Students Speak Against Race Discrimination

By Yalda Sadiq

An event to educate students and call for action against the
inequality faced by blacks and Latinos in the American justice
system was held last Tuesday entitled “Minority Report.”

“Racism still exists within the criminal justice system period,”
said Robert Cole, a third-year journalism student and event

Sixty percent of the inmates in the state and federal prisons
were black or Hispanic by the end of 2005. Black inmates serve
91.7-month sentence while whites serve 79.8 months for the same
crime, according to the presentation by Cole.

Cole received the information from Clinton Cox, ACLU and Bureau
of Justice Web sites.

“I am tired of police aggression. I am tired of blacks and
Latinos having higher incarceration rates and that’s why I did the
event,” said Cole. “I want to get people mad enough to get up and
do something about it.”

Cole said he had the event to ask why there’s a disparity and
why specific groups are targeted.

Some of the answers include the war on drugs in the 1980s, the
three strikes law and the war on terror were used to oppress
minorities, according to Amir Abdel Malik Ali who spoke at the
event. The suburban-trained police who cover the inner cities and
end up racially profiling the residents is also part of the

The event was held in the Bronco Student Center and had a panel
of four judges.

Carlos Alvarez from Act Now to Stop War and End Racism gave
examples of police brutality as witnessed by him and the efforts
made by the organization on the issue.

“Prisons are concentration camps for the poor,” said

Charles Williams, an English professor from Chaffey College,
talked about racial profiling and the need for implementation of
various programs to change the current system.

Renford Reese, professor of political science, discussed the two
books he has written about the prison system and the hope that
still exists for the prisoners.

Ali came from Oakland to discuss the issue of the justice system
used to oppress and control ethnic groups and the government not
providing second chances for the ex-convicts.

“[We] can’t look at them like the system looks at them, like
there’s nothing good about them,” said Ali.

Ali discussed the profit aspect of the prison industrial
complex, the need for a change in the system through a movement,
police brutality and the ongoing form of slavery in the prisons
through punishment.

“Modern day lynchings are police killings,” said Ali.

The movement Ali wants to bring about consists of
anti-imperialist, anti-militarist and anti-racist values. It also
means a struggle for self-rule and self determination.

“Develop an alternative life style that is conducive to the
movement,” said Ali. “Live a life where you care about others.
Think about others and let that be the basis for your life.”

Students don’t want to go to another lecture when attending
these events, according to Amir Mertaban, a fifth-year
international business and marketing student.

“Students want something inspirational and something they are
going to be able to relate to,” said Mertaban. “And he is able to
relate to his audience.”

Some students said they attended because they were interested in
the issue.

“We have to turn around and tell people that don’t know much
about the issue or are too much into the media and the
misconceptions,” said Mervet Ghannam, a second-year radiology

Cole said they tried to get the other side of the story by
inviting the Pomona Police Chief, but he declined to come.

“They’re scared to acknowledge that there’s a problem,” said

Cole wants to have the event again next year because it was a
success in collaborating with the Black Student Union, Mexican
American Student Association, Muslim Student Association and the
Multicultural council.

“People don’t think [the issue] affects them until it happens to
them or a loved one,” said Cole.

Yalda Sadiq can be reached by e-mail at or
by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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