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This Father's Day in New York City:
'A Silent March' against 'stop and frisk'

New 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, or 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),


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