***For Immediate Release***
Rally to defend the Morales-Shakur Center
When: Monday October 21st
Where: City College of New York, North Academic Center
Today October 20th 2013, The City College Administration appropriated a Safe-Space on its North Academic Campus. The Guillermo Morales/ Assata Shakur Community Center is an independently run space that allowed students to congregate and study together. This space was also responsible for community outreach throughout The Harlem Community, facilitating an affordable farm-share and making affordable fresh food accessible, a book exchange for students who cannot afford textbooks, and the housing center for the activities of the Students for Educational Rights and the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee. Using the space, students have won victories such as the 24 hour library and free printing.
Like the Safe-Space in the first floor of the CCNY NAC (North Academic Center), The Shakur Center is sovereign from CCNY and under the jurisdiction of students, the administration cannot appropriate these rooms without notification. Yet despite the promise of sovereignty, the school went ahead and took over the revolutionary space with the claim of expanding a Career Center that would facilitate students with internship opportunities.
The CCNY administration’s reasoning is deceptive and dishonest, and indicative of a major lack of respect for the ability of students organizing. The Morales-Shakur Center was appropriated from students and community members without any consultation and notice, despite them having the legal rights to the space. The administration did not consult with The Corbin Hill Farm Share members who facilitate affordable aliment to the community or the director of the space who had contractual jurisdiction of the space, furthermore the personal belongings of students and collective property of the organizations which utilize the space was seized. This is symptomatic of a growing trend of militarization in the community, also reflected in the militarization of CUNY.
The morning after the raid, the entire City College campus was put under lockdown, inside the college students were kidnapped and unable to leave the facilities, outside students were harassed by public safety officers and unable to access the school. This came at the worst time, as students needed to get in and use the library to study for upcoming midterms.
In their frustrations about the library being closed and a beloved community center being raided and shut down, students organized an impromptu protest that gained numbers and support quickly. Media, community members and city council members came to express solidarity, and enough pressure was built to force the administration to reopen the campus. However, the Morales-Shakur Center remains under siege.
Call the offices of your local council member, or any mayoral candidate, there is an occupation being formally organized and students need supplies to stay overnight. The City College is located at 160 Convent Ave, New York. Show solidarity and support to the students fighting against these oppressive measures. This is a threat to all-progressive, radical, and revolutionary organizers in NYC. The siege of the Morales-Shakur Center marks the escalating intensification against anybody challenging the status-quo.
The movement[s] of progress, democracy, liberation and of revolution need to be present and at the forefront of the defense of this center, for the loss of it is a blow whole-hearty against them.
Unless all progressive forces unite at this point, the repression will become even more draconian and face the possibility of our movement, that among the students in general, will be set back years of work with this loss. Morales-Shakur Center is the center and congealment of those progressive struggles that ran themselves among the revolutionary working class students.It must be defended now!
Rally to Defend the Morales-Shakur Center of CCNY