Takiyah Thompson, a member of Workers World Party in Durham, N.C., and a student at North Carolina Central University, spoke to over 70 people on Feb. 3 at the United Electrical Workers hall in Chicago about resistance to white supremacy and toppling its monuments. The event was sponsored by WWP, Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter Chicago.
Thompson participated on a panel with Inez White from BYP 100 (second from right), Maria from BLM (far right) and Dani Boachie from WWP (far left). All the speakers focused on the need to build a movement to fight white supremacy and the system that fosters it.
Thompson noted the necessity of a “sustained effort to build a movement and protect those who were arrested” as a result of the people’s Aug. 14 removal of the Confederate statue in Durham. Thompson was the first person arrested. Several hundred people turned themselves in at the sheriff’s office the day after the arrests, saying they too opposed white supremacy. They showed up again to fight back against the Ku Klux Klan, who tried but failed to march through Durham a couple days later.
While felony charges against the Durham arrestees have been dropped, they still face misdemeanor charges and need solidarity. “I don’t need more allies. I need comrades,” Thompson told the crowd.
When asked what should be done with the torn-down statues, Thompson replied: “Melt them down into urinals. That’s an important first step. Then replace them with something that uplifts the community [the racist statues] were meant to oppress.”
Thompson further explained: “Racism and capitalism washed up on this country’s shores together. No one can have a more pointed critique of capitalism in this country than its first exploited workers.”
The program ended with Takiyah’s mother, Mikisa Thompson, reciting a poem she had written for her daughter.