Public Letter From a Mother of the Bronx 120

Designed by legislators and orchestrated by the police, raids are a means to drive residents out of their homes and into prisons

ON April 27, 2016 our neighborhood of Eastchester came under siege by 700 law enforcement officers from every agency orchestrated by the NYPD, the Bronx DA, and Attorney General Preet Bharara. They had admittedly been surveilling the 120 youths of color they kidnapped from the homes of their parents in the predawn of that terrible day. They were handcuffed and shackled in chains as if they were slaves; these hostile enemies boastfully displayed their captives in front of a media frenzy that further demonized them—more daily news. But these are our sons, so violently ripped from us and criminalized under the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupted Organization Act (RICO), originally designed for the mafia—except these youths lacked the resources that mafias possess. They lacked money, as evidenced in their inability to get paid lawyers; no stockpile of arsenals or 4000-5000 pounds of marijuana as was found in the Perkowski home in Long Island, which was decorated with KKK paraphernalia and bomb-making materials. The RICO Act is applicable to that situation because it has all the elements of racketeering and conspiracy. It is therefore evident that the motives behind these raids are to intentionally criminalize our youths and to pave the way for gentrification, which is accompanied by a change in the demographic of our neighborhood. The raids are a means to force residents out of public housing, much of which is becoming privatized. Already families impacted by the raids are going through eviction procedures—the anxiety and uncertainty of displacement all too real. Residents in private homes also impacted by the raids have become despondent, planning to get away from the city and uncertain of what the future holds when their loved one returns. The pressure is building, especially as we enter the Trump era; the future of youth of color is grim. We want people everywhere to stand in solidarity with us for the survival of black and brown people currently facing genocide, for our youth and our future. Our children’s futures are at risk. Do not ignore the oppression of our people. We must act now and rise up to free ourselves from the perpetuation of mass incarceration and murder at the hands of the NYPD. For more information on how you can get involved with the Bronx 120 and offer support, go to, on Facebook at Free Bronx 120, or through email at [email protected].