Zaki Baruti, President of Universal African People’s Organization

Being black in America:

We have a whole lot of hardships. Not a whole lot of money in terms of being able to empower yourself with a decent home, healthcare, and education that is progressive. What we have is decay; decay is in communities. Some of us live okay, talking about the “American Dream,” but I’m talking about the masses of people. For the masses of our people they’re getting their butts kicked day in and day out.

Police brutality:

Black people have been experiencing police brutality since there was a police force that came together out of chasing black folks who were trying to escape slaveryPolice brutality for me is disrespect of a citizen verbally because of the badge which can escalate into something more.

Political representation:

You got to have black faces first of all but we need black faces that are true to the community and want to make a difference in our community. So my challenge to everyone is that we need to get up and become policy makers through these various positions as long as we pay taxes in this country and we’re not going to move outside of the bounds of this country, we’re going to have to deal with seasons of power. My organization pushes for the concept of proportional political representation. That wherever percentage we are as a people, we can push for that at different levels of government, state and local; we are to have that percentage of political power.

Ferguson is…one of the many boiling points in America where the root problem of police violence and racism comes to the surface. 

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