Indymedia Radio Interview

An interview with two members of the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative was just posted to Greensboro Indymedia. You can listen to it here:


City Manager Reduces Ban on Five SSMI members

City Manager Rashad Young reduced the ban on five Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative members today from two years down to one.
After taking over City Council’s seats on May 4, 2010 to draw attention to the City’s inaction around misconduct in the police department, the City Manager’s office banned the five members who were arrested as an act of civil disobedience.  Five other members  of the organization took over the seats as well but were not arrested and not banned. The ban has already been reduced to only being banned from the Melvin Municipal Office Building on days when City Council is meeting (twice a month), down from a flat ban in general.

Last week, Young met with three members of the SSMI, including two who had been banned, as they appealed to him to lift the two year ban.  As of today, the ban will end one year from the act of civil disobedience (May 4, 2011).

Greensboro: Closer to the Truth (Movie Screening)

The Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative is hosting a screening of Greensboro: Closer to the Truth. This documentary uncovers the history of the Greensboro Massacre in 1979.
For more information on the film, visit
Invite your friends and come on time, because you won’t want to miss anything!

The Greensboro HIVE. 1214 Grove St. Thursday · 8:00pm

Movie Screening a Huge Success

Last night’s movie screening of “Black and Gold: The Story of the Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation” was a great success. Technical difficulties causing us to start late, but we had a brief introduction and question & answer session with King Jay and King Hype of the ALKQN in North Carolina and Eric Ginsburg from the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative.

Over sixty people were in attendance at New Creation’s congregation room at First Presbyterian Church on Elm St.  Many thanks to Reverend Frank Dew for hosting the event and to the many people from his church that attended the event.

The Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative will be hosting another movie screening on August 26.  “Greensboro: Closer to the Truth,” a documentary on the Greensboro Massacre of 1979 will be shown at 8pm at the Greensboro HIVE (1214 Grove St in Glenwood).

These events were organized as part of the Greensboro Justice Summer campaign to address corruption and misconduct in the Greensboro Police Department while standing for justice and dignity for all.

Upcoming Movie Screening

Thursday, August 19 · 8:00pm

First Presbyterian Church

617 N. Elm St., Greensboro

This movie screening is part of the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative’s work as part of Greensboro Justice Summer.

Black and Gold: The Story of the Almighty Latin King & Queen Nation

SUMMARY: In 1994, the Latin Kings – the largest and most powerful street gang in New York – became the Latin King and Queen Nation. They claimed to have abandoned their criminal past and to be following in the footsteps of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. With over 3,000 members in New York, some saw the Latin King and Queen Nation as the most important political voice to rise from the streets in decades. The NYPD did not agree, calling them a vicious gang with a PR campaign. One thing is certain, the City was never the same after the Nation went downtown.
In 1997 Big Noise films became the only media group ever given unrestricted access to the Nation. For two years they ran with the Kings and Queens in New York City, filming on the front lines of their everyday struggle for survival. Black and Gold explores a reality that is too often reduced to a stereotype or a slogan. Its unblinking lens puts you at the center of a complex and controversial movement.
The Nation was one of the major forces that made police violence and the prison system political issues in New York City. But from the beginning the NYPD has questioned the sincerity of the Nation’s political involvement, and has systematically worked to dismantle what they see as the most dangerous street gang in the City.

This film has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Best of Festival at the Chicago Latino Film Festival, Official Selection for the Black Panther Film Festival, and Best Documentary for the San Francisco Indie Festival.

More information is available at:

This event is organized by the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative. We will have another movie screening the following week!

Statement from SSMI in Court

Below is the statement that the five Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative members made in court. It was read by Wesley Morris.

On May 4th, 2010, 10 young people who are students, community members and friends committed an act of non-violent civil disobedience by occupying the chairs of city council members during a recess of a city council meeting. Five of us including myself were arrested on the charge of second degree trespassing upon not leaving the Melvin municipal building upon request. This act was not committed as an attempt to gain notoriety, political standing or to disrespect any individuals or personalities. It came from a firm belief that the larger Greensboro community, as diverse as any, required a sacrifice to urge its cities leaders and to inform its public and to participate more fully in its cities decision making process and oversight as it relates to the police department and city government. It also came with knowledge of the tradition of non-violent actions to petition for rights. As we stand here right now, painfully, a new jail is being built and is to be filled with people, young, old and from all backgrounds  for economic gain, although the city states that the crime rate is down nearly 25 percent. We reiterate that we are thankful for good police work and quality re-direction programs for young people but, as we stand here many say there is no need for a new mechanism to oversee police work, yet, people we know and have met, are being run down and harassed and having their rights and humanity disaffirmed all throughout the communities we work in by this police department.  And within the department the mistreatment of officers like AJ Blake and Captain Cherry who spoke out against corruption is troubling. cases such as AJ Blake and Captain Cherry are troubling. Each of us work in community building efforts, whether through youth programs, social change organizations or community service and will continue to do so. We thank the court for the opportunity to thank those who helped see us through a 6pm-6am curfew that was eventually lifted and understanding and processing the city manager’s decision to ban us from the city council chambers for two years as well as the feeling of being misunderstood by many within the city. We count these as minor burdens in light of what many others in our communities endure. We thank the many pastors and minister’s of the city who in their own standing put at risk their names by reaching out to us and educating us on how to move forward. As young people who have yet to see all of what is ahead in life, we stand in fullness of spirit believing that what judgments come we hope that the health of the city and its institutions progress towards more equality and justice for all people, as we as individuals aim to become better brothers, sisters and servants to the greater good to each other and our city. We have brought our not so perfect selves to the court and hope that you will see that we have learned and gained many lessons from the demonstrations of May 4th and look forward to committing our time and efforts towards building this city by working with its leaders and its citizens. Now unto the power and source that can keep us from falling and present us faultless and blameless before God and man, we thank you.

Spirit of the Sit-ins Goes to Court

On Monday, the five members of the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative who were arrested May 4th while taking over City Council seats will go to trial.  Their courageous act of civil disobedience drew attention to the injustices perpetrated by the police department both within the department and towards the community.  Their act forced the issue to the foreground in city politics, including two front page stories in YES! Weekly and significant other local and state coverage.

Monday, July 26 they go to court. The Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative is calling on everyone who is able to come down at 9 a.m. to support them at Courtroom 1C at Guilford County District Court (on Edgeworth St. downtown).

For more information call (336) 230-0001 or email

Civil Rights Museum Denies Request for Movie

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum denied a request this week from the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative and other organizations to screen “9500 Liberty.” The film explores a county grappling with the implementation of 287g immigration policy which allows police to act as immigration enforcement agents. For more information on the film, visit:

Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes is a staunch supporter of 287g despite widespread opposition throughout Greensboro and the county. The educational film was meant to be shown later in the summer to raise awareness about 287g and generate discussion about immigration reform locally and federally.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum DENIED the request to screen the film on their premises, even though one of the Center’s explicit aims is to engage in educational work around modern day issues related to civil rights and social justice. Below are the three primary reasons given from the Center as to why the request was denied, highlighting the staunchly conservative nature of the Center, which appears to be primarily a money-making venture. At the bottom is a screen shot of the email from someone at Faith Action explaining to the rest of the group why they were denied by the Center. The name and some other personal information were blacked out to respect privacy.

THE REASONS GIVEN (paraphrased):

1. They don’t want to work too closely with the Spirit of the Sit-In-Movement and confuse the public’s understanding of the difference between their organizations.

2. 287g in Guilford County – they believe that this issue is too politically controversial at the local level for an organization as “young” as theirs who is concerned with the community reputation. Also, a county commissioner is on their board.

3. They aren’t confident that it will ultimately make them any money. (If they knew that 10 people would join the museum because of this event, if we would pay rent for using the space, or if people would pay admission, they might do it.)

For more information see

Call For Volunteers

We are recirculating this call for volunteers from the Beloved Community Center who we are partnering with for Greensboro Justice Summer.

The Beloved Community Center is looking for 15-20 dedicated volunteers to join us for Greensboro Justice Summer.  It will be an extensive grassroots campaign where volunteers will learn a variety of community organizing and outreach skills and will participate in educational sessions about the history and current issues in our city.

Greensboro Justice Summer is a coordinated effort between the Beloved Community Center, the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative and other organizations to address the subculture of corruption within the Police Department and other key issues.  We will conduct a vast door-to-door drive, host public hearings, and organize a massive outreach campaign.  The summer long campaign will ultimately attempt to re-educate the public and build a stronger democratic voice in the community around issues that affect us all.

We are looking for volunteers who can commit a regular amount of time each week throughout the summer. We can be flexible and fit your schedule, and no prior experience is necessary. For more information please call us at 336-230-0001 and ask for Eric Ginsburg or Joseph Frierson.

417 Arlington St, Greensboro NC 27406.  336-230-0001.

Local Media Coverage Continues

Check out the Carolina Peacemaker’s article that came out today on the Spirit of the Sit-in Movement Initiative.

Also, if you didn’t see last week’s YES! Weekly cover story about us, you can find it here.