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Youth in Nashville rally to end racial profiling and racist attacks

By Preston Gilmore

African American and Latino youth demand an end to racial profiling.

Nashville, TN – On Feb. 25 over 30 youth, mostly African American and Latino, rallied on Legislative Plaza at the State Capitol to demand an end to racial profiling and a repeal of Tennessee’s version of the “Stand Your Ground” law. The event was organized by the American Baptist College chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Protesters marched around the entrance to the Tennessee Legislature holding signs, handing out flyers and chanting, “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” “Brown skin is not a crime!” and “Black skin is not a crime!”

A number of organizations rallied, including Workers Dignity Project, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC). Protesters held signs saying, “Stand your ground is racial profiling,” “Give us peace. Don’t leave us in pieces!” and “50 years later.” This last one was referencing the 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that SCLC played a pivotal role in winning.

Many at the rally spoke about the murders of African American and Latino youth by police, and by racists such as George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn. They demanded justice for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Oscar Grant and all the youth whose lives have been cut short by racist murderers. They spoke of the outrage they felt and the injustice of a system that lets child killers like Zimmerman walk free and allows Dunn to be found not guilty of murder in Jacksonville, Florida. They vowed to continue the fight to end racial profiling and the attacks on African American and Latino youth.

A lead organizer for the event, Evan Regis of the SCLC said, “The lynchings still continue and the lynchings of Black and Brown brothers and sisters allows us to see that the fight for freedom must also continue. Racial profiling has resulted in Black brothers being 80% of the prison population today and we need to stop the lynching and the discrimination against our brothers and sisters. Legislators are holding the noose around our Black brothers! Laws and policies are squeezing the breath out of our Black brothers! Legislators are still holding the noose on Black bodies. The fight for freedom still continues.”

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