Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Students rally despite delayed court hearing

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hundreds of high school and college students demonstrated at Fountain Square Tuesday to support affirmative action in college admissions.

        They gathered despite a last-minute federal court delay that pushed back the visit of the keynote speaker, the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

        The protest and his appearance had been timed for the beginning of two appellate-court hearings that challenge University of Michigan admissions practices. Friday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals postponed the hearings until Dec. 6 so the entire panel of judges could meet.

        Several hundred people — from the University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee and Michigan as well as high schools in Cincinnati and Detroit — marched from UC's campus to Fountain Square. Some chanted “Don't segregate; Educate.”

        Court challenges of minority-oriented admissions policies “have unleashed the fury of a new civil-rights movement to be led by a new young generation of students,” said Shanta Driver, organizer for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action & Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN).

        BAMN has gathered 30,000 signatures on a nationally circulated petition it plans to present to the appellate court.

        “It's time for the young people of this country to decide what kind of country you want,” said the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights veteran who marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

        Robert Richardson, UC's student government president and founder of its NAACP youth chapter added: “We are going to fight this battle until hell freezes over. Then we are going to fight on the ice.”


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