Twenty-three years in the past, Rayshawn Brown, Jarmaine Grant, Keshon Moore and Danny Reyes, have been headed to North Carolina to pursue their desires of attending a four-year school and taking part in skilled basketball. However their desires ended once they have been pulled over by police on the New Jersey Turnpike and all ended up shot by police. Now referred to as the “Jersey 4” their story continues to resonate right this moment, notably within the wake of so many high-profile killings by police, together with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Three of the Jersey 4 – Brown, Grant and Reyes – participated in a panel dialogue on February 16, 2022, on the Montclair State College College of Communication and Media, hosted by the Black Alumni Advisory Council and moderated by Justice Research Professor Jason Williams, a social justice activist and criminologist whose analysis focuses on racial and gender disparities and abuse within the authorized system.
“It’s a tragic reminder that we’re nonetheless right here coping with these points right this moment,” Willams stated after the occasion. “It’s a strong rallying name to be ever vigilant about police violence.”
In contrast to many racial profiling run-ins with police, the Jersey 4 are alive to inform about it. Through the 23 years since their lives ceaselessly modified on the turnpike, the boys have actively labored towards social justice for all and strengthening their communities. “Their resilience and perseverance has a lot influence,” Williams stated. “It says you may overcome these incidents, make one thing of your self and pay it ahead by giving again.”
They’ve labored laborious, each bodily and emotionally, to beat the trauma of that night time in 1999 and the desires deferred, however it left scars.
“It’s laborious for me to speak about. I nonetheless ask the query, ‘Why did it occur to me?’” Rayshawn Brown advised the viewers. “I by no means did something mistaken. I’m nonetheless actually harm by it.”
The 4 have labored with main nonprofit organizations within the tri-state space, and right this moment are formally included with their very own J4 Pass 2 Assist Foundation, to assist youth of their communities. Their story can also be the topic of a documentary that’s at present in manufacturing.
“We have to inform our story as a result of we’ve got to create the distinction for the longer term,” Danny Reyes, who lives with a bullet lodged in his abdomen, stated through the panel dialogue. “We are able to by no means let up in the case of equality and civil rights.”
Because of their case, police vehicles now have cameras and the 4 proceed to push for reform. Jarmaine Grant stated he’s usually requested whether or not he’s in favor abolishing the police.
“We want cops,” he stated. “We simply want reform. … Numerous modifications have to occur to enhance the police expertise in America.”