NOT Calling the Kkkops - EVER
How a grassroots, poor and indigenous peoples-led movement in stolen amerikkklan remains Po'Lice and devil-oper free
by Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia, daughter of Dee, mama of Tiburcio/POOR Magazine
“I’m going to hurt you,” one of our long-time POOR Magazine family members stood in the doorway of our humble office. It was a Wednesday. POOR Magazine, the poor and indigenous people-led, very grassroots, arts family has no programming on Wednesdays. So there were only four of us present, our brother who was under the influence of possibly many substances twisting his already trauma filled brain into places and spaces even he could not control, one of our disabled, houseless elders, my own houseless and under severe stress self and another family member who struggled with multiple mental disabilities. A scenario ensued which had nothing to do with our 18 year long -agreed to, co-created and held rules of respect, a long document with many iterations, which guides us through our mandate to Never call the po’Lice. He did not stop, substances like that don’t disappear or subside quickly from your bloodstream or psyche. Instead they tend to get worse by the second. Violent words were exchanged, followed by a move by the three of us who were sober, to circle around him and guide him slowly back out of the front door. This was just one of countless times our mandate to Never call the poLice was challenged physically, verbally and spiritually,
Not calling the po'Lice is hard, so hard that most people aren’t ready to do it. Relying on the white supremacist crafted notion of “security” which was set up hundreds of years ago to protect the stolen indigenous territory and the settler colonizers that stole it, modeled after the “slavecatchers” of the 1st part of the genocidal project known as the United Snakes, is what comes easy. Not calling them, EVER, is the deep, hard, frightening and ultimately most revolutionary work.
From Betty Jones in Chicago to Cau Bich Tran in San Jose - its not just the evil white supremacists or the benevolent gentrifiers that call the kkkops, its often us calling these paid killers on each other. In the case of many of the most tragic stories of death at the hands of the police, it is us, the poorest, working-class, trauma-filled and most vulnerable among us that make a 911 call on each other because we often say to each other “what else can i do?”
So what else can we do?
Our ancient ways of protecting and loving each other, circling around each others children and mothers, listening and being guided by our elders and ancestors and walking more slowly with intention, prayer and purpose have long been left in the road of hamster-wheel driven success, survival, displacement and the ache of what we have been told we must have and but can’t seem to attain.
So the first answer is to do everything this white-supremacist society has told you not to do. This requires a deep mental and spiritual process of decolonization, prayer and intention which does not happen overnight or easily but rather through a long process of internal work and coalition building. This requires you to very likely “give up” the things that you have been taught will provide you with safety.
US Independence Kills
Then unpack and discard what I call the cult of independence, "bootstraps" and individualism. as well to resist the capitalist push to own things as a measure of happiness like cars, mama earth, clothes and jewelry.
The 3rd answer is to move back home, If your home is safe, if your families and your communities of origin are alive, help them and yourself resist the idea that you should be as far away as you can from the people who made you, who love you and who depend on you. The isolation caused by capitalism-inspired individualism can lead to mental health crises as well as setting up personally unsafe lives. As well, your families need you and your young self and your strength and love and connectedness to help them prevent mental health crises. American style independence kills.
And finally, your families are your elders, they can support you in moments with partners who go get abusive. (*If your families are unsafe then the intention of creating, being a part of a chosen family is extremely important for your survival and thrive)
The 4th answer is to not so much to give up personal safety, which for women, trans-women and children is not a possibility, but to understand deeply and spiritually that the “safety-bringers” aren’t safe. Once this is clearly recognized it will prompt you to speak, collaborate, and coalesce with your neighbors, community, friends and/or families of origin or chosen families to begin accountability circles. , i.e., spaces where we hold each other accountable for our actions. This is a much harder step and requires a long journey with your families and/or communities.
This idea is nothing new. It is actually very old and its what we did as people before we had slave-catchers to “take care” of everything that “scared us”. This is how we walk and live as a poor and indigenous people-led organization at POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE, following and learning from the Black Panthers and MOVE Africa before us who refused to engage with the state agencies in place to kill and incarcerate us.
We launched POOR Magazine’s No Po’Lice/CPS calls mandate when we poverty and disability skolaz began fighting for justice with La Mesha Irizarry over 15 years ago on the case of her sun who was killed by San Francisco Po’Lice after a 911 call for help. POOR Magazine family member and race and disability scholar Leroy Moore, Mesha, myself and many more folks worked for years on mental health training for po’Lice, but lo and behold as we see now with the tragic case of Mario Woods, mental health training doesn’t really stop the paid murderers who are trained to kill us from killing us. So many layers of settler laws and post-settler protections continue to support them in their murderous ways, not to mention the kkkorts that support them once they kill as in the horrible cases of gentrification inspired murders of Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez Lopez. Once you are in their jails, prisons and behind their razor wires you face more chances at their hands of murder such as the murder of Sandra Bland and so many in SF County jail.
This is why, we as a group of displaced, poLice harassed, colonized, incarcerated and profiled, disabled poor peoples of many nations, colors and cultures knew we could NEVER engage with the people who see us as the people to test, arrest, incarcerate and evict. We realized that we needed to create a way to hold each other with love but also discipline. The discipline launched by my strong Afro-Boriken mama who took no mess from no-one and held us together as poor people because she could smell a threat, an issue, a struggle a mile away, her coming from a long line of curanderas and ancestor talkers.
After my mama passed we launched a series of circles. Our elephant circle is where we poor mamas daddys, uncles and aunties decide core issues at POOR. It is also where we tweek and re-tweek our rules of respect which we all created and are all accountable to as it demands respect of and from all of us, no matter what nation, generation or spiritual tradition we walk from. We also launched our Family elders council and Inter—generational councils which holds our family to these principals and our core values determined in our Manifesto for Change and Declaration of Interdependence as well as our 35 page Peoples Agreement which we crafted at Homefulness to hold us to our values and principals at this sacred landless peoples movement we have created in Deep East Huchuin Ohlone land with the permission of Ohlone Peoples. There are many nuances to these circles and age alone does not mean someone is an elder.
We are not just challenged by land-stealers and the family members we love, but by our fellow community, poverty and disability skolaz who have threatened us with all manners of abuse which would lead most people and organizations to the mans kkkorts and killers. We are constantly tweeking and re-tweeking what it means to be people in trauma facing our own trauma and other people in trauma, who don’t solve things by dialing those three frightening numbers or ever stepping into those kkkourts to “resolve our conflicts.
There are other organizations like Critical Resistance who are working on this same issue with powerful anti-state movement building and a group of folks in Oakland working on a first responders “app” which is a powerful idea.
POOR Magazine poverty skolaz created the PeopleSkool program to help folks begin the long process of decolonizing their minds from the settler colonizer lies of separation, independence and “safety”. PeopleSkool sessions happen twice a year in BlackAugust and January. In addition, we are planning a No Po’Lice calls workshop series - the first one will be held in San Francisco on Saturday, September 24th 3-6pm. If you would like to register for this one - please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unable to attend in person we will be holding more workshops across Mama Earth to coincide with the release of POOR Magazine's Peoples TextBook: Poverty Scholarship - Poor Peoples Theory, Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth. Let us know if you would like to set up a workshop and/or book reading in your city, hood or barrio.
As revolutionary mamaz and survivors of po-Lice, case manglers, non-profiteers, prisons and government crumbs we also work as revolutionary social workers with each other to help, protect, care for/caregive, heal, support, and peer educate our fellow mamaz, babies and elders, not ever calling CPS, (Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services) no matter how much the system would encourage us to. This is also VERY complicated and takes both poverty skolaship and strength to realize but we believe this is necessary to truly realize the often spoken but rarely understood concept of the "village".
We are still working on a way to support our fellow sisters and brothers from domestic violence trauma and crisis and this is in progress.
Not Kkkop calling isn’t easy, it seems so much “easier” to dial 911, but then again, its not “easy” to “die” either.