Listening to “Voices of Grief and Struggle”

“We were totally alone. No one helped us.”

“Will you stand with me? That’s all I ask.”

“I am ecstatic that citizens all across the country are coming together.”

“Because when one life is lost: ‘OK, well they’ll stop protesting in a little while.’…So we have to make sure that when we are protesting, we are protesting so that the nation can feel it….The nation needs to feel it.”

“Those badges and guns belong to us. Every time they kill they kill in our name.”

Below are four stories from “Voices of Grief and Struggle,” Dec. 9, 2014, organized by Code Pink, Hands Up Coalition DC and Mothers Against Police Brutality, and others.

You can also listen to audio for the entire program.

Collette Flannigan — Clinton Allen

Clinton Allen (Sep. 29, 1987 – March 3, 2013. Age 25)
Killed by Dallas, TX, police.

Clinton Allen was seven times, including once in the back. Learning that the officer who killed her son had a troubled history and “should never have been a police officer,” Ms. Flannigan founded Mothers Against Police Brutality to organize for systematic changes.

The system isn’t broken. It’s doing exactly what it is designed to do….
We have to be diligent to protect our families…
We have to stop treating our public officials as rock stars….use the tools that are available to us….
Those badges and guns belong to us. Every time they kill they kill in our name.

Deborah Copp Elliott — Archie (“Artie”) Elliott III

Archie (“Artie”) Elliott III (Dec. 8, 1968 – June 18, 1993. Age 24.)
Killed by Prince Georges County Police

Police said Archie Elliott pointed a gun, while he — shirtless, and already frisked — was seated and seat-belted into a police car, handcuffed with arms behind his back. Twenty-two shots were fired, 14 of them hitting him. The officers were acquitted; one went on to fatally shoot another man, and was acquitted.

I am ecstatic that citizens all across the nation are now coming together and are no longer complacent….to pull back the blinders that police have worn for so long, that have caused permanent harm to men of color and their families.


Ms. Darlene Cain — Dale Graham

Dale Graham (Aug. 4, 1979 – Oct. 28, 2008. Age 29)
Killed by Baltimore City police

Ms. Cain speaks about her son, Dale Graham, a law student and father of two. Ms. Cain held up burial for her son while seeking answers: Police first reported they had shot Graham and later said there was no record of his death. She is founder of the organization Mothers on the Move, supporting others who have suffered similar losses and lobbying for external monitoring of police.

We’re gonna support each other. We’re going to fight together. We’re gonna change some laws. We’re going to make a difference, together.
Can you help me? Can you stand with me? This is all I ask.


Rev. Wanda Johnson — Oscar Grant, III

Oscar Grant, III (Feb. 27, 1986 – Jan 1, 2009. Age 22)
Killed by San Fransisco transit police.

Rev. Wanda Johnson speaks about her son, whose last words were “You shot me. I have a four-year-old child.” Oscar Grant, III, was attempting to speak up for a friend who was being mistreated by police when he was shot by transit police on Jan 1, 2009. The incident was videotaped and is the basis for the film, Fruitvale Station. The officer eventually received an 11-month sentence in county jail as charges were reduced from murder to involuntary manslaughter.

We must work together to make it known that all lives matter. And the only way that’s going to be brought to the forefront is when the economy feels what we feel. Because when one life is lost: ‘OK, well they’ll stop protesting in a little while.’…So we have to make sure that when we are protesting, we are protesting so that the nation can feel it….The nation needs to feel it.

Rev. Johnson works, through the Oscar Grant Foundation, in her son’s name.

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