Sanford, FL––The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) descended on a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Rally in the small city of Sanford, Florida on July 17th.
The rally was held at the Sanford police station which sits in the heart of Historic Goldsboro, Sanford’s oldest African neighborhood.
Black Lives Matter organized the rally to call for body cameras on police. Uhuru Movement attended in order to give revolutionary line to the attendees at the rally. Our goal was to win people to political organization and to put them on a trajectory towards gaining black power.
InPDUM President, Kalambayi Andenet; Yashica Clemmons, mother of murdered teen Dominique Battle; Comrade David Sankofa of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP); InPDUM’s Senn Maruyama, Cleopatra Zuri and Shango Kofi were the forces that attended the event.
The Uhuru Movement arrived at the event and the eyes of the police were immediately upon us. The police presence was so heavy, the scene looked more like a military operation than a rally. Sharp shooters were perched on top of the police station waiting to use their deadly weapons on the crowd below.
The BLM speaker on stage as the Movement arrived paid no mind to this and gave a salute to Sanford police as being the nicest they’ve encountered.
The other speakers focused on voting, nutrition, the constitution and whatever else fell on their minds. They ignored the fundamental contradictions which Africans face––colonialism.
Drawing the line
The comrades from the Movement approached the stage with red, black and green flags and InPDUM’s “3 Drowned Black Girls” banner.
Yashica Clemmons told the heartbreaking, yet infuriating story of the murder of her daughter Dominique Battle and her two friends La’Niyah Miller and Ashaunti Butler by Pinellas County, FL sheriffs. She was tearful but clear and passionate in her words.
The crowd was visibly moved. The emotion was thick. Comrade David Sankofa’s mother, who was in the crowd, was brought to tears.
President Kalambayi spoke directly to the politics of the issue. She laid out to the audience how voting is ineffective for people without power and representation and called out Hillary Clinton.
She reminded the people how the Clintons are responsible for most of the mass incarceration and police terror we see today.
She wrapped it up by emphasizing the importance of African people joining political organization to fight for contending power instead of relying on a system that never worked.
David Sankofa introduced himself as a native of Sanford. He went on to tell the story of his own false arrest that took place on June 18th.
He openly challenged BLM’s stance on Sanford’s police. He stated “I’m from here and I know that what these police do in front of the cameras and what they do in our communities are two different things.”
He told the crowd how police in Sanford are targeting African people and filling the county’s prison with black bodies. He also called for “Black Community Control of the Police.”
The audience was hungry for the message delivered by the Uhuru Movement. They purchased copies ofThe Burning Spear and signed the “3 Drowned Black Girls” petition.
New members joined InPDUM and even more gave their contact information to be consolidated into the work for freedom.
Escaping hostile territory “The Bush”
Sanford gained international famed in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin. BLM chose to rally in Sanford because of this.
Sanford is a poster child for white power and oppression of African people.
The Trayvon Martin protests brought a bunch of noise yet the city went back to the plantation status quo soon after Al Sharpton the news cameras were gone.
The comrades of the Uhuru Movement saw this firsthand as we left the rally.
The cops had an African man surrounded and outnumbered during a typical traffic stop. The brother was visibly tense as they had his vehicle open and appeared to have already searched it.
The Uhuru Movement began recording the incident and would not leave until we knew the brother would be ok.
The police were aware of this so they loudly announced they freeing him with a warning.
The sun had set and we then knew it was time to get out of “Dodge.”
Comrade David knew the backroads of Goldsboro and got the forces safely to highway I-4 that led back to St. Petersburg.
We jokingly referred to it as leaving “The Bush,” a term President Kalambayi used to describe her hometown of Ferguson, MO during the 2014 rebellion.
Our joking tone was only used to mask our concern over the very real threat we faced at the hands of Sanford police.
Sanford and Ferguson are everywhere. We are all in “The Bush.”
Black Community Control of the Police!
Demand justice for 3 Drowned Black Girls!
Fight for Freedom!