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After Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Shootings, Miami High-Schoolers Plan Protest

Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men, were killed by police in separate incidents this week. Sterling, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had been pinned to the ground and appeared to not be resisting when a cop pressed a gun to his chest and fatally shot him. Castile, from Minnesota, was killed in his car as he reached for his wallet during a traffic stop.

We know this because both men died, graphically, on video. Nationwide protests have erupted in response — including the peaceful Dallas march that turned horribly violent last night. 

In Miami, a group of high-schoolers is planning an anti-police-brutality protest later this month.

Nina Jennings, 16, of Homestead, watched the footage of Sterling's death at 3 a.m. Thursday. Jennings, who is black, says she cried.

"I felt really angered," Jennings tells New Times. "I felt helpless. On social media, I was seeing all these different protests, but I thought, That would never happen in Miami."

So, she figured, she would start her own protest hashtag — #MiamiProtestforPOC (which stands for "People of Color") — and see who responded.

The next morning, her phone blew up. "It literally woke me up yesterday," she says.

Friends from the Robert Morgan Education Center, a magnet high school in South Miami-Dade, started messaging her nonstop, asking how they could help. They formed a group Facebook chat.

And now the group says it's inviting as many people as possible to Larry and Penny Thompson Park in South Miami-Dade next Saturday, July 16, to help plan the event, which she wants to hold "by the end of July."

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"We're inviting anyone of any sort — white, black, HispanicAsian, speakers, people of color of different talents — basically just to lighten the mood," she says. "I want people to know that yes, we’re magic, we’re wonderful people; even though we face so much negativity and injustice, we can unite and be happy."

She adds, "It's better than sitting around and just tweeting about it. We can pray all we want, but justice is not being served."

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