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NAACP Anchorage Youth Council plans 'Black Lives Matter' rally Saturday

  • Author: Jerzy Shedlock
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published December 5, 2014

The NAACP Anchorage Youth Council is holding a peaceful protest on Saturday in response to three incidents of citizens killed by police in the Lower 48.

The deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner have prompted the NAACP to demand change in what the organization says it perceives as the systemic use of excessive force and discriminatory policing.

Protests have persisted nationwide as grand juries tasked with deciding whether to pursue criminal charges against the officers who killed Brown and others have resulted in non-indictments. A small group of protesters gathered in front of Anchorage's federal courthouse on Nov. 26 after a St. Louis grand jury's decision.

The local youth council said it is organizing Saturday's rally to shed light on "the crisis across the country that young African American males face -- 'Black Lives Matter' and all men of color who encounter racial profiling and injustice."

The Anchorage NAACP issued a press release Thursday urging the Department of Justice to ban racial profiling by law enforcement officers and require racial bias training against use of force.

But the president of the local NAACP said to the best of his knowledge, there is not a problem in Alaska.

"We have no concerns presently with APD or the Alaska State Troopers," said Kevin McGee. "No one has come to us with specific complaints, especially nothing that would rise to the level of what's occurred in Ferguson and Staten Island."

McGee said the organization has a good relationship with the Anchorage Police Department and the chief of police, Mark Mew. That relationship has been established through an open dialogue, some of which has centered on racial profiling, he said.

"We simply felt the need to respond because the NAACP as a whole is concerned about recent events, even all the way up here in Alaska," McGee said.

The rally will begin at 2 p.m. at the NAACP Anchorage office at 325 East Third Ave.