MEMPHIS MARCH AGAINST CRIME 

Latinos want to raise awareness.

A march to raise awareness of the disproportionate amount of crime in the African-American and Latino communities will take place Saturday, May 10th.

The march will begin at the McFarland Community Center and Cottonwood and end at the Memphis Police Department's East Precinct on Mendenhall.

The event, organized by Fuerza Latina Unida (United Latin Movement), is designed to raise public awareness of a study conducted by FLU in conjunction with the Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. The study suggested that communities and civic bodies enter into a partnership in order to cope with crime.

Latinos make up 3 percent of the Memphis population," said Latino activist David Lubell. "But in 2002, 11.2 percent of individual robbery victims were Latinos."

FLU's Rolando Rostro, a minister and onetime migrant worker, said that beyond the obvious language barrier a number of reasons exist for the disproportionate levels of crime within immigrant communities.

"So many of these people don't trust the police because they come from countries where the police are very corrupt," Rostro said. "Also, they don't trust the banks, so they always have money on them. They keep their money in their homes. This makes them easy targets."

Plans to combat these problems include hiring bilingual 911 operators, offering incentive pay while recruiting bilingual police officers, and creating liaisons between the police and the Latino community.

According to Pastor Ralph White of Bloomfield Baptist Church, creating an African/Latino American Credit Union may also help the two communities. Pastor White was asked to lend his resources to the march after it occurred to organizers that similar problems continue to exist in African-American communities. For instance, African Americans make up 61.4 percent of the Memphis population, but in 2002, they were victims in 79.6 percent of the reported homicides.

White explained that one way to lessen the tension that exists between these two communities as a result of economic competition is to look at the issues they have in common. "None of us can be free until all of us are free," he said.

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