At 30 Members strong, the Philadelphia Coalition announced its plans today for the 40th Commemoration of three slain civil rights leaders. Among those plans a loud call for justice.
"We call on Neshoba County District Attorney, the State Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to make every effort to seek justice in this case," said Leroy Clemons, President of the Neshoba County NAACP and co-chairman of the Philadelphia Coalition.
That call comes not only from this collective group, but in the form of a resolution from the city of Philadelphia and Community Development Partnership. The resolution cites former leadership as the reason for a lack of justice 40 years later.
"We state candidly and with deep regret that some of our own citizens, including local and state law enforcement officers, were involved in the planning and execution of these murders," said Jim Prince co-chair of Philadelphia Coalition.
Following the now infamous murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, seven members of the Ku Klux Klan were convicted of federal civil rights violations, but the state of Mississippi never brought criminal indictment against anyone. This community now says its time to take a second look.
"We have never had a community like this stand up and say we want justice, we are going to forcefully push for officials to seek justice in this case," said Clemons.
The lack of evidence, lack of living witnesses forty years of time makes a trial and conviction in this case unlikely. But task force organizers say it’s the process that means the most. They say it signifies that the fear that once ruled this area is gone allowing a collective community to seek justice no matter how hard it might be to find.