Shared with consent from Malik via correspondence with a comrade on the outside! To write Malik, please email us for his info – he doesn’t want it to be made public.
“I’m originally from Chicago. I moved around a lot out there, from Bolingbrook in the west suburbs to Cal City in the south side, and I lived on the east side and spent some time by myself in the not so great parts of the south side just being young and dumb. I had an absentee dad, abusive alcoholic mom, who we are on better terms now but that took some years.
I first experienced protesting really in elementary school. Being raised a Muslim, I was told not to say the pledge, and every year, every new teacher would try to break me, all the way through high school, but I never folded. So in that way I always stood up for myself against the set norm.
The year Trayvon Martin was murdered, though, is the first large scale protest I was at and it was beautiful. We all decided, through a Facebook post, to walk out of class to go to the cafeteria to hold our own assembly and talk about the murders of our people. The high school principal and faculty got word of our plan and said they’d suspend anyone who walks out. As you might have guessed, we walked out in mass, a good portion of the school, we didn’t fit in the cafe and nobody got suspended!
In my time in the army, I was always vocal about my anticolonial ideals and now I fault our military industrial complex as a detriment to our society and the world. I made it clear I wouldn’t shoot someone just because of being told and my chain of command tried to get me booked as a “conscientious objector”. But I did my contract got out with and honorable discharge as well, and had a great job in mid-level management in corporate america before realizing I felt like I should be doing more.
I volunteered, gave money to homeless, I’m the kinda person who takes forever getting somewhere because I stop for every driver on the side of the road, my mom always said one day that’d get me killed, lol.
I, like most BIPOC people, feel it personally and deeply when one of us is murdered and I cried for days over Eric Garner — I still do. So when I heard the same words from George Floyd, “I can’t breathe,” I lost it. I knew there was something that needed to be done. I knew that for my son’s sake, my brothers’ and my sisters’ sakes, I needed to be the change I wanted to see. So it started with a Facebook post and me creating a group and talking with people online to organize a protest. And it was a success, we had the largest protest in Indy (Indiana). I met the governor and mayor and police chief, who really treated it as a publicity stunt, and I continued to organize and protest in Indy and Louisville and the city that was my heart — Portland. Nowhere I’ve been has as solid of a community, not even Chicago’s protest scene.
I’m Black, bi, I’ve got one beautiful mixed son. I’m a veteran and right now I’m fighting for my life here while Kyle Rittenhouse walks free. I’ve been down 8 months and my highest charge has a 30 year mandatory minimum and I’m just hoping and praying we can get those dropped off, that’s all my life.
Love, Rage, Solidarity.”