Racial profiling victims ask lawmakers for hearing on #LivingWhileBlack
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Victims of racial profiling incidents are sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees to ask for a congressional hearing on the issue, deploying the hashtag #LivingWhileBlack.

Former Obama staffer Darren Martin, who started the viral hashtag #MovingWhileBlack after he was confronted by police officers while moving into an apartment in New York City, has joined together with other black individuals who have had the police called on them while doing innocuous things. 

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On Monday, Martin and several other victims of racial profiling sent a letter to the House and Senate Judiciary committees requesting a hearing on racial profiling before the August recess.

“These egregious affronts on human rights, eerily reminiscent of some of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history, are the sad reality for Black people in America,” the letter reads. “We would request that this new hearing widen the focus from just the police, as in previous hearings, to addressing prejudice and profiling from public companies to private citizens, as well.”

The other viral figures who have signed the letter with their own stories include Lolade Siyonbola, a black Yale graduate student who sparked the #NappingWhileBlack hashtag after she had police called on her for taking a nap in her dorm's common room, and Donisha Prendergast, the granddaughter of Bob Marley, who captured nationwide attention for the #AirbnbingWhileBlack hashtag.

Martin told The Washington Post he and the other victims of racial profiling sent the request in an attempt to use their newfound exposure to combat the incidents, often prompted by people calling the police on persons of color who are engaging in innocuous behavior.

“This is something that [black people have] talked about in our community for a long time," Martin told the Post. "It’s finally getting out to other people. Everyday racism is sort of getting out there. It’s like ‘now y’all have seen something, let’s do something about it.’ ”