Highlighting & preserving women in Art
The above video is from a couple Months ago at The StreetPoets Den, them monthly open mic that attracts more then 200 people of color from across the city to gather and share time and art with one another. People were not out here stealing, killing, or doing anything else to harm folks. We were gathered in peace and art. Celebrating them any aspects of life through poetry and music.
That sounds fine, sow why write about it ?
I’m writing about it because the NYPD is now coming after us. Living in the city, we commonly see and hear the many acts of disrespect, harassment and brutality the NYPD enforces unequivocally on people of color. Some chalk it up to us deserving of their tactics with the ways that we conduct ourselves towards one another, and people in authoritative positions. And in some situations (but not many), I am inclined to agree. we cannot expect people to treat us with respect if we do not first treat ourselves and each other with the respect we hope to receive. However, this article is not about that. And this is also not one of those occurrences.
The female voice you hear speaking poetry on the above video is me, JeSansChez. I was sharing a very personal piece at the time police came into the venue (illegally) and began to threaten search and seizure, which if enacted, who knows what would have happened? Thankfully, StreetPoets NYC organizers had enough foresight and knowing to shut down Thee Open Mic early, advising folks to leave peacefully. Allowing us to all get to our homes safely.
Allowing us to leave without incident . I thank god for this. Especially considering that just a little over year ago, our beloved Ageless Poet, was the victim of police brutality at the hands of the NYPD. He did nothing to invite their unnecessary beating, aside from being black in Brooklyn, aka “the wrong place at the wrong time”. So who knows what would have happened had we continued with our peaceful good time? With so many outspoken, leaders of our community in one place, I imagine it would have been a scary situation when you consider how police like to handle people who know their rights. . When we have an understanding that the NYPD has a certain affliction when it comes to brown skin people, especially the positive ones that tend to be outspoken in the face of injustice. We’re lucky that nothing happened.
What did happen is the founder, Shadel “Hrsh Reyalitee” Preddy, was served with over $800 in tickets. Violations ranging from failure to produce a liquor license (huh?!?) to Illegal sales and distribution of alcohol (:/). Needless to say, this is a huge hit to the monthly open mic, whose doors are open to everyone in the community & also run a monthly open mic for the youth of BedStuy at the Von King Cultural center. but what can we do?
We can show up.
The StreetPoets, that spread positivity and empowerment of people across this country need your help. On May 7th at 9am, is the court date. We need you there. Whether you’ve ever attended an open mic at the Den or just heard about how amazing it is, we need you there! At the courthouse to show your support for this movement returning the power to the people. We need you to show up and voice your support for young people of color that are empowering each other through Art and commrodderie. We need to show the NYPD and city officials that our community is to be taken seriously, we will not fold under pressure. That we support each other and ourselves. We need to show them that this movement, this paradigm shift, can not be stopped. Will not be stopped. And that harassment is not going to weaken our resolve. That this movement is moving. It will never stop moving. We need to show them that there is strength and power in numbers. That people will not be made to submit tot hose who only wish to uphold the status quo of oppression and degradation of people of color. WE NEED TO SHOW UP!