Doris Toni Ervin likes to keep busy. It’s only then that she can stop thinking about her nephew, Drew.

“Yesterday, I’m frying fish. That’s his favorite food. When I cook…he lives down the street…and I’m like, ‘Hey Drew, I cooked fish. You coming down?'”

“‘Yeah, Aunt Toni, I’ll be down there,'” he’d respond.

“I can’t do that now” says Ervin wistfully.

Last month, Drew Washington was shot by police who say he charged them with a knife during a mental breakdown. The New Jersey Attorney General is conducting an investigation into the incident.

The family, however, isn’t waiting for the AG’s report. They are calling on people to come out for a “Justice for Drew March and Rally” set for Wednesday, Sept. 20.

Beginning at 4:15 p.m. participants will gather in front of Washington’s former home at 256 Randolph Avenue and then march to the steps of City Hall for a 5:00 p.m. rally. Participants are being asked to sign up to speak at that night’s city council meeting.

“The officers who killed him must be held accountable for his death. Changes must be made to policing in Jersey City so that this tragedy does not happen again,” said Lawrence Hamm, Chairman of People’s Organization For Progress, which is helping to organize the gathering. 

Whatever the outcome of the rally, it’s unlikely Ervin’s anger at the police response will abate.

“We called for help,” she says. “We didn’t call and say ‘There’s a criminal lurking in our neighborhood.'”

Drew was no threat, insists Ervin. “He would babysit my grandson for me. He would take him to the park. He helped me teach him how to ride a bike during Covid.”

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....