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Taking to the streets for justice

On Oct. 11, more than 50 people gathered at the call of the Family and Friends of Kashad Ashford and the People’s Organization for Progress in the Clinton Hill section of Newark, NJ to march and then hold a candlelight vigil for Kashad Ashford. Kashad was murdered by the police in Lyndhurst, NJ just outside of Rutherford, on Sept. 16—shot 9 times in the head and stomach through the windshield of a car.

Kashad was 23 years old.

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Kashad Ashford

The march began at Kashad’s home and marched through the streets gaining the support of those on the street and in their doorsteps. The marchers chanted “Stop police brutality, in the Black community” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

As with so many other cases, the district attorney is promoting a vilification of Kashad including statements that he was shot while in driving in reverse attempting to ram a police car. The police allege the car was stolen.

Eyewitness accounts state that Kashad was unconscious after the car had crashed when he was killed by the police.

Members of Kashad’s family and friends spoke at the rally including his mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and several of his friends.

“Me and my brother was like two peas in a pod…The people we call to protect us is the people who are killing us,” said his sister Jenta Ashford. “We definitely got to fight this fight, it could be us today and someone else tomorrow.”

“Kashad is a gentlemen. He helped elderly people with their groceries. Can’t call him a thug—they don’t have any respect for their parents. Kashad had respect. He’d always say ‘Grandma, I’m gonna try to do better’. He’d give you anything he had. Once a man didn’t have a coat and he went in the house and brought him a coat from inside,” said Cecille Hepburn, Kashad’s grandmother.

“They’d called him the ‘Prob’ cuz he solved people’s problems. He was like the community professor trying to help people. We had a young lady who reached out to us…she said he touched her and helped her get her life on track. He’d volunteer to help me with my other granddaughter who is in a wheelchair. He’d always go above and beyond,” continued Hepburn.

DaQuan Lockhart, a friend who grew up with Kashad, spoke and read a poem he wrote in tribute to Kashad. DeQuan explained the role of the government in the poverty, violence and oppression in the Black community. The poem ended “In my hood you got the youth dying before their grandmas, If you look at
y’all window, you’ll see the same thing happening, from my hood to your hood”.

But now, communities across the country inspired by events in Ferguson are responding in unison and committing to not give up the fight. And that’s just what the people of Newark are doing. Another march is being planned to win justice for Kashad Ashford who is one of many of the youth murdered in the racist war against oppressed communities.