[sixties-l] Dick Gregory spearheads non-violent protest

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 17:58:24 EST

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    Southern Illinois U. graduate Dick Gregory spearheads non-violent protest


    February 15, 2001
    By Brett Nauman
    Daily Egyptian
    Southern Illinois U.

    (U-WIRE) CARBONDALE, Ill. - Dick Gregory has experienced racism his whole
    life. Now the activist and Southern Illinois University graduate will
    starve himself in an effort to end police brutality against blacks in the
    United States.
    On Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, Gregory began a hunger
    strike. He will not eat solid food until Congress enacts legislation
    forcing police officials, FBI and CIA agents to carry licenses with their
    "If the Ku Klux Klan call me a 'nigger,' I can call them a name right
    back," Gregory said. "If the Ku Klux Klan pulls a gun on me, I can snatch
    it away from them and either whoop or shoot them with it. I can't do this
    to a cop."
    The 78-year-old former Saluki track star said he believes police brutality
    can only be curbed by putting police officers in a position where they
    would have something to lose, namely their gun licenses.
    Gregory, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and other black activists
    have founded a group called "Enough is Enough." The group travels to
    different cities in the United States independently investigating cases of
    police brutality. Gregory said the group has consistently found cases of
    discrimination against blacks in the different cities.
    "White people aren't complaining about black cops shooting their family
    members," Gregory said. "Black cops know white people won't tolerate it."
    In Chicago, the group protested the death of SIU graduate and black woman
    LaTanya Haggerty. She was killed in a traffic stop on June 4, 1999. Police
    said they thought she was carrying a gun, but it was actually a cell phone.
    SIUC College of Engineering Administrator Bruce Chrisman remembers when
    Haggerty was killed. She graduated from the College of Engineering in 1996.
    "We had students in the department who remembered her," Chrisman said.
    "There isn't anything worse for an educator than seeing one of your
    students killed."
    Gregory and "Enough is Enough" also experienced police brutality in the
    community of Riverside, Calif. Gregory, Sharpton and King III were all
    thrown in jail there for protesting the death of Theresa Miller.
    Police shot Miller 14 times when they said she went for her gun in her car.
    Miller was epileptic and in the middle of a seizure when police fired at
    her. Police said they saw drugs in the car causing them to search her vehicle.
    The independent investigation conducted by the black community revealed the
    police planted a gun in Miller's car. Gregory said the family settled out
    of court for $10 million.
    "That money won't bring back their daughter," Gregory said.
    As a longtime friend of Gregory, Chrisman knows how serious he is about
    this protest. He said Gregory has tremendous will-power when he has a cause.
    "He started the fast at 150 pounds," Chrisman said. "He'll lose 60."
    Gregory, who is also a nutrition theorist, has participated in more than
    125 hunger strikes. In 1967 Gregory began a hunger strike against the
    Vietnam War which lasted for more than two and a half years.
    In an average day, he consumes eight lemons, four oranges and three
    grapefruits in their blended liquid forms. He also drinks a cup and a half
    of maple syrup and a gallon of water.
    "As long as you get a gallon your body won't dehydrate," Gregory said.
    Gregory, who lives out of various hotel rooms to accommodate his hectic
    travel schedule, is prepared not eat solid food for years.
    He realizes that many more people will have to participate than just
    himself before Congress will feel much pressure. Gregory hopes big
    corporations will put pressure on Congress to pass the law. In the end
    Gregory said his cause will eventually accomplish its goal.
    "What I am doing represents light," Gregory said. "Police brutality
    represents darkness. Watch a sunset. Sunlight knocks nighttime right out of
    the sky."

     2001 Daily Egyptian via U-WIRE

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