---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 13:39:34 -0700
From: radtimes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
KENT STATE ACTIVISTS SAY: "DON'T LET THEIR DEATHS BE IN VAIN"
By Martha Grevatt
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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