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Princeton Residents Rally for Justice for Mike Brown

brownrallyprincetonAbout 125 people participated in a rally in downtown Princeton this afternoon to call for justice for Mike Brown, the black 19-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9 even though he was unarmed.

The Rev. Carlton Branscomb, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Princeton, said Americans need to accept that racism is an illness in the country, a cancer that must be acknowledged so it can be cured.

“Black life is devalued in America. Institutional racism has not disappeared,” Branscomb said. “Healing will not come if we turn a blind eye. This is our time to speak up in a unified voice.  If we do, the tide will turn and things will change for the better.”

spruillrallyResidents gathered at Tiger Park in front of Palmer Square and marched to Hinds Plaza for the rally, carrying signs with the slogans “Stop racism”, “Justice for Michael Brown” and “My hands are raised. Please don’t shoot.” Several black teens and children carried signs that read “I am Mike Brown.”

The rally was organized by individual residents and supported by a few community groups, including Not in Our Town and the Coalition for Peace Action. Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert was slated to speak at the rally but did not attend.

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, a sociology professor at Princeton University, said post-racial America doesn’t exist. Citizens want to show their solidarity with the police, but there is an inequality on how people are treated in the country. Black men from poorer neighborhoods are at risk for violence and death at the hands of some police.

“The problem is clear,” she said. “There are people who are not treated as citizens. It is offensive and unacceptable.”

IMG_6526The Rev.Francisco Pozo of Christ Episcopal Church Cristo Rey in Trenton said people need to stand up and call for justice for all people in the country, not just one group or class of people. “Racism diminishes everyone,” he said.

IMG_6522A Princeton High School student who is black described how his parents trained him not to do anything to draw the attention of the police like wearing a hoodie. “I look forward to the day when I will not be an automatic suspect,” the student said.

 

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Christopher Schmidt

    ohhh I agree…let’s not turn a blind eye to anything…disproportionate school drop-out rates…crime rates…bastardy rates…literacy rates. The hits just keep on coming folks.

  • RodneyA

    The organizer really is clueless. I had no idea how much so until I watched this video. Thanks Paulbud. Too bad the mainstream Princeton media won’t share this.

  • Paulbud
  • Cooper11

    Rand Paul is talking about the militarization of the police quite a bit.

  • Jan

    Heartfelt appreciation to those who organized attended and spoke at yesterday’s rally!

    It is a crying shame that people have to get killed before as a society we begin our conversations.

    The subject of the Militarization of Police has had some coverage by the ACLU

    https://www.aclu.org/smart-justice-fair-justice/aclus-report-police-militarization-finds-weapons-and-tactics-war-used

    as well as a prominent book written by Radly Balko Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s
    Police Force (2013)

    http://www.amazon.com/Rise-Warrior-Cop-Militarization-Americas/dp/1610392116

    I strongly suggest that we continuously attend Princeton Council meetings and engage in conversation about local police matters including support for our police department,
    staffing numbers, crime reports, crime rates, the judiciary, public safety initiatives and their informed points of view on the issues.

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