Chattanooga CCJ: ‘2015 a year of resistance’
On the 86th birthday of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. birthday, The Chattanooga Concerned Citizens for Justice made a strong statement in front of Chattanooga city hall.
Ash-Lee Henderson was the main speaker.
"2015 is the year of resistance and resilience and CCJ is going to be a huge part of that," Henderson said.
This small group of activist are part of a growing national movement that’s addressing what they see as injustice toward African Americans. It’s no coincidence that Concerned Citizens for Justice along with their affiliates in other states made their public statements on Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday.
"We’re saying that we are going to reclaim MLK this MLK holiday. It’s part of the reason we’re making this statement today on his birthday. Then on January 19, people will be in the streets all across the country participating in direct action; participating in civil disobedience because we think that’s what Dr. King would have done," Henderson said.
The local group and others like it are essentially telling local governments and law enforcement that if 2014 was the year of protest; 2015 will be even more surprising.
"We challenge ourselves and those in our community to take risk as we confront the many ways that black lives are diminished and taken from us; whether that be from police violence; through gross educational and economic inequality; gentrification and displacement; and mass incarceration or multitude of other ways," Henderson said while reading a statement in front of Chattanooga city hall.
Concerned Citizens for justice has many critics who say that many African Americans in Chattanooga are the ones diminishing lives through violent crime against other African Americans. But Henderson said that statement is coming from people who use gang violence as a distraction from the real issues feeding black on black crime.
"Jobs; funding of good education; giving extracurricular activities; all of these solutions that could come from our city would eliminate crime. It would eliminate poverty which is one of the ways in which crime is happening in our community," Henderson said.
Unfortunately, those proposed solutions require millions of dollars; dollars that don’t grow on trees.