Vertical Movement (1st in a decade)
Vertical Movement reflects on the tragic shooting of Akai Gurley by rookie NYPD officer Peter Liang, Liang’s subsequent trial, and the accompanying protests which revealed splits within the Asian American community as to the definitions and scope of racial justice. As a collective of color, specifically with African American and Asian American members, Related Tactics is invested in unpacking the framing of our communities as structurally in conflict with one another.
[other notes: “Vertical Movement” references the controversial practice of vertical patrols of high rise housing, the assignment Liang was performing at the time he shot Gurley. It also more abstractly references the argument put forward by some of the Chinese American protesters who believed that equal justice for Liang meant dropping charges against him as has been the case with most white officers–something derided by other Asian American activists as an attempt to appeal to the top of a problematic racial hierarchy; a false rise to the top. “1st in a decade” references the landmark conviction of Liang and the surprising fact that he is the first NYPD officer to be convicted of shooting someone in about a decade; making it highly likely that he was seen as expendable by the NYPD because he was an Asian American rookie. It also acknowledges the game people of color and other marginalized groups are asked to play to find a sense of pride and belonging: celebrating firsts and other accomplishments of inclusion. Instead of this being a typical first, triumphant, a special record for history books, this might be looked at as a cynical step, enacting racialized violence.]