Forty thousand demonstrators marched down Fifth Avenue on Saturday to denounce the police killing of an unarmed black man, Sean Bell, on his wedding day.
The march for justice was organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton who said:
We’re not coming to buy toys, we’re not coming to buy trinkets — we’re coming to shop for justice... Our presence is a bigger statement than anything we could ever say with our mouths.
"Al's Army" waved signs that read "March for Justice: Improve Police and Community Relations Now," "Stop Police Brutality" and "Please don’t shoot my son."
A young sister carried an accusatory albeit grammatically incorrect placard: "I am the 4 man."
The march stepped off in the shadow of the Plaza Hotel and wound its way down Fifth Avenue, past the Apple Store, Bergdorf Goodman, Trump Tower, DeBeers, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Sean John and the New York Public Library, where Patience and Fortitude stand guard.
For roughly 90 minutes the demonstrators, who marched in silent rebuke of police brutality, were the brightest lights on the avenue. Their quiet dignity was intermittently punctuated with chants of "no justice, no peace" and counts from one to 50 to mark the number of shots fired by undercover officers.
Hordes of holiday shoppers and tourists stared in puzzlement at the sea of black faces. I overheard snippets of complaints about their inability to cross at certain intersections. I thought: It's a black thing, you wouldn't understand.
The march ended at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue outside Macy’s, where I worked for three years during my undergraduate days.
While one can find just about everything at "the world’s largest store," activists now must shop for justice at the U.S. Department of Justice or the new Congress (and here).