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Local Racial Profiling Hearing Modeled After Mandela’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JULY 20, 2010

CONTACT:      Remziya Suleyman, Policy Coordinator, TN Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition; (615) 833-0384 x 105; remziya@tnimmigrant.org

NASHVILLE – At a July 22 public hearing, victims of racial profiling will be able to relate their stories to local and national commissioners, in a format modeled on Truth and Reconciliation commissions, such as the one Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu set up in South Africa.  The event is part of the Rights Working Group’s national “Racial Profiling: Face the Truth” campaign.  A coalition of local and national civil liberties, racial/ethnic rights and advocacy organizations is hosting the local hearing at the Scarritt-Bennett Center’s Fondren Hall.

“Not only is racial and religious profiling humiliating and degrading for the people subjected to it, it is unconstitutional, an ineffective law enforcement practice and damages public safety,” said Remziya Suleyman, Policy Coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.  “This hearing is a step toward elimination of this destructive practice.”

The Face the Truth campaign is working to build alliances among directly affected communities, coordinate advocacy efforts and field activities, and educate and mobilize broad support for legislative and policy reforms to stop racial profiling.  The campaign’s goals are to pass the End Racial Profiling Act through Congress, to improve the Department of Justice’s Racial Profiling Guidelines and to reform immigration enforcement programs such as 287(g) and Secure Communities that lead to racial profiling by local law enforcement.

Racial and religious profiling is a pervasive problem that affects many communities across the country.  While African-American communities have struggled with the issue of racial profiling for generations, profiling also affects a broad range of groups, including the Native American, Latino, Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities.

At the hearing, those who have experienced or witnessed racial profiling firsthand can testify to the realities of this problem, with the option of remaining anonymous.  Their stories will be videotaped and shared with allies in government to help reach the goals of the campaign.  In addition, community members who are not testifying will be able to record their experiences in a separate Story Booth.

When:  July 22, 2010 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Scarritt-Bennett Center, Fondren Hall, 1008 19 th Avenue South, Nashville

Commissioners:

David Esquivel,Board Member, Conexión Americas

Margaret Huang, Executive Director, Rights Working Group

Salaad Nur, Board Member, Al-Farooq Islamic Center

Shirley Sims-Saldana, Compliance Manager, Metro Human Relations Commission

Father Charles Strobel, Founding Director, Room in the Inn

Hedy Weinberg , Executive Director, ACLU of Tennessee    

Rev. Neely Williams , Program Director, Interdenominational Ministers’ Fellowship Peniel Initiative & Pastor, Metropolitan Interdenominational Church

Sponsors:

American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, Conexión Americas, Gideon’s Army, Kurdish American Youth Organization, Nashville Homeless Power Project, Oasis Center, Organized Neighbors of Edgehill, Rights Working Group, Scarritt Bennett, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, The Urban Epicenter

   
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