trying to protect children from the streets and keep them out of the hands of predators and violent offenders. Or, they’ll tell you that similar laws in other states have been proven to reduce juvenile crime. However, objective studies show that there are no statistics to support the claim that curfew laws reduce crime committed by or against children.

The solution to crime among youth or any sector of our community is not additional containment by the police. Crime doesn’t exist because kids are hanging out late at night or because parents aren’t doing their jobs. There is crime in our communities because we have no access to the resources created from our labor and no real form of economic development.

The truth of the matter is that the youth curfew is simply another tool used by the ruling class to control the masses and to specifically target young Africans who are already stigmatized by society as delinquents. No matter how much the legislators and politicians lace their anti-African curfew bills with ‘do-gooder’ rhetoric about the welfare of the young, we all know that it will actually work to the detriment of the African community.

Africans demand control of community and end to police containment

Curfew laws rob Africans of our most basic democratic rights, taking power out of our own hands and further subjugating the decision making power of African people. They speed up the process of criminalizing our youth, serve as yet another license for police occupation of our communities, and continue the U.S. government’s policy of counterinsurgency against the people.

They claim that any violation of the curfew law would lead to the under-aged “offender” being escorted back home or safely held until a parent or guardian could come pick him/her up. But history has taught us that the relationship of the police department to the African community is anything but safe, and that enforcement is selective and discriminatory.

Even before the bill has been officially proposed, there is already talk of “targeted policing” in “areas of concern” — in other words, the bullseye is on the African community. While white suburban violators of the rule will receive a slap on the wrist, children in the African community will be quickly swept up into the criminal system.

Statistics show that African youth are up to six times more likely to be imprisoned than white youth, even when faced with the same offense and have no prior record.

These curfew laws undermine parental authority and seek to put guardianship of African children into the hands of the police regime. Our families are already targeted by social welfare programs aiming to kidnap our children and discard them into the destructive foster care system. Now, they have more reason to enter our homes and dictate how our households should function.

Parents can no longer have the responsibility of setting limits for their children. If a parent knowingly sets a child’s curfew after the state mandated time, they can look forward to their son or daughter being picked up, forced to do 25 or 50 hours of community service, and the parents can be fined from $75 to $275.

We cannot allow the State to criminalize and attack our children, putting them under what is effectively house arrest, under the guise of “police protection.”

We see this police “protection” every day as these cops harass and terrorize our youth on a regular basis. Police “protection” in African communities usually means police terror, like in London where eight police “protected” Roger Sylvester “for his own safety” and he ended up being beaten to death suffering brain damage and heart and kidney failure.

Young Africans subjected to court lynchings for meaningless violations

The U.S. government is getting more brazen by the day about their counterinsurgent attacks on Africans, and the young amongst us are increasingly bearing the burden. Already, we are forced to interact with the police force on a daily basis as school monitors are replaced with gun toting pigs. Students spend their days in a hostile climate — walking through metal detectors, being monitored by closed-circuit cameras, and being susceptible to searches of their belongings and person.

Disciplinary infractions that once earned detention and a note in a student’s folder, now lead to official citations from the police and the establishment of a criminal record before they even leave the school grounds. Young Africans are already being booked for everything from loitering and truancy, to the catch-all “disorderly conduct”, which often equates to nothing more than hanging out. An unprecedented number of African students are being run through the police system at an ever-increasing rate.

If this bill is successful, the NYPD can soon add curfew violation to the list of ‘offenses’ that warrant dragging an African child into the police station. Even if no official charges are filed, it allows the police to add their names to a database of “potential future offenders”.

With a record on file for meaningless “violations,” the cops can claim even more justification in profiling and targeting African youth. It further guarantees that a larger percentage of our population is tied to the criminal justice system in one way or another, and at a younger age.

In addition to the physical harm that police interaction can bring, it is important that we not discount the psychological impact that this forced interaction with the police has on us. They are essentially training us, from childhood, for a life of military containment, and convincing us that we are crooks that must be watched at all times.

We go to school and are monitored by cops, ride the trains and are watched by transit police, and get off the train to be greeted in our neighborhoods by the same racist and violent police force. Our children and our people in general are under constant police supervision.

This police occupation is a weapon used by the government to further the counterinsurgency against the African community. The curfew laws are just another attack on our democratic rights as a people. The U.S. government revokes our fundamental rights to make basic choices, including what time we go in and out of our homes, forces us to face an antagonistic military force from dusk to dawn, imprisons and murders as many Africans as possible, and effectively demoralizes those that are not behind bars.

Their aim is to kill the spirit of our freedom fighters and ensure that the African working class is excluded from political life and revolutionary activity. Every brother or sister that gets locked up is a potential Garvey, Malcolm, Assata, or Lumumba that’s not on the street to organize our people and wage war against the system that oppresses us.

Another strategy of the ruling class is to create artificial class divisions within the African community using the old school antics of house negro verses field negro. They line the pockets of a minority of our people in an effort to convince them that the American dream is available for all so-called African hyphen “Americans,” if we would just play the game right.

We’ve got a whole sector of the community that’s bought into these “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” ideologies that teach us that if we can just work twice as hard, and save twice as much, go to the right schools and join the right clubs, talk right, act right, and look right, they will let us have stuff and we’ll somehow get free.

This is the reason you’ve got Africans like Bill Cosby, who are aligned with the ruling class, getting up to tell us that the reason we fail out of schools is because we speak “ebonics.” Instead of looking to the school system that mis-educates, criminalizes and demoralizes our youth on a daily basis, Cosby would have us blame parents for not instilling values that support a colonial education.

The ruling class uses the media and these Uncle Tom, puppet “Black leaders” to persuade the masses of African people that we are our own worst enemy. The government tries to make us believe that we create and maintain the horrible conditions that we live in because we don’t behave in the correct manner, because we listen to rap music, because we wear our pants too low or we spend too much money on jewelry.

But the real criminal is the U.S. government and all the imperialist nations that attack Africans around the world and continuously rob Africa of all its resources. We’re not poor because we waste our money; we’re poor because while we work for slave wages that barely feed us, all our wealth is being siphoned from our Africa.

Crime exists in our community because they take all the jobs out of our communities and pump drugs into the hood as the only means of economic survival for our people.

Long live African Internationalism! Black power to the African community!

We need to be clear that all these devices of the government are used to keep us from focusing on the only true struggle that exists, the fight for our freedom. So long as we all believe the hype that Africans are the real criminals, we won’t flinch when they murder an African in Brooklyn or Oakland because “he was probably a thug anyway.”

As long as we buy into these false divisions that tell us that an African born in the U.S. is different from an African born in Jamaican or Nigerian or London, then we won’t react when a million Africans are butchered in Rwanda; we won’t raise hell when the U.S. stages a coup in Haiti.

All of these are deliberate policies used to prevent the completion of the African Revolution because they recognize that it will be the final blow to their world system of colonial domination.

But even with all their tactics, we must organize for our own self-interests as Africans. We have no choice but to struggle for control of our education, control of the police, access to our resources and true economic development.

Our foremost jobs as students, parents, workers and community members must be to organize and fight for our freedom. It is the only way to ensure the liberation of our people and guarantee any true future.

Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement today and bring the true criminals to justice.



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