Philadelphia police officers have been stopping young Black men and illegally searching their underwear for years, according to the ACLU, which sued the city in 2011 over its stop-and-frisk policy.
After reading a May 25 article about two young men who were victims of the invasive searches, Asa Khalif and six other protesters stood outside the Philadelphia Police Department for hours on May 31 handing out underwear to the officers. According to Khalif, the activists settled on this particular action to drive home the point of how perverted it is to purposefully — and illegally — search somebody’s underwear.
“It encouraged a lot of people to come forward who have been in the situation to file a complaint and tell their story from the protest,” Khalif said. “I know it’s very difficult being a Black male having that image of being ‘stopped and frisked,’ especially when you’re young trying to figure out who you are as an individual.”
Khalif made sure the unusual and unprecedented protest was recorded in order to ensure that this gross violation of Black men’s human rights and dignity did not go undocumented.
“This is a new generation of activist and we are not going to do business as usual, because we will confront you, put our bodies on the line at this point,” Khalif said, adding that modern-day activists like himself and the BLM movement were inspired by past civil rights leaders and the Black Panther organization.
“We will sacrifice that just to make sure to get change from how law enforcement treats Black and brown people.
Khalif said many of the young men who have been victims of the violation are now in therapy to deal with the emotional fallout.