Collegians walk in Albany - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Collegians walk in Albany

September 20, 2007

Albany --  More than 150 Albany State University students participated in a rally in Jena, La., and those who couldn't held their own rally on campus.

Dressed in black, students marched the Pedestrian Mall singing and chanting their message of injustice.

Around nine o'clock this morning more than 100 students could be heard across campus, shouting words that included freedom, liberty, and justice.

Many ASU students couldn't make the trip, but still wanted their voices to be heard.  They marched along the Pedestrian Mall, six times, once for each black student who's been charged in the beating of a white classmate. 

Many fear if they don't speak up now, other situations may follow.  University President Everette Freeman joined students and says they've grasped an important life lesson. 

 "They understand what Mr. Luther King said a long, long time ago, a threat to justice anywhere and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and they understand injustice has to be addressed," said Freeman.

Students addressed expressed themselves with songs and chants and posters.  They hope their message will be heard throughout south Georgia.

Albany civil rights pioneer Charles Sherrod said these students need to be a part of civil rights work.  "The identification that some people made themselves, with where they are and what they were doing, and they called the tune, and they sang the songs, and identified with some of what happened in the past as best they knew, and I think it was just a great happening."

Sherrod called for new dialogue. "What we haven't done here in Albany is sat down together and count the costs together. Somehow, someway, somebody's got to come up with a way that white people can vent their emotions about racism along with black people venting theirs as well."

Many are also anxious to hear from 150 students who actually attended the rally today in Jena.  They'll be back late tonight and could lend students another perspective on the situation having seen it first hand.

Albany State Students have been discussing the situation in Jena in their history classes as well and today many called it the Albany Movement of their generation.

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