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Tally 19 commemorate anniversary of arrests

By staff |
September 17, 2021
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Tallahassee, FL - On September 5, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) held an event in remembrance and solidarity for the #Tally19, a group of Black Lives Matter activists arrested for protesting in favor of the indictment of the officers responsible for the deaths of Tony Mcdade, Wilbon Woodard and Mychael Johnson. These three men were murdered by Tallahassee’s police department and none of the police responsible have faced any real punishment for their crimes.

Community members gathered at the Smokey Hollow Memorial and discussed the ongoing events of the Tally19 cases and their struggle to get the charges dropped.

“It was amazing to see so many faces with warm smiles and big hearts come out and support us in the remembrance of that day. It brought tears to my eyes, receiving the love and care we so desperately needed,” said Trish Brown, community outreach chair of TCAC.

Some of the Tally19 discussed their feelings towards the charges and urged people to continue organizing to get them dropped. “We gathered to acknowledge continuing trauma and political repression, and to re-energize ourselves and our supporters,” Satya Stark-Bejnar, one of the Tally 19, said. “For the past half hour we’ve been playing four corners! All this trauma and repression, but they can’t rob us of our playfulness and our joy.”

Tally 19 and TCAC member Timothy White explained their feelings on the events that transpired last September 5. “The police came in ready for a riot that never took place, with a strawman excuse to quell the protest for Black American lives. Locally and nationally, that is an issue that cannot be allowed to fester any longer.”

TCAC members ended the event with an Assata Shakur quote and passed out materials for future events to support the Tally19. Members urged attendees to come out to the protest on October 28 at 12 p.m. in support of Ben Grant, the only Tally 19 member still facing felony charges. TCAC President Regina Joseph spoke of the effect of political repression on the Black Lives Matter movement in Tallahassee.

“The political repression in Tallahassee exists to stifle the growing movement of working-class Black people and student leaders in our town. It isn’t just the governor trying to attack our movement, it’s also State Attorney Jack Campbell. The implications of our case are statewide. That’s why we have to stand with Tally 19. That is why cannot give up.”