A pair of anti-violence groups in Newark, N.J. confronted local lawmakers April 20 to demand an end to senseless crime in the city.
According to BlackNews.com, the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition and the Parents of Murdered Children, a community-based group comprised of parents who have lost their children to violence, gathered in downtown Newark to bring attention to rampant minority violence they said is affecting their communities at alarming rates.
“The violence that is plaguing Black and brown communities in Newark and around the world reflects deeper and neglected underlining issues such as poverty, drugs, the crisis in the family, the high incarceration rates of Black men and women, joblessness, colonialism, neo-colonialism, White supremacy, Black and brown self-hatred, and the counter intelligence program,” Dawn Hayes, a member and organizer of the coalition, told Black News.
The recent rally marked the 91st straight week the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition has orchestrated anti-violence events across the city.
The group, comprised of a broad coalition of activists, teachers, lawyers and community residents, was created in 2009 following the murder of 35-year-old Nakisha Allen. While walking to her home from a neighborhood store, Allen was killed in a drive-by shooting by a Black man who had intended to shoot someone else.
The anti-crime group has openly vowed to inconvenience the city by holding rallies and marches in the middle of major streets and business locations, The group hopes to bring attention to the poverty and violence affecting African-Americans and Latinos in Newark and across the country.
The coalition celebrated its first anniversary in July, and told The Newark Star-Ledger that they believe they have reduced the overall number of shooting and homicides.
“I think we have definitely raised the awareness, at least in the city of Newark, that there’s a need to come together as a community to deal with the disease of violence,” Bashir Akinyele, one of the group’s officers, told the Star-Ledger.
Also among their extensive list of demands at the most recent rally was a call to end police brutality, harassment and unfair treatment, which residents said is a major factor in the high levels of violence in the city.
In March 2010, a Black 15-year-old was brutally beaten by a Newark police officer. In addition to suffering cuts on his chin and face, the teen’s braces also tore through his lips and some of his dreadlocks were ripped out. According to ABC New York affiliate WABC, the officer was suspended without pay following the incident.