Team ROC, Jay-Z's social justice group, hosts rally for Alvin Cole in Wauwatosa
WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A large crowd of supporters gathered to protest for justice in Wauwatosa.
Using the platform of rap icon Jay-Z, local activists demanded change after the shooting death of teenager Alvin Cole.
The rapper's social justice group, Team ROC, hosted a rally in the city's Hart Park on Thursday, Oct. 15.
“This is the first time I’ve ever smiled," Alvin's mother, Tracy Cole, said to a sea of supporters.
And also, for the first time, she detailed her injuries after police arrested her while protesting.
Organizers said they were devastated with how Cole was treated by police officers.
"We must continue to protest, we must keep the streets hot, there will not be more business as usual, you will not sweep lives under the rug," said Tamika Mallory, co-founder of the organization “Until Freedom."
Mallory added that people need to continue speaking out in the fight against police brutality.
Other speakers also decried injustice with one urging protesters to take their fight to the polls.
“Voting is protesting," one of the men said. "If you don’t vote after you protested, it’s like playing basketball, dribble all the way to the loop and don’t’ make the layup. It’s a waste of time," he continued.
Many also called for the firing and conviction of Officer Joseph Mensah.
On Oct. 7, Mensah was cleared of any charged in the Cole shooting, causing days of unrest in Wauwatosa.
Years before, he was also cleared in the shooting deaths of two other men, Antonio Gonzales and Jay Anderson.
Anderson’s parents spoke of their son.
“The first time I made lasagna, after he was deceased, we couldn’t even eat it because I cried in it, just kept crying. I miss my son so much," Linda Anderson said to the crowd.
To resident Derek Neupauer, this rally continues a conversation he said some want to silence.
“No one sees themselves as the enemy, no one sees themselves as hatred, and those are the reasons we justify to stop the dialogue," the married, father of two said.
And to others, this event was about seeing your neighbor as yourself.
“I guess it’s hard to see if you don’t have the experience of your own but if you just look at the next person, with a little humanity, you can see yourself in them, you’ll find a reason to care," Milwaukee resident Mac Maclin said."
If you'd like to take action and could not attend the rally, you're encouraged to sign a petition by clicking HERE.