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Many living within America’s borders assume or believe that human rights violations simply don’t exist. How easily many people turn a blind-eye to those things we experience on a daily basis (hunger, homelessness, economic insecurity, joblessness, etc.) at home and instead point the finger at some far and distant place and condemn the human rights violations happening there.

We are humbled by the United Nations taking the case of General Dogon and the Los Angeles Community Action Network seriously and conducting an investigation. We are appalled that the United States government, the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy, has refused to reply/comply with the investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department and City Attorney have spent considerable resources in their attempts to silence General Dogon, LA CAN, and other organizers and activists – so they surely have the resources to collect information requested by the United Nations and respond in a timely manner.

More and more community organizers and activists in the United States face growing and intensifying surveillance, arrest and other human rights violations when attempting to exercise their constitutional rights and redress their government. Many of the tactics employed by law enforcement harkens back to more sinister times in US history. Remnants of Cointelpro, the Black Codes and Red Squads exist today and attempts are being made to use this as standard operating procedure.

If you are wearing an orange t-shirt bearing the words LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK, the repressive rubber meets the road rather quickly. In an attempt to silence and stop LA CAN’s work, our leadership has been blatantly targeted for a number of years. False arrests, constant civil rights violations, and the spreading of lies have characterized the strategy employed by the state. However, much to their chagrin, it has not proved effective because the influence of the organization continues to grow.
General Dogon’s social change work ethic and consistency has been long recognized by the LAPD. His leadership in the community and ability to connect with a broad array of people has been a chief concern for those wanting poor people to simply shrink away into the night and disappear. LAPD and the City Attorney took a “by any means necessary” approach to squash and silence his courage and leadership before it spread to other poor people and encouraged their participation.

Amidst numerous detentions, arrests, and protracted court battles where General Dogon faced life-sentences for his leadership and organizing, his commitment to the idea of human rights never faltered. This week, he and others throughout the world who have been unjustly targeted will at least receive an open hearing on an international stage, with a reiterated demand for the US Government’s response.


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