Workers World, November 21, 2007
By Steven Ceci
Washington, D.C. Thousands of people from around the country came to Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16 and marched to demand an end to police brutality, racial profiling and hate crimes. The call for the March to Justice came from Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
Organizers said that more than 100 buses came from as far away as Florida and Michigan for the march, which was on a workday. The marchers circled the huge Justice Department building.
One focus of the march was the case of the Jena Six—six Black youth from Jena, La. After a noose was hung from a tree at the local high school, the six were charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight in which they stood up against racist terror. One, Mychal Bell, is still in prison despite a nationwide campaign around the case.
Several marchers cited the death earlier this week in Brooklyn of 18-year-old Khiel Coppin in a barrage of police bullets. “We’re tired of Black people being targets for the police,” said Page Sterling, 71, a marcher from Richmond, Va.
Speakers at the rally included Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rev. Martin Luther King III and Rev. Al Sharpton. Rev. Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus linked the struggle against racism to the struggle against the war in Iraq.
Marchers chanted “No justice, no peace—What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!” The march was very spirited and militant. Many marchers said they will be back and that the struggle against racism is growing into a new civil rights movement.
The march was organized in three weeks and the turnout was due in large part to announcements by Black radio disc jockeys such as Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey and Michael Baisden, all of whom have syndicated radio shows. This was similar to the way in which large sections of the immigrant population were mobilized to turn out in huge numbers for a march for immigrant rights in 2005.