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Students gather for rally against racial, social injustice

<p>Aedan Hill, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, holds a sign to advocate for racial and social justice at the “Stand your Ground” rally on Friday, March 7.</p>

Aedan Hill, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, holds a sign to advocate for racial and social justice at the “Stand your Ground” rally on Friday, March 7.

Our country has a black president, yet, the United States is not rid of social injustice, said Lundon Wilson, secretary of the Black Student Union at Rutgers.

The Black Student Union, along with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Rutgers chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Liberty Gospel Choir and the Latin American Women’s Organization all gathered in front of Brower Commons on Friday for the ‘Stand Your Ground’ rally against racial and social injustice.

Bypassing cars honked their horns in support of the activists’ signs, which said things like “Turn down for what? Injustice” and “We are all Trayvon Martin.”

Lawrence Hamm, state chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, an independent association for racial, social and economic justice, was scheduled to speak at the event.

According to a message posted on the NJPOP website Saturday, Hamm sustained serious injuries from a car accident that day and was taken to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

“We are trying to bring awareness to the Rutgers community and let everyone know that the U.S. has not changed as much as people think,” said Wilson, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.

Elia Jefferson-Gonzalez, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said the stand-your-ground law and the zero-tolerance laws are obvious forms of the existence of racism, classism and sexism within the criminal justice system.

Jefferson-Gonzalez, president of the Latin American Womyn’s Organization, said the stand-your-ground law gives people the right to use deadly force in self-defense and the zero-tolerance laws impose direct, automatic punishment for infractions of a stated rule.

Michelle Locke, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said these laws disproportionately target minority citizens and perpetuate the school-to-prison path.

“We want children to have better experiences and opportunities,” Locke said.

Wilson said it is unfortunate that young minorities have to lose their lives because the law does not protect them.

John Lisowski, a member of SJP, sees racial injustice as a serious issue that needs to be acknowledged.

“People need to recognize that racism is still a problem today,” said Lisowski, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “They need to wake up [to the issue] and stop complaining about things like reverse racism, which doesn’t exist.”

One hundred and fifty people signed the social injustice pledge, agreeing to actively confront social injustice in the community while acknowledging social privileges and using them to combat social inequality and promote social justice.

Gonzalez said the goal of the pledge is to engage students about the issue of social inequality.

“The goal is to inspire more students to become activists,” she said. “We are trying to show that social movements can deconstruct these forms of injustice.”

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