Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge activist leads NYC to DC March2Justice

April 7, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Linda Sarsour (at microphone) is co-chairman of March2Justice, a protest to take place on April 13. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Brooklyn is expected to have a strong presence at a planned protest march that will take demonstrators from New York City all the way to Washington D.C. on foot.

Linda Sarsour, executive director of the non-profit organization Arab American Association of New York, is the co-chairman of the March2Justice, a multi-day protest set to start on Monday, April 13 in which participants will walk from New York to Washington D.C. to deliver a “Justice Package,” a set of proposed law changes, to members of congress. The Arab American Association is headquartered in Bay Ridge.

Marchers will be stopping at cities and towns along the route to hold rallies.

Sponsored by Justice League NYC, a task force of juvenile justice experts, advocates and artists, the March2Justice is aimed at ending racial profiling and putting a stop to what organizers said is the militarization of police departments across the country. The organizers are also demanding a shift in the nation’s juvenile justice system from incarceration to prevention.

The March2Justice website lists the names of several victims who were killed either at the hands of police or by individuals who were not convicted of murder. Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner are among the names listed.

Sarsour and Tamika D. Mallory, national executive director of the National Action Network, are the co-chairmen of March2Justice.

The Arab American Association of New York sent an email to supporters on Monday inviting them to take part in the march.

“One week from today, members from the Arab American Association of New York will be joining Justice League NYC and dozens of other organizations and justice champions to embark on a 250+ mile walk from New York City to Washington, DC. Our intentions are simple, we March2Justice. We march to confront the systemic issues that confront our communities and to demand congressional intervention to address the national crisis of police violence and mass incarceration,” the email read.

“We’re excited to announce that Linda Sarsour is co-chair of the March2Justice and we are proud to support and participate in the march,” the association’s leaders added.

Sarsour did not return phone calls.

Justice League NYC was formed out of The Gathering for Justice, a social justice organization put together by singer and civil rights leader Harry Belafonte in 2005.

Belafonte and union leader George Greshan, president of 1199 SEIU, are the honorary co-chairmen of March2Justice.

Sarsour, who has spoken out publicly many times in the past few years to condemn hate crimes against Arabs, became the victim of a hate crime herself last year.

Sarsour and another member of the Arab American Association of New York were attacked by a man who allegedly yelled anti-Arab slurs at them and threatened to behead them. The ugly incident took place outside the association’s headquarters at 7111 Fifth Ave. on Sept. 3.

Sarsour told the New York Daily News that the suspect threatened to behead her to “see how your people feel about it,” and called her an “Arab bitch.”

In a Facebook post, Sarsour wrote that the suspect also “picked up a huge NYC metal garbage can and threw it at us causing us to have to run in to oncoming traffic.”

For more information on the March2Justice, call the Arab American Association of New York at 718-745-3523.