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Queens Chronicle

Ferguson rally held in Jackson Heights

Young activists chant ‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’ in Diversity Plaza

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Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:50 am, Thu Sep 4, 2014.

A large group of mostly young immigrants gathered in Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights to protest the actions of police in Ferguson, Mo.

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people, cuz the power of the people don’t stop,” almost 100 people chanted.

The rally, held on Aug. 22, was organized by Desis Rising Up and Moving — an activist group made up of South Asian workers, youth and families — in support of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson.

“We’ve seen what’s been going on in Ferguson and we’re really disturbed and hurt by it, because we feel what’s happening there is also something our people have been facing as well,” Roksana Mun of DRUM said.

Many of the protesters are undocumented residents or have family members who are and said they feel their rights as human beings have been taken away from them.

“As an undocumented immigrant, I have been organizing to end deportations of immigrants, including my family’s, by saying ‘not one more,’” Nayim of DRUM, who did not provide her last name, said. “Today we also say ‘not one more’ to police killings in the black communities.”

The group wore T-shirts with drawings of open hands on the front and the names “Eric Garner, Shantel Davis, Amadou Diallo, Aiyana Jones and Ramarley Graham” — all people who were killed by police — on the back.

“They say get back, we say fight back,” the group chanted, drawing dozens of people to Diversity Plaza.

Ferguson has become the focal point when it comes to race relations between police and residents.

The officer responsible for shooting Brown allegedly claims he did so in self-defense, but some witnesses maintain he continued to shoot at the teenager even when Brown put his hands up in the air — a universal sign of surrender.

“When our president does not give us administrative relief and does not acknowledge that Mike Brown was murdered and hasn’t called for the officer to be arrested, it sends a message about what the value of life is,” Mun said.

After chanting, the protesters took a photo of their hands up and shared it on Twitter and Facebook.

This act has become somewhat of a tradition during Ferguson-related protests, as the “hands up” pose has become heavily associated with the Brown incident.

“As immigrant communities, we know that we stand upon the shoulders of black communities and their struggles in this country,” Mun said. “And at a moment when the black communities of Ferguson are under siege, we stand in solidarity to proclaim that black lives matter.”

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