[sixties-l] Kent State: 'Don't let their deaths be in vain' (fwd)

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Date: Wed May 22 2002 - 17:07:35 EDT

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    Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 13:39:34 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: Kent State: 'Don't let their deaths be in vain'

    Kent State: 'Don't let their deaths be in vain'

    Via Workers World News Service
    Reprinted from the May 16, 2002
    issue of Workers World newspaper


    By Martha Grevatt
    Kent, Ohio

    Every year on May 4, activists have returned to this college
    town to honor the four students killed and nine wounded when
    the Ohio National Guard fired on a campus demonstration in

    These murders were a deliberate attempt by the state to
    silence the hundreds of thousands of youths who were
    protesting the Vietnam War and the invasion of Cambodia.
    Days later two African-American students were murdered at
    Jackson State in Mississippi.

    Every year since that tragic day, activists have returned to
    Kent to honor the slain students, at Jackson State as well
    as Kent, in a variety of ways. In the late 1970s, militant
    students and antiwar activists gathered to protest the
    building of a gymnasium on the site of the shootings, and
    delayed this act of desecration for several years.

    Prominent figures like the late people's attorney William
    Kunstler and Black liberation leader Kwame Toure made a
    point of traveling to Kent on May 4 for the commemorations.
    Two years ago, students faced the hostility of both the
    campus administration and the capitalist media when they
    insisted on playing a taped statement from imprisoned Black
    revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal at the

    This year, organizers of the official commemoration toned
    down the politics so much that there was barely a mention of
    the current U.S. wars against Palestine and Afghanistan or
    the war threatened against Iraq. Determined to make the
    obvious connection between past and present imperialist wars
    and government repression, the Kent State Anti-War Coalition
    organized a militant rally and march that immediately
    followed the traditional event.

    The most rousing and moving speeches came from the student
    organizers themselves, representing the Muslim Students
    Association, Student Environmental Action Coalition, and
    KSAWC. National speakers included Gulf War resister Jeff
    Patterson and a Michigan representative of the campaign to
    free Rabbih Haddad. A high point was when Jeff Johnson, vice
    president of the Black United Students, read a solidarity
    message from Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    An energetic march wound its way around campus, with loud
    chanting and percussion. Here the emphasis was clear, with
    antiwar and antiracist signs and Palestinian flags. At the
    parking lot where the slain students fell--now a permanent
    memorial--the message was deafening: "Let them not have died
    in vain, no more killing in our name."

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