The Eastern Michigan University chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is hosting a march in honor of Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old boy who was killed as a result of gang violence in September, and prevent the loss of more lives to violence.
The march is from 5-7 p.m. today at Big Bob’s Lake House.
Albert was a native of Chicago and was murdered one day after school in a fight involving a large number of other teens. The entire fight was being filmed and would eventually be put on YouTube.com. Some of the teens possessed large wooden boards and were trying to hit others involved in the fight.
Albert was hit directly in the head with a piece of wood, knocking him unconscious. After realizing he was not recovering from the blow and was possibly dead, no one seemed to notice his state or help him.
The idea of having a march was initiated by Brittni Brown, a sophomore, who learned about the death of Albert after doing some Internet browsing.
“I do a lot of research, and I’m a very news-conscious person,” Brown said. “As soon as I saw this, tears came to my eyes and I got heavily involved; I felt that we all needed a wake-up call. And we want everyone to come out and support, violence knows no color.”
Immediately after this, Brown started telling everybody she knew about Albert’s death and emailing other organizations on campus about taking a stand against violence.
Brown eventually teamed with the president of the EMU chapter of the NAACP, Mariah Manuel, a senior who was very serious about making a change after watching the video.
“I just kept thinking that nobody helped him,” she said. “I didn’t know this young man, but his death was on YouTube and that is not ok, it’s just not right.”
Manuel and Brown worked very hard to put together a march on campus in such a short amount of time.
“We really wanted to let people know that what happened to Derrion Albert doesn’t happen again,” Manuel said. “We want to educate people on what to do, if just one person would have helped, he wouldn’t be dead.”
Deondra Powers, a sophomore and a chairperson for the education committee for the EMU chapter of the NAACP, hopes the march will be a success.
“I hope it affects everybody,” she said. “It should help motivate people to be a part of something. And not even just a part of a group, but to express ideas to keep people aware of the issues going on around them. We all need to know what’s going on around us, and we need to be aware of our surroundings.”
The march involves a collaboration of different organizations on EMU’s campus, including Black Student Union, Poetry Society and the EMU Gospel Choir. There will be spoken words, a program speaker and pamphlets about preventing violence.