Our strategy for Grand Central

One way that a community can develop is by the resistance around it. I feel that way about Grand Central Station. Our police violence protests are becoming fascinating to us because the traditional ones are banned.

Grand Central Terminal is a public space, with 750,000 to a million people passing through it, and because of this it is considered at risk for terrorist bombs. It is heavily policed. We can have National Guard, Homeland Security, the various departments of the NYPD, and the New York State Troopers, with their Dudley-do-right funny hats with the brims - surrounding us as we recite the names of the police-killed citizenry.

Here, key police violence gatherings have taken place since the Eric Garner non-indictment. Often the protests have taken the form of die-ins, a crowd sprawled across the floor, silent, beneath the sky-green ceiling a hundred feet up, with constellations and the winged horses and fish and warriors of the zodiac. The die-ins are very moving, and community is made in this fall on the floor. Stories are told, laughter releases, people come back to life and go get coffee. Across the country, bridges and highways and many public buildings are host to the simulated mass death and communities are growing.

Now the die-ins are banned. The police have invented charges of violence against the protesters in Grand Central, and this involved our Church of Stop Shopping. They have banned putting placards on the floor with the names of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones, Vonderitt Meyers… They have banned falling to the ground and pretending to die, honoring those dead.

We honor them every day. Right now this is the key to all politics, any issue. Black Lives Matter. We sorrow with the families. We ponder the last seconds they lived. We are with them as they are ambushed on the sidewalk, as they are shot as they talk to girlfriends on the phone, as walk through the dark hallway, as they sleep on couches, as they wait for the subway. The last moments are with us and we look to our living friends to conjure with us performances that will keep these lost lives in our memory. 

We’ve been singing. We like to go in there, surrounded by the law, and talk as if we have a right to. We make films, giving testimonials to the camera about police violence, pretending that we don’t know that they are nearby uncomfortable with us, drawn to us and resisting us, trying to remember their instructions, confused by our ownership of this place. Oh and we have only begun…