This Father's Day in New
'A Silent March' against 'stop and frisk'
York, May 31, 2012 -- Alarmed by legal sanctions that allow police to stop
and search individuals -- mostly persons of color -- in public places, the
NAACP is holding a "Silent March Against Stop and Frisk" on Father's Day.
The march, supported by the National Council of Churches and other faith,
labor and civic groups, will begin at 1 p.m. June 17 at 110th Street between
5th Avenue and Lenox.
Persons may sign-up for the march at
at the march's Facebook page at
"The arbitrary stopping and frisking of anyone -- especially persons of
color -- is reminiscent of discredited police tactics of another era," said
the Rev. Michael Livingston, director of the National Council of Churches
Poverty Initiative and staff to the Council's Racial Justice Working Group.
"From its very beginning, the National Council of Churches has advocated for
basic human rights for all people, and this certainly includes the right to
walk down the street of your neighborhood without being stopped by a police
officer who doesn't like the way you look," said Livingston, who is also a
former president of the NCC.
Judith Roberts, director for Racial Justice Ministries,
Congregational and Synodical Mission, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, said the NCC Racial Justice Working Group is "focusing a great deal
of attention on criminal justice in 2012."
"We recognize that people of color in the United States
are disproportionately impacted by unequal sentencing laws, racial profiling
and institutional racism within our criminal justice system," Roberts said.
"As people of faith, we are called to stand up against injustice."
Organizers of the march said,
"People of color should not be afraid to walk down the street in their
own city. On June 17th, we will proudly walk with
them to assert that right. Like thousands of activists before us, we will
channel the power of our silence to bring public attention to the use of
racial profiling by the New York Police Department."
According to organizers, the tradition of silent marches for civil rights
dates back to 1917, when the then 8-year-old NAACP held the first one in New
York City to protest lynchings, segregation and race riots in the South.
That march, led by NAACP founder W. E. B. DuBois, was the NAACP's first
major public protest, and the power demonstrated by thousands of people
marching silently through the streets of New York became an iconic symbol of
strength in the face of injustice.
"Silence is a powerful force that, like other forms of non-violent protest,
holds a mirror to the brutality of one's opponents." say the organizers. "On
June 17, we will hold up a mirror to New York City's stop-and-frisk policy.
It is not only discriminatory, it actively seeks to humiliate innocent
citizens—particularly African American and Latino men—and criminalize
otherwise legal behavior.
"Right now in our nation's most diverse city, NYPD officials are legally
empowered to stop and pat down any individual based on nothing more than
their own suspicion. In 2009, the most common justification for a stop was a
vague category called 'furtive movement'.
"The result? Blacks and Latinos are nine times as likely as whites to be
stopped by police, and the searches overwhelmingly target young men of
color. In one eight-block area of an overwhelmingly black neighborhood in
Brooklyn, the police made 52,000 stops over a four-year period – an average
of nearly one stop per resident each year.
"And the vast majority of those stopped are innocent. In 2011, the NYPD
stopped and questioned 685,000 New Yorkers. Of those, 605,000 walked away
with no charges – only a feeling of humiliation and anger."
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for
shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's
37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican,
Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace
churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local
congregations in communities across the nation.
NCC News contact:
Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell),