Called by the New Orleans chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the action won the support of the United Teachers of New Orleans, Teamsters, Congress of Day Laborers and Black rights groups.
Present were relatives of many African-Americans brutalized by cops here in recent years. In addition to the families of the Sipp brothers and Wendell Allen, they included Rebecca Glover, aunt of Henry Glover who was killed by cops in 2005 during the Katrina disaster, and Robert Goodman, whose brother Ronald was killed by a SWAT team in 2006.
On March 1 Justin Sipp was going to work at Burger King with his brother Earl. Officers stopped their car, shot and killed Justin and wounded Earl. Allen was killed March 7 when police invaded his mother’s home on a supposed drug tip.
Earl Sipp addressed the rally here, as did his sister Tiphanie Champ. She told the Militant that her brother Justin, Wendell Allen and Trayvon Martin “were criminalized in the media, although they were the ones victimized by violence.”
She said the Sipp family is being stonewalled by the cops and city officials. “We have received no assistance from City Hall.” No cop has been arrested for the shooting of Justin and Earl Sipp, or Wendell Allen.
A contingent of day laborers, most of them Spanish-speaking immigrants, joined the march. “We are members of the Congress of Day Laborers,” said Moisés Mendoza, a construction worker, in an interview. “We are in solidarity with the whole community against injustices, whether by the police or the sheriff’s office. As immigrants we are often arrested for a mere traffic violation and once in jail they turn us over to immigration.” The day laborers leafleted the crowd with flyers calling for a May Day march here to defend immigrant rights.
The criminalization of young Black males was a recurrent theme of the rally. Andrew Stewart spoke representing Stand for Dignity. “I have a felony and that is being used to keep me out of a job,” he said. Maria Peters, from the NAACP in Covington, explained to the Militant how “a whole generation” of Black men in her community is winding up in jail with long sentences on minor drug charges.
Beyond the injustices of the cops, courts and prisons, the rally addressed the disproportionate unemployment of African-Americans, as well as attacks on public education and health care.
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