Anthony Grimes initiated Denver Freedom Riders were he led a group of freedom riders on his second trip to Ferguson the weekend that the grand jury announced the non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson after the murder of Mike Brown.
They borrowed the term “freedom riders” from the historical freedom ride movements that challenged anti-constitutional segregation practices in the South. About 30 diverse leaders from Denver joined non-violent demonstrations and worked to bring healing to traumatized Ferguson residents. Bringing the lessons home
Upon their return, the team was inspired to apply their experiences from Ferguson to their local and national contexts:
They galvanized dozens of community leaders to host a conference on Martin Luther King Jr. day entitled “The Denver Freedom Riders Present: Black Lives Matter.” They educated and inspired nearly 2,000 attendees, mostly young people, to take action on issues of institutionalized racism, mass incarceration, basic rights, and faith-based activism.
November 2014, Grimes traveled to Palestine as part of an African heritage delegation seeking to learn about the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian people.
- Our plane descended upon a land that my Bible describes as “flowing with milk and honey,” only what stood out most to me was the dryness of the hills. We would visit most of Palestine over the next two and a half weeks.
- One day, we walked into a university in the town of Abu Dis, which was once part of Jerusalem before being sealed off with a wall to protect Israeli settlers from watching their own oppression unfold across the street. In strange winter heat we entered a relatively new building, where a bright teacher named Tala and a host of her students led us into a small class where they shared tales.
- The students looked like they could have been from anywhere, women veiled and unveiled, men lined up against the wall wearing caps and throwing around their backpacks and talking about their villages and refugee camps. A cloud of reality set itself across the classroom where we heard accents ranging from Arabic to Jersey. Palestinian students, studying on a campus often riddled by gas canisters and rubber bullets, talked about science and literature, and a little more about utter hopelessness. It was striking to watch kids in their late teens carry such heavy terms like imprisonment, political autonomy, armed struggle and a small desire to leave, go far far away, and live somewhere else, where they don't recognize the sound of a canister being shot across the fields of their once greener school.
- The connection between occupied police states domestically and western military imperialism abroad didn’t connect for me until our delegation toured the Israeli Apartheid Wall. The wall is four times longer and twice as high as the Berlin Wall was, the international symbol of oppression during the Cold War. This wall towered above us Black pilgrims in a way that tried to reduce our status.
October 24th to November 7th 2014, Grimes joined 15 other freedom fighters for a two week African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine through the Interfaith Peace Builders. Our delegation was made up of educators, journalists, filmmakers, and several other professions. Much of what we saw troubled us. Other aspects gave us deep hope. All of it propelled us to move past casual observation to a joining in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against apartheid.
African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel
The African Heritage Delegation to Israel/Palestine members, November 2014:
- Dele Balogun - Portland, Oregon
- Ajamu Baraka - Cali, Colombia
- Jen Copeland - Decatur, Georgia
- Ashara Ekundayo – Oakland, California
- Anthony Grimes - Denver, Colorado
- Zaynah Hindi – Berkeley, California
- Trina Jackson - Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
- Lucas Johnson - Atlanta, Georgia
- Kamilah Moore - Altadena, California
- Rebecca Pierce - Portola Valley, California
- Zarinah Shakir - Lawrenceville, New Jersey
- Tyrone Simpson - Poughkeepsie, New York
- Josette Souza - Providence, Rhode Island
- Ann Ragland - Laurel, Maryland
- James Ricks - Ithaca, New York
- Angela Wellman – Oakland, California
Osagyefo Sekou connection
Matt Meyer November 9, 2015;
- It was a great pleasure to connect with the fiery Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, seated together as we were at the dinner. As I wrote on Sekou and Anthony's FB pages: "Proud to have been there with you, dear brothers. You both provide hope, energy, and vision - for us to work together for the nonviolent revolution the world so urgently needs!" — with Osagyefo Sekou and Anthony Grimes at The Riverside Church in the City of New York.
- My big brother since we first met on the streets of Ferguson.
- Freedom Riders about
- DFR INVASION The date is May 30th, 2014. "Niggas in Palestine"
- [http://www.anthonygrimes.com/blog/2014/11/13/a-black-vision-of-palestine Anthony grimes, November 13, 2014 A Black Vision of Palestine]
- [http://www.ifpb.org/africanheritage/statement.html African Heritage Delegation to Palestine/Israel STATEMENT OF THE 2014 AFRICAN HERITAGE DELEGATIONApril 2, 2015]