Michael Sampson

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Michael Sampson


Michael Sampson III is a Jacksonville, Florida activist. Husband of Monique Sampson.

Convict Chauvin protest

On March 8 2021 , the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) organized an action, in solidarity with Minneapolis, demanding justice for George Floyd. Jacksonville was one of many cities to participate in a national day of action, as Monday was the start of the People v. Derek Chauvin trial. JCAC demands that Chauvin be convicted and jailed for the killing of George Floyd.

Over 50 people gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse to demand justice for George Floyd and all other victims of police brutality. JCAC continues to demand justice for Jamee Johnson, Kwame Jones, Reginald Boston, Leah Baker, Justin Reed and Devon Gregory, all of whom were killed by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The crowd chanted “Indict! Convict! Send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” This chant was fitting for the start of Chauvin’s trial.

Michael Sampson, JCAC organizer, reminded the crowd, “Despite Chauvin being the one who killed George Floyd, the real person on trial is going to be George Floyd.” The nation will have to sit and listen as lawyers attempt to dishonor the memory of George Floyd. The nation will have to sit and listen as lawyers lie about who George Floyd was, as if those lies justify his life being taken at the hands of Chauvin.

Maria Garcia, JCAC organizer, reiterated the demand for community control of the police, which would grant the people of Jacksonville real power in the fight for police accountability. Garcia expressed that “People deserve a say in how their own neighborhoods are policed.” The people also deserve the right to assemble and protest, so the JCAC is calling on people to continue putting pressure on state representatives to vote “no” on Florida House Bill 1 (HB1/SB484).[1]

HB1 rally

According to Natalie Kazim FightBack News March 7, 2021 On March 2, the first day of legislative session, organizers from across the state of Florida gathered in front of the Old Historic Capitol Building to highlight the statewide fight against Governor Ron DeSantis’ anti-protest legislation, House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 484 (HB1/SB484).

“With people power, we can always win,” said Angie Nixon, longtime community organizer and newly elected representative of the 14th District. “This bill is a direct response to the progress we made this summer,” asserted Christina Kittle of Jacksonville Community Action Committee.

Tallahassee Community Action Committee member Daisy Sim said that HB1/SB484 would make the already difficult job of organizing no-arrest protests nearly impossible.

Representative Michele Raynor Goolsby spoke to the broad and dangerous scope of the bill: “This is an anti-Black bill, this is an anti-brown bill, this is an anti-woman bill... Anti- any American who finds their rights to be not human rights but privileges to be voted on. And this brings not only marginalized folks’ rights into question. This bill threatens our First Amendment right as Americans, and anyone has the right to resist that.” Later on Raynor-Goolsby reflected on the diversity of opposition to the legislation, “We could see it in the crowd. Folks of many races, ethnicities, sexualities and genders were out protesting with us. We all have to come together to fight for our rights. Fight for everyone or fight for no one.”

Michael Sampson, of Jacksonville Community Action Committee, told the crowd that as long as HB1 was being voted on, people would still continue to fight against it, and that if it passed in the House, people would continue to fight it in the Senate.[2]

Legacy of MLK

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Frank Chapman, Aislinn Pulley, Michael Sampson.

SDS webinar

On October 9 2020, student and youth activists held a webinar to launch a national campaign to fight for police accountability, on and off campus, under the headline, “Students and Youth Demand Police Accountability.” The main organizations represented were New Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), AnakBayan USA, and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

Speakers promoted the demand for community control of the police and for convictions of killer cops. Then they called for campus police departments to be defunded, disbanded and in some places even held accountable by campus civilian police accountability councils.

Michael Sampson from the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression said, “People have a democratic right to control the institutions that affect their lives. Community control is about oppressed people taking power.”

Adrian Bonifacio from AnakBayan USA compared the tactics of the police here in the U.S. to the military and police tactics used by the U.S.-backed Philippine government of Duterte, which has responded to the pandemic with door-to-door military brutality in place of health care and testing: "As a youth organization fighting fascism and state terror, we know that the police are one of the most dangerous tools for maintaining political repression and violence. Not just Trump, but every president before him has deployed the police to terrorize poor and working class people here in the United States, most particularly Black folks.”

Student activists from SDS and AnakBayan said university police are used to harass student activists and have profiled and even killed community members. Victor Garcia from the University of Students for a Democratic Society - Parkside pointed out that Rusten Sheskey, who killed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, was actually a university police officer up until 2013.

Nadia Shaarawi from the University of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota chapter said, “Our university president has tried to co-opt the language of 'accountability.’” Shaarawi added, “but where the concessions stop is at community control because they'll do anything to maintain the status quo.”

Enya Silva from the Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society chapter asked, "If they aren't here to serve the people, why do they need this money?" Katelyn Scott from the UNF Students for a Democratic Society chapter compared this to other wasteful expenditures taken on by the university, pointing out, “UNF says they don't have the money for things on campus and for community resources, but they have $8 million for a pool.”

Kyle Burroughs from Denver Students for a Democratic Society made this point crystal clear. “"The governor didn't care about the Elijah McClain case for over a year, and he didn't reopen it out of the kindness of his heart. He opened it out of public pressure. As you fight for justice in this way, the people will come to your side. You just need to be loud enough.”[3]

Lessons from the movement: Community Control of Police

Lessons from the movement: Community Control of Police National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

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Speakers included Gabriel Montero Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Michael Sampson National Desk National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and co-JCAC, Loretta VanPelt TC Coalition 4 Justice for Jamar, Regina Joseph, president of JCAC, Christina Kittle co-founder JCAC, Jennifer Rose Miller Dallas Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Jade Arter Utah Against Police Brutality.

Cuba

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Monique Sampson and Michael Sampson were in Cuba in 2019.

Freedom Road

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In 2016 Michela Martinazzi, Dave Schneider and Michael Sampson III, were members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!.

Iosbaker's network

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Joe Iosbaker April 4 2020.

From A worker at Trader Joe’s:  Hey will you please share these things? We're trying to show our coworkers fearing retaliation that they have people on their side.

Sean Orr, Daniel Ginsberg-Jaeckle, Kristen Jefferson, Benjamin James, Dave Schneider, Cherrene Horazuk, Richard Berg, Sarah Justice, Michael Sampson II, Mike Kramer, Regina Russell, Cathleen Jensen, Gabriella Killpack, Frank Chapman, Aislinn Sol, Sol Mar, Bassem Kawar, Martha Iosbaker, Mary Iosbaker-Azzouzi, Kas Schwerdtfeger, Tracey Schwerdtfeger, Tomas de Bourgha, Michela Martinazzi.

Student Commission

February 2014, members of the Student Commission of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! met to sum up the past year of struggle and discuss strategies for building the student movement in the U.S. The Student Commission leadership opened with a summation of the work over the past year, highlighting the key campaigns that we participated in on a national level. Justice for Trayvon Martin rallies in Florida and across the country, campus protests to stop Obama’s war on Syria and demanding immigrant rights and tuition equity were the major ones. Student leaders also reflected on SDS’ March 2013 National Day of Action for Education Rights.

Michael Sampson from Florida State University Dream Defenders, organized a campus rally on the anniversary of Trayvon’s murder in February 2013. Sampson then helped to lead a midnight march of 300, mostly African American students in Tallahassee, after the Florida courts failed to convict George Zimmerman for murder. Sampson said, “Dream Defenders as an organization was born out of the murder of Trayvon Martin. We led one of the largest marches for Trayvon Martin and staged a month-long occupation of the Florida State Capitol to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. The movement for justice for those that suffer from national oppression and racism will continue to move forward.”[4]

Freedom Road event

The 22nd Annual People’s Thanksgiving Dinner, held in Chicago Dec. 8, honored her with the “Nelson Mandela Award: Opposing Israeli Apartheid is not a Crime.”

70 people gathered to recognize her and a number of other important activists. They met at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, despite an early blizzard that made getting to the church hazardous.

The event is held annually by Fight Back! news and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! . The dinner raised over $3000 for Odeh’s defense campaign, as well as $1000 to help continue the work of Fight Back! news.

Awards were also presented to Sarah Simmons and Newland Smith, both activists in the Anti-War Committee-Chicago and to Michael Sampson, a Dream Defenders member from Tallahassee, Florida.[5]

Palestine protest

Three dozen gathered in front of the Duval County Courthouse on August 11 2017 in support of Palestine. The call for a protest came after reports began circulating on social media that Israel had bombed neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip on August 8. Israeli bombs targeted areas filled with Palestinian civilians and four were injured, one very seriously.

The emergency mobilization urged people to support the struggle for Palestinian liberation and an end to Zionist occupation. The crowd chanted,” From Ferguson to Palestine! Occupation is a crime!” and “Free! Free! Palestine!”

“We encourage folks to get involved with the first rally held by Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network. We offer space to make that possible,” said 19-year-old Sara Mahmoud, a local Palestine activist with Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC).

Mahmoud explained, “Based on current estimates, Gaza will be unlivable as early as 2018, and as late as 2020. Palestinians have been resisting ethnic cleansing and genocide since 1948, 70 years in 2018. It is time for people to get strategized in fighting Zionism, a heinous form of settler-colonialism.”

Michael Sampson, also with JCAC, said, “It’s important for us in Jacksonville to stand in solidarity with our friends and comrades organizing for liberation in Palestine. The struggle for police accountability in Jacksonville, and the struggle to end Israeli Apartheid and liberate Palestine are all part of a larger movement for a more just world.”[6]

Removing white supremist monuments

New Florida Majority, Streamed live on May 16, 2018'

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The New Florida Majority & #TakeEmDownJax host an online discussion about the efforts to remove white supremist monuments from our public spaces ahead of Thursday's 40-mile, three day march from Jacksonville to St. Augustine as well as the connection to institutionalized racism and how Jacksonville’s organizers are fighting back!

Guests featured include:

Tampa Bay SDS

Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society public Facebook group funtioned from circa 2010 to 2015. Members included Michael Sampson.

Storm president's office to demand tuition equity

On Feb. 28 2014, 35 courageous students gathered at the Florida State University (FSU) Integration Statues. At the very statue that symbolized the supposed diversity that Florida State claims, Tallahassee Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and a broad array of organizations - including Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Dream Defenders and the Center for Participant Education - demanded tuition equity. This policy that would ensure undocumented students could afford the human right of obtaining an education and be granted in-state tuition like the rest of the Florida population.

At the start of the rally, student leaders gave several impassioned speeches. Speakers included SDS co-presidents Brianna Calderon-Roman and Andrew Arachikavitz, Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights president Cassie Barragàn, Center for Participant Education public relations officer Andreina Granado and the Dream Defenders local strategist Michael Sampson.

Shivaani Ehsaan, Campaign Coordinator of FSU SDS, said “The energized students stormed the ivory tower of President Barron's office and demanded that he meet the people's grievances of the discriminatory policy that is FSU's - and the greater state of Florida’s - tuition rates.”

Mili Chapado, Policy Chair of Advocates for Immigrant and Refugee Rights , said "Student groups at other colleges and universities are gaining momentum. We should strive to work with them to push for tuition equity state-wide."[7]

Uhuru

In 2012 Michael Sampson was an organizer in Progress Coalition and Uhuru FSU.[8]

References