Voices from the BAsics Bus Tour: Day 2, Dinner in the Bronx!
Our BA Everywhere crew had been out in the streets and around some projects of the Bronx on a summer afternoon – taking out BAsics, distributing palm cards, working to bring people into the movement for revolution. We were soaked with sweat and a little tired, but excited about the beginnings of our work in the Bronx and looking forward to a very special night to cap it off.
Our BAsics van didn’t have a difficult time finding the house we were looking for as we drove it down a quiet, tidy street in the Bronx. One of its brick sides is painted in black, with portraits of two young men murdered by NYPD superimposed on the background. A few words under the portrait on the left side had their names followed by the word “EXECUTED.”
The front of the house is painted blue. It contains the names of about 40 people – Anthony Rosario, Hilton Vega, Malcolm Ferguson, Frankie Arzuega, Leonard Lantin, Jose L. Zarete, Patrick (Hessy) Phelan, William Whitehead, Amadou Diallo – above them all the words “in memory of.” A tombstone placed in front of the house said, “In our grieving hearts we acknowledge police brutality and Racial Injustice, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ said the lord.”
Everyone named on this wall was murdered by the NYPD. The BAsics Bus Tour was being welcomed to a dinner by two of the mothers fighting police brutality and murder for a night of warm companionship, stimulating discussions, and heartfelt exchanges about future possibilities that were deep and sprinkled with humor. Ample quantities of delicious food had been prepared. These parents and some other members of their families mingled late into the cool of the evening, along with the BA everywhere crew that had come from throughout the country and other parts of the city. No one who was there will forget this night in the Bronx.
One of the BA Everywhere volunteers said after the event, “there’s a lot of things rattling around in my head. All the people killed. All the people whose names haven’t been recognized here in this city and all around the world would fill up this whole neighborhood and beyond”.