New Black Panther field marshall Sharif Amenhotep roared the fallen student’s name over a megaphone in bold call and response fashion, rallying the participants into a circle that literally took the corner near where Jessica Moore was senselessly gunned down only a few days prior.
“Long live Jessica Moore!” They chanted on his lead.
“Long live Jessica Moore!”
“Long live Jessica Moore!”
Moore was a Virginia based 19 year old honor student at Seton Hall University, who had been gunned down at a local party in East Orange, near its Newark border, by a disgruntled uninvited guest. When this uninvited person was turned away from the party, he left and came back with a gun and fired into the party hitting five people, including Jessica who literally threw herself over a friend.
The killing traumatized that East Orange neighborhood, traumatized the Seton Hall campus where she was widely respected and of course her family in Virginia.
The police have since charged Nicholas Welch with the shooting.
The rally was a moving intergenerational gathering of college students, neighborhood youth and elders, community activists, clergy, educators. Veteran leaders like Lawrence Hamm and Zayid Muhammad who both have ties to the area where on hand. It was organized and cosponsored by organizations like Hamm’s Peoples Organization for Progress, Muhammad’s New Black Panther Party, the Newark AntiViolence Coalition, which has shutdown city blocks in Newark every week for over a year to dramatize the plague in that city, Enough Is Enough, and others.
“It makes me want to finish she started,” said 19 year old area resident Erica Chism. Chism was one of many who did not know Moore personally, but who felt compelled to come because she was “upset.”
Tamara Gardner, a close friend of Moore’s from Seton Hall, captured the personal dimensions of this senseless lost.
It took everything in me to go to my classes on Tuesday and not her again,” she said choked with emotion.
Gardner, leader of Seton Hall’s Black Student Union, lead a procession of Seton Hall students on foot to participate in the rally.
Unfortunately things were made extremely tense for a few moments when East Orange police arrived after the gathering had already assembled and was well at hand. They began to threaten people with arrest for being in the street and created a needless atmosphere of harassment and intimidation.
Then suddenly, the students from Seton Hall spontaneously locked arms and sat down affirming the determination to continue their rally in the streets.
Submitted by Zayid Muhamed
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