Arrests Followed “Freedom Side” Silent March to Highlight
the Criminalization of Young People of Color
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Five organizers with the Freedom Side network were arrested today while exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably protest the National Governors Association meeting. The young organizers – James Hayes, Malaya Davis, Marshawn McCarroll, and Aaron Hayes of the Ohio Student Association and Mike Sampson of the Dream Defenders (FL) – were attempting to meet with their elected representative when, without warning, they were arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.
Freedom Side is a network comprised of leaders from the Dream Defenders, United We Dream, Black Youth Project 100, and more than a dozen other grassroots organizations based in communities of color. Its agenda is to organize an electorate that focuses on decriminalization, participatory democracy, and quality education by focusing on local campaigns in four states – Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Ohio.
“They [The law] never loved us,” said James Hayes of Ohio Student Association. “We are here to meet with elected officials, and work to end mass incarceration. All they do is put more of us in the criminal system. This is why we need the National Governors Association to meet with youth leaders and fix this growing systematic problem.”
Organizers are currently calling on the release of the five arrested organizers and demanding a response from the National Governor’s Association. Fundraising efforts can be found at bit.ly/FreetheNashville5
To learn more about Freedom Side, visit www.freedomside.org and follow on Twitter @FreedomSide.