The Duluth Branch of the NAACP held its second annual Decriminalize Color Rally

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In Duluth, the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial was the center of a rally for the NAACP.

The Duluth branch of the NAACP( held its 2nd annual Decriminalize Color Rally. The focus of the annual event is on breaking down systemic racial inequities within the criminal justice system.

“We have been working for the last few years to let people in the community know about racial disparities in our policing here in Duluth. There are racial disparities in the use of force rates, racial disparities, and tickets given out to kids at school and traffic all across the board. We have been working for years, and we are trying to give everyone an update and make sure everyone knows what is going on,” said Jamey Sharp, an NAACP Criminal Justice Committee Member.

A press release by the Duluth branch said that “the first rally held last fall was a huge success, bringing together hundreds of community members to learn more about the branch initiatives and the injustices that black and brown people in Duluth encounter.”

In working with the Duluth Police Department, the NAACP has had success with some projects, and Sharp explains how there are some other conversations that the organization is seeking information on.

“We asked them to look at their use of force. We asked them to look at their use of pretextual stops. That is when they stop people for some kind of reason other than what they picked them up for. It is using officer discretion oftentimes that disproportionately harms black members of our community. So we are asking for policy change, saying that we are going to stop a specific practice.”

Del Shea Perry, a keynote speaker at the rally, shared her story about what happened to her son during his time in jail.

“He got sick with what is called: Guillain-Barre syndrome or GBS from the short, which is treatable, mind you. But he was not treated, and if it is not treated, then you die. And what would happen is that your immune system attacks your nervous system, and everything gets shut down. And that is exactly what happened to my son.”

From that tragic event, Perry created the “Be Their Voices” organization. “Be their voices was birthed out of hearing the other very hard stories to hear that were similar to my son’s story. So, I don’t only fight for my son, but I fight for all the sons and daughters that are incarcerated. They are somebodies baby, and they need to be treated humanely and allow, like I said, allow them to go in and pay that debt to society and leave unharmed.”

Perry also shares that she also fights to end racism, as it must stop. “It affects all of us because somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that has been affected by racism.”