As the civil case for justice for the Central Park 5 proceeded in the Federal Court House at 500 Pearl St. in Lower Manhattan on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2012, the heat turned up in the street.

Guyana Tourism 2013 begins with: On the same day the December 12th Movement and the Freedom Party, have called for a massive protest under the theme, “Black Nation, Black Nationalism and Pan Africanism or Perish,” to be held one block away at Foley Square at Duane Street and Lafayette Street at 4:00 p.m. calling for a “Day Of Outrage” demanding the long overdue justice and reparations.

Many view this critical case as a microcosm of the systemic oppression of the Black and Latino community. Five young men, Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam, and Antron McCray were wrongfully convicted 23 years ago in the brutal rape of a white investment banker dubbed, “The Central Park Jogger” case. The teens spent six to 13 years in prison.

The protest is also in resistance to the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy as a violation of the human rights of Black and Latino men in New York City.

At a recent forum in Harlem, spokesperson Omowale Clay declared, “In 2013, our people must have unity in action. We must push for self reliance, self determination, and become our own liberators. Every aspect of our lives is under attack. The only way we can fight and win is together and in the streets. We will get reparations for these young brothers now!”

The case has gained momentum in the past few months during the latest court hearings as community activist have mobilized to fill the court room. The New York City Police Department and Mayor Bloomberg’s administration have relentlessly stalled any progress on this blatantly open-and-shut case of police abuse and injustice. Serial rapist Matias Reyes confessed to the crime. The only DNA found at the crime scene was his, and the five men have been exonerated. Yet, they still refuse to admit any wrongdoing.

More and more people are demanding the case be settled, particularly since the resent screenings of the David McMahon, Ken and Sarah Burns documentary focusing on the case. A Daily News OpEd piece on Dec 24 demanded the case be resolved as quickly as possible and NYC Comptroller John Liu recently held a press conference urging a settlement.

Even former Assistant District Attorney Linda Fairstein, who called the shots in the original case felt the need to come out to the last court hearing. Ms. Fairstein had never shown her face in any court proceedings since the five teenagers went to prison on false charges with no physical evidence.

“Twenty three years of injustice have passed so far. It’s time for the people of this city to stop Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg’s iron grip on injustice.”

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