Hundreds of supporters from a broad coalition of labor, community and social justice groups joined the family of Ramarley Graham for the last of 18 memorial vigils and marches held in and calling for justice for the murdered Bronx teenager. Graham was killed in his Kingsbridge home on February 2 by NYPD officer Richard Haste who entered the premises without a warrant and shot Graham, who was unarmed, as Graham’s younger brother and grandmother looked on.
Since that day, Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, an 1199 member at Cedar Manor NH in Ossining, NY, and his father, Franclot Graham, have vowed to fight for justice for their lost son and also to focus attention on police brutality in communities of color. They’ hae also become vocal advocates for the end to discriminatory practices like the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy and deadly Stand Your Ground laws. As a memorial to their lost son, Malcolm and Graham – and all those who have had children killed or brutalized by the police - held 18 vigils outside the Graham home followed by a marches to the NYPD’s 47th Precinct; one vigil for every year of Ramarley’s life.
At the last gathering, Constance Malcolm thanked everyone for their support but reminded the crowd to continue the struggle, even with Richard Haste’s June indictment for the killing of her son.
“This is the only way we are going to stop this injustice to our people,“ she said. “We have to stay together and we have to stay united.”
Ramarley’s father, Franclot, told supporters that Haste’s first court date is September 13. “We are asking as many of you to come out and support us on that day as possible,” he said. “I know that sometimes we don’t go to work because we don’t feel well, but this is a good day to take off. This is a very good reason. Please come out and support us.”
1199er Marcia Levine, a CNA at Bay Park Nursing and Rehab in the Bronx, was among scores who joined the last march through Ramarley Graham’s Kingsbridge neighborhood. Many participants walked with their children and families. Together they chanted and held signs and banners as they made their way from Graham’s E.229th St home to the NYPD’s 47th Precinct.
“I thought I had to be here tonight to show my support for this young man that was,” said Levine. “I have a son his age and I feel the pain his mother feels. We have to stand up as a community and stop this Stop and Frisk because it’s insane. Black people are being targeted for no reason. Young people are scared. We need to develop a trust with the police, but they need to develop it with us by being in the community, not killing us.”
For more information log onto www.ramarleyscall.org.