In January of this year, I found out that a member of Why Accountability, one of the core organizing groups leading the FTP actions, is an active duty parole officer. As a collaborator with MTL+/Decolonize this Place, at the time, I immediately reached out to a member of the collective. The conversation was brief and quite disappointing, learning that this member of DTP already knew about the WA member being a PO, and that it was ok due to the fact that this person was vouched for by a trusted member of Take Back the Bronx. An argument of “none of us being pure” was used, saying that we all work in contradictory roles in our lives while doing movement work. The conversation ended in disagreement, and I was told to reach out directly to the member of TBTBX to talk more on the matter. To be clear, there were only a few members of DTP that were part of the FTP core organizing. I was not a part of this, and was only supporting by attending the actions.
About a week later on January 11th, the musical group I was formerly a part of at the time, Mahina Movement, was asked to perform at the FTP Solidarity party at Crystal House, to which we did. This was before I had an opportunity to reach out to the member of TBTBX, however this person also later attended this party as well. Later that night, my comrade and myself were confronted by this member of TBTBX, with much intensity we were asked “who the fuck is talking shit about said WA member, saying this person is a cop?” We responded w/ concern over a PO being vouched for within an FTP movement. There was claims that this was shit people already knew. Both my comrade and I present made it clear that we just found out this information as two people participating in FTP actions. There was only more threats after that, “well know that the BX has this WA’s member back” and “you would do it for yours, right? Well we doing it for ours” This person was also angry at the fact that we would not tell them where we got this information, we felt that none of this mattered if it was just gonna bring other comrades this confrontational energy, and especially because what we were raising about this person’s position was indeed, factual. At the time, I was a stand for trying to de-escalate the situation, and for there to be a larger discussion with other active organizers who never consented to this. I asked this member of TBTBX if we could meet up to have a better conversation in another setting, and we agreed. After all, I knew this person and this person’s partner. We have spent time with them on multiple occasions. I was able ease the tension, in the same conversation, we checked in w/ each other by asking how we were each doing, even talked about our dogs, and the confrontation ended after that. My comrade and I still didn’t feel good about how it went down, and we left the party shortly after.
A few days later I had a conference call with other members of DTP, the entire collective was not present, however those that were organizing at the core of FTP were. There seemed to be some frustration, and distrust around me having had a prior conversation with trusted comrades. To which I felt similarly for the larger collective not knowing about an active PO in the movement. Ultimately, the conversation ended in disagreement, I was told that DTP didn’t have a problem with the WA member’s job, and that they would continue to work with FTP formation. I was told again to reach out directly to the trusted member of TBTBX to talk more on the matter.
Soon after, I reached out to this same member of TBTBX via a signal thread, following up about meeting in person to talk. We agreed to a time and place to meet that week. However, later that same day, I got another text from this person about not feeling good about any of this, and I was texted, “I don’t want to talk to you, I want to talk to who is sending you.” Quite frankly, an insult, as if I did not have my own agency in the matter. Though to be clear, the issue at hand was never about owing me an explanation per se, it was about the harm this was causing to other black organizers in the abolitionist movement. Also not to mention the younger generations uprising in a rage against this system only to fed into it all while being led by a person who benefits from the Department of Corrections. Since there was refusal to talk me, I sent a long text that I also sent to the DTP collective, all points that I was ready to bring up to this person face to face. This unleashed a disgusting thread of messages all over a signal thread, instead of an actual face to face conversation. Some of the things said were the following, “tell your hipster friends to get the fuck out of my city”, “go back to the suburbs where you came from”, calling me a gentrifier that comes here, steals apartments, jobs, and then wonders why people become correction officers, cops, and parole officers. That shit is complicated in the hood, and people need to do what they do to survive. I am well aware of what people need to do to survive, and becoming a part of law enforcement is not one of those things. Not only were these statements such bullshit arrogance and bully behavior, but it is also an anti-migrant, nativist, stance that erases why people have to migrate, or even why queer and trans people have to seek refuge outside of where they are from, in many cases forcibly displaced. All this especially coming from someone with such academic privilege, access to this knowledge, and social capital. We definitely exchanged more words, so infuriating that it’s all difficult to recall, honestly. I was even sent a screenshot in this thread of another conversation to which neither of us were part of, an effort to try and persuade me about a comrade lying about just finding out about the PO, telling me that I was being used, and that I was ignorant.
I later sent a text to the MTL/DTP core signal thread being infuriated by the exchange of texts I had just had. A statement about the matter, addressing there being an active PO within FTP formation, them being ok with this, and taking a neutral stance in the situation, was drafted but never released to the public. I felt pretty gaslit by a group of people I was once called comrades, some of which I’ve known, and collaborated with for nearly a decade. I was told not to screenshot or share the statement with anyone else, even though this was a general statement to the group, it was pretty clear that I was the one this message was being directed to, even when I had never done that before. The gaslighting continued when we were asked thoughts about the statement, I said it was important to add the defensive behavior that anyone who questioned this was being met with, only to receive a response that I can say that to this member of TBTBX myself, even after having shared the violent interaction I just had with this person over text. I was left hurt and disappointed by all this. Regretfully, I still tried to maintain some of these relationships by inviting folks to a gathering at my home, to which was ignored by all but one member of the collective who responded to me directly. As communication continued within the thread, increasingly my messages felt ignored and disregarded. I call on Decolonize this Place to acknowledge their complicity in all this from your silence that has put others in harm’s way, and to support in meeting the asks of the Black femmes who have survived this.
When I found out about what happened w/ the No New Jails NY chapter’s meeting being raided by members of TBTBX, WA, and a member of People’s Cultural Plan, I text the DTP core thread letting them know that I was stepping back from participating in FTP 3. That, along w/ some other messages were ignored, and some time soon after that, I decided to leave the thread for good, and distance myself from DTP. I am now no longer affiliated with the collective, and will not work with them again. I did nothing else to try and resolve the matter, I felt pretty spent from it all. I decided to no longer share space with anything in relation to the FTP formation.
After all this, while enduring some personal hardships, one very difficult one, was the ending of my co-collaboration with the musical collective Mahina Movement. Then, the pandemic happened, I had no more energy to give to anything else, other than urgently needing to tend to matters regarding the safety of my immediate family being affected by covid-19. All which has been one of the hardest, most traumatic experiences of my life, that I’m still dealing with currently.
Fast forward to June 2020, after the queer liberation march, while finally having a moment of ease, after many moments of high tension through out the day, including having burning arms from being pepper sprayed by the pigs earlier that day at Washington Square, we endured more violence in a place, that for many queer and trans people, is a space of memory and sanctuary, the Christopher St piers. We were violently approached on Pride by this same member of TBTBX mentioned above, ready to fight, the first thing said by this person was “y’all thought I wasn’t gonna find your asses!” No one was ever hiding from this person, not even a little. This person with no mask on, was yelling in our faces, not only highly provoking and threatening us, but also putting us at major risk while we remain under a global pandemic. I must say that this deeply enraged me, because I have immediate family members that are immunocompromised people, and because of this, I have been being so careful. My good friend, whom I consider a part of my queer family, stepped in between TBTBX member and the people threatened with physically assault, they violently continued by intentionally misgendering my family, even with them having known each other for years, calling them a “rich girl” along with other baseless insults. This TBTBX members’ partner and partner’s friend ran from behind and held back the TBTBX member from causing any more harm, it was a heated moment where lots of people were yelling back as this person got in our faces. There was a moment where this person was in my face saying “you disrespected me by questioning my vouch.” I was taken back by the level of arrogance, and knew then that all these older generations refusing to take responsibility, and instead escalating, needed to be addressed publicly. While my Family, outraged, and telling them to back up, the partner of this person then began to say that me and my comrade also present “didn’t know how to keep our mouths shut” even named and used another member of Mahina Movement in the situation saying “even your friend said to keep your mouth shut” and that I never tried to talk directly about any of this, to which I responded by trying to initiate a conversation in spanish, and quickly the partner was pulled away by the member of TBTBX while whispering something in the ear, it was clear this person was not allowed to talk to me, even with having expressed interest to do so. Then, after pulling their partner away, the same person came back around and put their hands on my other family/comrade present, breaking their glasses, and knocking over their bike. While this was fucking violent, unacceptable, and terrorizing behavior, let it be known that no chakras were aligned, nor was there any popping off in sight that happened, in fact I was quite confused by someone who clearly had injured wrists wanting to fist fight. The fight was immediately broken up by people putting their bodies in between, myself included, and resulted with the people who enacted violence backing away themselves. In the heat of the moment, I lost my shit from what had just been done to my family, and I had rageful words for this person. During this back and fourth, I was told to go back to New Jersey. They continued backing away and we never moved from where we already were for some time. The entire time there was cops standing by taking videos, and pictures of the altercation that they never intervened in.
I deeply don’t trust this defensive, turned violent, and destructive behavior. I question what this person means whenever a land acknowledgment is done. Clearly, colonial borders are imposed by telling me to go back to New Jersey, when we were both born and raised on occupied Lenape land. I also later found out that when another member of my queer family raised them having a PO in their ranks, they responded with “don’t talk about that here” and that is when they began to back away themselves. These actions from older folk who call themselves leaders of the FTP movement are counter-revolutionary, and divisive. Their weak arguments, weaponization of anti-blackness, and gentrification, erases the harm done to other Black and queer organizers in this ongoing situation. It erases the forced displacement that Black, Indigenous, poor working class people face on the daily across turtle island, and globally. A line was crossed, and I won’t stand for it anymore. I refuse to stay silent on the matter anymore, and will face whatever is to come of this statement. I will protect my Family, and myself. Similarly to what my comrade stated, I sign this statement with my own name, and to let it be known publicly that anyone who associates with TBTBX, or WA, is no friend, or comrade of mine.
In Solidarity and struggle,