NAACP stages play about racial profiling on NJ Turnpike in 1998

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington NAACP will host the play “A State of Profiling,” on Saturday, June 11, at 11:30 a.m. at the VFW Hall, 56 Chestnut Ave., in Irvington.

The play, written by Georgiana Hart and directed by Robert Pape, is about the NJ state troopers racially profiling a carload of minority students on the NJ Turnpike in 1998.

According to Irvington NAACP Vice President Kathleen Witcher on Friday, June 3, “The play centers around the true story of four African-American college students who travel down the NJ Turnpike, returning to college after a break. They are stopped and all four are shot by NJ state troopers in 1998. The play depicts their struggles and pain, recovering from their wounds. It also leads the discussion on racial profiling and their undying efforts for social justice.”

The play will also be staged at Isaiah House at 595 Central Ave., Newark, on Friday, June 17, at 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, at 2 p.m.

The June 11 production is part of a busy June for the Irvington NAACP. On Thursday, June 2, Witcher and Irvington NAACP President Merrick Harris hosted a forum on air quality at Greater New Point Baptist Church on Paine Avenue.

“Is the air we breathe fresh and pure? That is the question,” said Witcher on Thursday, June 2. “We had local environmentalist Michael Spruill as a presenter, as well as representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Air. Anyone interested in the air we breathe and the environment should have been at the presentation.”

Witcher said the local civil rights group’s next scheduled event after the play is Thursday, July 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Greater New Point Baptist Church, when the New Jersey Office of Civil Rights presents a workshop called “Know Your Rights – Workshop on Employment and Housing Discrimination.”

All are welcome to attend the play performances; a donation will be requested at the door. For more information about the Irvington NAACP and upcoming events, contact Harris at 973-634-6315 or Witcher at kwitcher2000@yahoo.com.

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