On Saturday, May 17th, 2014, community activists and young people led by Peoples' Justice for Community Control and Police Accountability and Picture The Homeless took to the subways of Harlem and the Bronx to perform guerrilla theater skits about discriminatory and abusive policing in NYC! The skits, designed to expose the ills of NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s “Broken Windows” policing tactics and educate New Yorkers about our rights when interacting with the NYPD, were made simple enough for anyone to perform, and are easily edited to fit the needs of various communities across the city. Special shout out to all the community members and organizations who participated in this amazing action, including the Justice Committee, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, the Brotherhood-Sistersol, Bronx Defenders, JFREJ, Milk Not Jails, VOCAL NYC, Project Reach, Youth Ministries for Peace & Justice, Streetwise And Safe, FIERCE, and more!
“Broken Windows” is a style of policing in which police aggressively target community members for petty crimes or non-criminal violations, under the false premise that doing so will prevent larger crimes from occurring. Brought back to NYC with the return of William Bratton as the NYPD Commissioner in January 2014, Broken Windows policing has already led to massive increases in stops and arrests of subway dancers, immigrant food vendors, homeless people, and more.
In light of these emerging attacks on some of NYC’s most vulnerable populations, Peoples’ Justice and Picture The Homeless teamed up to create these skits to not only expose Broken Windows, but also to remind people about the many ways they can fight back such as filming the police, or just even standing up for their fellow New Yorkers and speaking out when they see discriminatory policing occur. The skits help create a counter-narrative to Commissioner Bratton and the NYPD’s criminalization of some of the most beloved parts of NYC culture, and stand in defiance of the NYPD’s attempts to control public spaces and restrict people’s expression and modes of survival.
The organizers plan on continuing to perform these skits all across New York City! If you are interested in getting involved with the Peoples’ Justice or Picture The Homeless, contact us at:
Peoples’ Justice – peoplesjustice.org, (212) 614-5343
Picture The Homeless – picturethehomeless.org, (646) 314-6423