Students Discuss Tactics for Dealing with Police
May 5, 2004 2:29 PM
High school students from the June Jordan School for Equity expressed their thoughts and emotions, ranging from confusion to concern, about the alleged police brutality in April involving a 15-year-old JJSE student.
The high school students and faculty of JJSE and the Afrikan Black Historical Commemoration Committee came together Wednesday for a speak-out forum in Jack Adams Hall.
Several JJSE students began the forum by expressing their thoughts about the incident through poems and short essays.
Yesterday marked the two-year anniversary of when he and his two sons were beaten and arrested by Richmond Police, Soto said. Soto is the lead plaintiff in a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Richmond for alleged police brutality.
After Soto's speech, the students were broken up into groups of students, JJSE instructors and ABHCC students. They had a roundtable discussion of past experiences with police, and they discussed three questions: how can they change behavior of cops, what to do if confronted and how to prevent future incidents. Someone from each group wrote down the group solutions on poster paper, which they plan to give to the police.
“It’s great to hear high school students express themselves,” said Chris Jackson, 21, a speech communications major. “I learned that you have more rights than you think you do. It (the form) was very important and great that students are learning something outside the textbook.”
After each group presented its answers, two mothers of JJSE students - Toni Gill and the mother of the 15-year-old in the incident – gave their advice.
Gill said she commended the protest and speak-out and said Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud to see the students not being silent.
The mother of the student involved in the incident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the students she is very upset about what happened and thanked them for their support.
“I’m very sorry the situation had to happen,” the mother said afterward. “But I hope out of all of this, something good comes out of it. As adults, we realize our positions, and we need to be supportive, encouraging, nurturing and empowering them to be the leaders of the tomorrow.”
The JJSE students are on the right path on standing up for their rights and justice, but it will be a long commitment for the victims and supporters, Soto said afterward.
ABHCC, composed of SF State students, hosted the event. “I’m extremely proud of the JJSE students and the work they did today,” said Rakita O’Neal, head of council for ABHCC. “Because not only are they the future, they are our today. For them to be leaders in their community like they were today, they have to continue to fight their own fight with their peers and those older than them.”
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