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Revive the American Civil Rights Movement

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To whom it may concern:

The time is 7:39 am on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017. It’s raining today. My morning routines usually consist of me arriving at my office, sitting down in my chair, and checking my Facebook and other inboxes. Over the past few years, however, I’ve had the displeasure of adding one more milestone to my morning routine: the viewing of a helpless African-American men, women and children harassed, beaten, tortured, and killed by police and/or other law enforcement officials.  Today’s programming? The arrest and tasing of a compliant and handcuffed yet to be identified black man in Balch Springs, Texas. The officer is literally holding the Taser to this brother for an extended period while he is handcuffed and pinned by other officers on the ground. I am writing to you today to say that I’ve seen my last video. I’ve officially reached my quota for the amount of police brutality that I am willing to view and continue on in my life with business as usual. I literally can’t take it anymore. This is an appeal to action and organization of the national black community; a call for the revival of the American Civil Rights Movement. I ask you, how many times must we view and be reminded of this pervasive systemic racism, oppression, and brutality before a much needed rapid systematic shift occurs to curtail this horror? Mind you, police brutality is simply one issue we face as a people. How many of us have to die before we truly organize as one?

Though I am of mixed race heritage my self and societal identification as a black man has been fully realized. I am 26 years old. I may be 27 by the time you read this message. I graduated from Howard University with my degree in Radio, Television, and Film Production with a minor in Theatre Arts. I have been serving as the Rochester, Minnesota Diversity Council’s Director of Community Engagement for 3 years. I have a lovely wife, grandmother, mother, father, younger brother, and younger sister. I have a community songwriting project, Statecraft, that is taking off at the local level and have dreams of literally changing communities for the better through song. I recognize and appreciate the reality that I am the privileged result of the hundreds of years of intense labor, blood, sweat, heartache, rape, death and tears of my ancestors. That being said, it pains me to say that these results are not enough. We have to unify and move forward as a people. This is quite literally a matter of life or death. I do great work. You all do great work. We serve our communities in various different capacities. We should not have to fear for our lives or the lives of our family members, fellow black brothers, and sisters every morning. Our families have worked too damn hard for any of this to happen. It stops now.


Unification of groups/ entities into one force and one nation: NAACPs, Black Lives Matters, governmental councils, and all other similar groups with the goals of advancing the lives of blacks and Africans in our nation must come together with shared goals, strategies, visions, and one voice. We absolutely must move as a unit. The infrastructure is available. Why not unify? Our politics and methodology cannot be legitimate excuses for operating in silos.

Systemic Boycotting: This system only cares about money. We cannot continue to attempt to appeal to the emotional side of this argument. Doing so will not yield results. The Montgomery bus boycott worked because of the loss of money it instigated. We must create, become, and act as an economic force in order to demand change. This leads me to my next point.

New Black Wall Street: The Tulsa Race Riots occurred for a reason – our people were posing an economic threat. Once again, the only language this country speaks is money. We, once unified, need to have one economic infrastructure to finance our black nation and its movements; black businesses supporting black businesses, black banks, black grocery stores, black neighborhoods, etc. We literally have the technology to create sustainable housing communities and neighborhoods where food, energy, and clean water are all provided by the earth. We can purchase the land and create a community ourselves. Why haven’t we done this? We can create sustainable communities and all live together with higher standards of living. Once again, why haven't we done this?

Reparations: Why have we yet to demand some form of reparations as a people? I believe we lack the real infrastructure to make demands. A new black wall street could make economic demands of our government at the risk losing our dollars and our electorate.

Unification with the Native Nations: Though different we do share a very similar plight. We need to consider unifying/ collaborating in some capacity with our Native American brothers and sisters.  

In short, and in my very humble opinion, we are heavily overdue for the revival of the American Civil Rights Movement. I am willing to speak with anyone on this issue and help in any way that I can. I’ve been sitting still for long enough; waiting silently to see if any such movement would materialize. I am tired of waiting. I hope you all are too. I know this level of change won’t occur overnight, and that there are many considerations and politics involved. That being said, these are poor reasons for delaying the revitalization of this much-needed movement. If  this movement is already happening then let me know because absolutely no one is talking about it in my community where I am very well acquainted with my NAACP (past board member), MN State Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage (past volunteer  and current ally), Rochester for Justice, Black Lives Matter, etc.

We must first change and unify our system and our people if we want to see changes from the larger system. We must be the change we want to see. We must lead from the front.

How many more of us need to die, go uneducated, and/ or thrown in jail before we unify and help each other as one people? We must be one. I repeat: we must be one. Now is the time. Let me know how I can help. This unified movement absolutely must happen.

203 of our brothers, sisters, and children died unarmed at the hands of law enforcement between 2014 and 2015 alone. Mind you, this number only reflects police deaths, and not harassment or torture. Also, this is just ONE ISSUE we face as a people.

I know you all are working hard on your own fronts and I commend you for that work. I am simply calling for a unified front. I do not have all of the answers. I know that I’ve only yet to obtain a bachelor’s degree. I know that I am inexperienced. I also know this letter might have sounded a little naïve. I’m just hurt. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of worrying for the same reasons as my ancestors. I’m tired of crying the same tears my ancestors were crying. We absolutely must unify. Am I the only one who feels this way? I sure hope not. I am open to suggestions on how we might move forward. I am sending this to the leadership of as many like-minded organizations as I can possibly think of. The NAACP, Black Lives Matter, Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, and all other similar organizations will get this letter. Let’s get this done now. Please reach out to me if you would like to talk and support this effort, if such an effort makes sense.

Business as usual will result in another nationally recognized black torture or death about 3-5 weeks from now. Mark my words.

Also, Donald Trump is President of the United States. Anything can happen. That goes both ways.

Torres Hodges

Concerned Christian Citizen

(507) 206-9971


 PS: I tried to post the name and brief (2-3 sentences) story of each 2014-2015 black death, but's portal couldn't even fit all of the information into this petition...



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