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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rutgers Students Stand thier Ground Against Social Injustice

Christopher Ettienne

It was the words "No justice, No peace" that echoed from protesting students in unison outside of the Rutgers University Student Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey early March 7, 2014. 

Influenced by the outcomes of recent "Stand your Ground" cases involving Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, students gathered together in protest for what they believed to be a large injustice taking place within America's judicial system.


Trayvon Martin, who was infamously shot and killed by George Zimmerman walking home on the evening of February 26th 2012 in Sanford, Florida, sparked the large amount of controversy and publicity surrounding the "Stand Your Ground" laws which Zimmerman used to justify his actions.  


Jordan Davis on the other hand, was a 17 year old African American male who was shot dead in his car by Michael Dunn after a Verbal confrontation about loud music.  Dunn was eventually convicted of three accounts of attempted second-degree murder.


Christopher Bradshaw, Treasurer of the Rutgers University Black Student Union (B.S.U.) helped orchestrate the event.
B.S.U., in correlation with other student organizations such as: Douglass Black Students' Congress (D.B.S.C.), Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and Students for Justice in Palestine (S.J.P.).

Bradshaw stated the event reflects "social injustices in our criminal justice system... and how it disproportionately affects black and brown [individuals]". 
       
           

Jaimese Morris, representing the Douglass Black Students' Congress, attended the event for personal support and interest.  She said "As students and  minorities, we have to address these issues... This is happening to our young folk, it's happening to people around our age... When you look like the people that are being harmed it's up to you to make a difference."




          

Morris also plans to take strides in the future evoke positive change. She said, "I'm going into criminal justice and I'm going into law enforcement, I feel as though I should be the person who is going to be on the right side of justice."

Bradshaw offered similar sentiments, saying that students play an essential role in bringing about this change. He said "We are the next step in that leap, we are the people who are going to be educators and lawyers. So it's up to us to have a positive influence on social justice, social awareness and equality." 


Bradshaw concluded with the following: 


"We are all united in a struggle, it takes responsibility to accept that my problem is your problem, and even if it's not right now, it will be in the future".

  Special Thanks To Larry Hamm
Christopher Bradshaw also wanted to give a special thanks to Larry Hamm for helping him organize the event. Mr. Hamm is the Chairman of the "People’s Organization of Progress." 

Hamm has been a life time advocate for social justice. 


According to NJ.com he was state director for the million man march, and has helped lead demonstrations in Newark high schools, Princeton University, and is a well known activist against urban violence, and police brutality. 


Hamm was scheduled to attend the event, but suffered injuries from a recent car accident. 


According to the "People’s Organization for Progress" he is now successfully en route to recovery. 





The N.A.B.J. Rutgers Chapter staff wishes Mr. Hamm the best, and we look forward to meeting him in the future. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

23rd Annual TWESE Fashion Show: "Black Excellence"

By: LaToya Dove

The 23rd Annual “Twese Fashion Show” held Saturday March 8, 2014 at Rutgers University’s Student Center attracted large crowds as students modeled lines from professional designers and showed off their modeling skills.

Twese, the Rutgers University student organization that represents itself as “the organization for African students and friends of Africa,” titled this year’s show “Black Excellence.”


Attendees came dressed to impress following the all black theme, as the lit runway lined the middle of the multi-purpose room and VIP members took their seats along the perimeter of the catwalk.

Up-and-coming host and entrepreneur Rodney Rikai Thomas hosted the show alongside Rutgers University alum Sasha Starr.  

“I love the fact that you guys have real fashion at your fashion shows….real couture pieces,” said Thomas. “It’s very similar to a New York fashion show in terms of the layout and where the VIP seating is.”

The show featured a dozen designers with styles ranging from casual to formal wear for both male and female models.

However, it was not just the layout and designer’s styles that proved to be authentic and diverse.

The fierce energy of the models immediately set a high bar for the show and continued throughout the night.

Although some of the models had years of experience, for others it was only their first or second time.

Thus, to prepare for the show, the models rehearsed several times a week.

“It was hectic at times but it turned out smooth,” said model, Ovie Enaohwo.

Lisa Green, also a model, found the rehearsal process to be “intense.” “We make it look good out there but behind the scenes it’s a lot of running around, pulling clothes off, and craziness… but it’s all about what we look like on stage.”

Of the 12 designers in the show, the crowd favorite was Marco Hall.

“I love him, I follow him on Instagram,” said audience member Tiyana Prince. “I really enjoy all of his work.”

Hall, based out of New York and New Jersey, has been a designer for over 20 years. “Being able to create and show people my growth,” is the favorite aspect of his profession.

His self-entitled line of elegant dresses and gowns visually challenged the audience yet remained crisp and classy.

Other highlights from the show included a performance by the Twese Dance Troupe, and a modeling competition for audience members. 

An overall success, Twese extends their tradition of “Black Excellence” in extraordinary fashion. (literally)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stand Your Ground Rally At Rutgers University Coverage: Ijoema Unachukwu

Writer: Ijeoma Unachukwu
Publisher: BVCL: (Black Voice Carta Latina)
Editor: Raymond Cheley  

In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, the Rutgers University Black Student Union (BSU), Delta Iota Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, NAACP, Liberty Gospel Choir, Latin American Women’s Organization, and Students For Justice in Palestine hosted  the "Stand Your Ground Rally" this Friday, March 7th, 2014.



Aimed to raise awareness regarding "Stand Your Ground" laws, BSU treasurer Christopher Bradsaw and public relations chair, Fawzan Lari took initiative in planning the event and taking action. 


Starting at 1:00 p.m., the Liberated Gospel Choir kicked off the protest singing the “Black National Anthem” and “There’s No Way." 

"These selections (were chosen) because they  were specifically applicable to the purpose of the rally." stated choir director Lashanda Coq. 

Passionate protesters made signs with messages such as: 
“NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE” 
“HONK IF YOU HATE SOCIAL INJUSTICE". 


Informational pamphlets regarding the policy were also dispersed. 




Bradshaw, pictured above stated, “students are on the pipeline to becoming the elite." 

Overall, the group wanted to illustrate that this is not about black VS white, it is an issue of forgiveness leading to change; which can only be achieved through the mutual pursuit for social justice between all races, genders, and classes .