Today my friend Danialle atttended a serious meeting at the courthouse. She has been charged with an "assault" in which she did not touch anyone, but the person accusing her claims she incited others to harass him. Assault. Not involving touch. Resulting in harassment. How does that make sense? About twenty of us who were part of Occupy ICE were waiting with her in the courthouse. This process was just a beginning, not even officially a hearing.
After two hours in the courthouse, we went outside, where Danialle gave a statement to the press, and then as I took this photo, we were hugging her goodbye. Here's her statement:
My name is Danialle James. Some of you may know me as an activist for Black Lives Matter or as a leader and organizer for the Occupy ICE Movement. I feel I have a moral obligation to speak up for those who have been denied a voice. I am seeking justice for people of color in this city, I am calling out the inhumane policies of separating families at the border.
In October of last year, a leaked report from the FBI categorized black activists as a domestic threat, coining the term Black Identity Extremists. This has opened the door for the FBI to target black activists, while justifying the criminalization and surveillance of black people in general. As this repression takes the stage, an infamous and ongoing series of assaults by right-wing and White identity extremists has gone largely unpunished. This city continues to welcome white extremists whose speech truly has incited violence in our streets.
Today I am facing charges that are leveled at me in retaliation for my activism and dissent. There is no hope of factually or logically proving that I engaged in assaultive behavior, and indeed there is a body of video and audio evidence that shows that I did not. Instead, the local media capitalists, the police, and the Court hope to silence my dissent by bringing charges that they hope I cannot counter for lack of economic resources.
This court case represents an attack on free speech. It is an attempt to intimidate all those who would stand up against injustice by using the streets to petition their Government for redress of grievances. It is another blow in a series of five hundred years of oppression against all those who stand in the way of a brutal business as usual.
I have led activists to the best of my ability to bring attention to the inhumane and illegal practice of tearing children away from their desperate and grieving parents. I will not cease in my efforts until this injustice is banned from our government and our society.