On Thursday, August 16, 2012, the Campaign to Defend Eric Oliver learned that Florida State Attorney William Cervone has dropped all charges against Eric Oliver, the courageous young African who defended his family against a white lynch mob.
As first reported in Uhuru News, “On June 12 in Bronson, Florida, a white lynch mob came to the home where Eric Oliver lives with his wheelchair-bound mother and his younger brothers and demanded that they send out 16-year-old Mikey Vasquez from the home.
“But on that day, these Africans weren’t about to let a lynching happen. Eric heroically defended his family and fought off the mob. Then, instead of arresting the mob that attacked the family’s home, the Levy County Sheriff's Department arrested one of the mob’s targets, Eric Oliver, and demanded a $100,000 ransom bond for his release.”
Eric’s mother immediately contacted the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) in St. Petersburg, Florida. Uhuru Movement leader Chimurenga Waller went to Bronson and began working with Eric’s family, friends and surrounding community to mount a popular defense of Oliver. It was this on-the-ground organizing that forced the state to eventually back down.
For over 2 months, Oliver has faced a bogus charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Throughout that time, Eric’s family, the Uhuru Movement and the Eric Oliver Defense Committee have been organizing and demanding:
- All charges against Eric Anthony Oliver must be dropped and a public apology made to him for this frame up
- Reparations must be paid to Eric Anthony Oliver for his frame-up and incarceration
- All officers associated with this arrest must be fired for this frame up
- An immediate investigation of the Levy County Sheriff's Department and State Attorney William Cervone concerning their treatment of the black community in Levy County must be held
Demonstrations were held at the Levy County Courthouse. Phone calls and emails to the State Attorney’s office were mobilized from throughout the world in defense of Eric’s right to “stand his ground”.
White Bronson never knew what hit ‘em
In a rural white majority area like Bronson, Florida, the white residents are accustomed to raining down terror on the African community and getting away with it.
As was reported on Uhuru News “Bronson is a small town located only 20 miles from Rosewood, the site of the 1923 massacre where white lynch mobs brutally executed dozens of African people and burned down the entire town.
“The Rosewood massacre was one amongst countless examples of colonial terror waged by the U.S. government and general white population against African people that included thousands of lynchings in the early 1900s, as documented in the book "One Hundred Years of Lynching."
“Many of the Africans who survived the Rosewood massacre fled to Bronson and other towns in the area, including members of Eric Oliver's family.
“Nearly 100 years later, the legacy of white lynch mob violence is alive and well in Bronson.”
In fact it’s alive throughout the U.S. and white nationalists do not hesitate to direct their violent attacks against other white people who are taking a stand in support of black rights. This was evidenced by the actions of a white woman driver on the highway outside of Ocala, Florida who ambushed and attacked a car carrying white and black participants in the Free Eric Oliver Campaign as they returned to Bronson from a rally in St. Petersburg.
But today is a new day and Africans are fighting back. And winning.
On July 7, 2012, the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) held a march and rally to defend Eric Oliver – an unprecedented event in a white rural place like Bronson. Holding signs and chanting slogans such as, "The cops and the Klan go hand in hand!" and "Free Eric Oliver! End the New Jim Crow!", InPDUM members and supporters marched with Eric Oliver's family from the Levy County Jail House to the Courthouse and then held a rally at the St. John's Baptist Church.
This mobilization and the promise of more to come was too much for Florida authorities to take and they backed down, dropping the charges against young Eric.
With organization, the people can win!
The first victory came on June 12th when the State Attorney’s office reduced Eric’s bond from $100.000 to $10,000, bending to pressure from the community and Eric’s supporters worldwide.
Today, the state’s withdrawal of charges against Eric Oliver shows the power of the people when we are organized!
Eric’s mother, Rosalind Donald has been the fiercest defender of her son. She contacted the Uhuru Movement to come to Bronson and has worked tirelessly to organize her community, despite the health difficulties she faces. She is committed to building a branch of the Uhuru Movement in Bronson, Florida, understanding that without organization the African community is powerless and vulnerable to all types of anti-black violence and exploitation.
Upon learning of the charge being dropped she said, “I want to thank the Uhuru Movement for giving Eric back his life. If it wasn’t for the Uhuru Movement, I think he would probably still be in jail. I’ve been talking to the young boys coming to the house about building the Uhuru Movement here in Levy County, Now they can see the power of having our own Movement.. Levy County learned that you just can’t keep running over people and expect wrong to be right. They just can’t keep kicking us and think that we’re going to take it.”
These courageous Africans in Bronson turned the tables on the white mob. Africans have a right to resist. If we resist and we build organization, we can win justice and independence for African people everywhere.
The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement is a black working class-led organization that is known and respected around the world for demanding reparations to African people for slavery and colonialism, demanding an end to the police containment of our communities, pushing for real economic development instead of more police, protecting the dignity of our children as intelligent, capable and talented human beings, and taking the right stand on many other issues that face the African community.
InPDUM membership is open to anyone united with democracy for the African community and that self-determination is the highest expression of democracy It is building branches throughout the Americas, Europe and Africa. Learn more about how you can build an InPDUM branch in your area by visiting www.inpdum.org
No more Trayvon Martins! No more Emmett Tills! No more Rosewoods!
Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement today!