Members of the Justice League NYC were joined by New York City politicians, civil rights leaders, and activists as they presented plans of action against racial injustices at a press conference Monday for the upcoming #March2Justice.
Created under Harry Belafonte’s organization The Gathering of Justice, director Carmen Perez spoke on the march, which will span over five states from April 13 to April 21. With the help of Belafonte and 1199SEIU‘s President George Gresham, the group will deliver a “Justice Package” of proposals to Congress in an effort to ultimately end racial profiling, demilitarize police forces, and offer more initiatives for community projects.
The group, who organized successful and peaceful movements for Eric Garner and other victims of police killings last year, are hoping to make history with the #March2Justice event in more ways than one.
Some of their larger demands include the dismissal of racial profiling and more importantly, raising the age of the Justice Delinquency Prevention Act.
Justice League’s Tamika D. Mallory expressed the importance of the act:
“Currently New York and North Carolina are the only two states that treat 16 and 17-year-old youths as adult,” she said. “Any encounter with the police that involves an arrest and sentence will send 16-17-year-olds to adult facilities. The Raise the Age campaign says that the State of New York should have age-appropriate facilities and a process for young people. As a progressive state, we cannot be in line with North Carolina, nor behind states like Mississippi or Alabama.”
Mallory says that the laws will not only affect the NYPD’s questionable tactics, but police officers from all over the country. The White House Task Force on 21st Century Policing’s latest report revealed one hundred unarmed people were killed by police officers in March–many of them African-American.
“Police officers kill unarmed people of color and rarely are any indicted or convicted, which sends a message to young people that they can be killed without any consequence, and we say not on our watch,” she said. “This march is to raise awareness on these very important issues and send a strong message to young people of color that they matter and that their lives are valuable. We will also connect with groups in the Northeast Region who are ready to move with a collective voice. This work will certainly continue well after the march.”
Hazel Dukes, the head of the state’s NAACP charter, was present with New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, and Assemblymen Michael Blake and Andy Clark to lend their support and compassion to the cause, praising young people for their efforts.
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Also present was the daughter of political activist Harry Belafonte. Gina Belafonte, actress and fellow activist, spoke on the importance of protesting and how supporters of all ages can get involved in the march.
“I want [older] people to support the youth anyway they can,” she said. “They themselves do not want to be on the front lines understandably so, or not understanding the issues well enough, and they need to find ways to support the young people with resources – whether it’s money, food, prayers, or good will. There’s many ways to intersect into activism and everyone can find a way to contribute.”
The Justice League says they’re preparing for the march by attending fitness classes and have also used the power of mediation and other activities to keep them grounded and focused.
Check out more of the groups’ plans for the march and how you can help here.
VIDEO SOURCE: YouTube