A month ago, Eric Garner was killed by a police officer who had put him in an illegal chokehold. The New York City medical examiner ruled the death was a homicide.
Garner’s crime? Selling loosies.
Garner’s death and the police use of chokeholds have sparked outrage across the country. On Saturday, August 23rd, the National Action Network will lead a justice caravan and march to protest police brutality and the use of excessive force.
The justice caravan will travel across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in a dedicated lane on their way to Staten Island. The activists will rally at the spot where Garner was choked to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. They will then march to the office of the Staten Island District Attorney and demand that charges be brought against the cop.
Rev. Al Sharpton said:
If you want to stop chokeholds, get on the bus.
Don’t think marching matters? Think again. NAN Acting Executive Director Janaye Ingram recently wrote:
Well, I understand that the end game is not the march itself. Marching in and of itself never solved anything. Marching is a public display of solidarity around a particular issue. It’s one part of mass action that people can do to show that they are united around a specific cause.
On August 23, we will march in New York to call for action in the case of Eric Garner, the man who was killed by police after breaking up a fight.
Police officers put him in an illegal chokehold and he stopped breathing while cops and EMTs looked on without helping. It’s not the first case of overly excessive force being used by police, but we have to make it one of the last.
So we march.
We show that this is an issue that we won’t let pass by without action. We won’t just be social media activists, posting our thoughts and feelings today and then tomorrow talking about who wore it best. We have a responsibility and a role. That role is to stand united with our brothers and sisters who want to see justice served, and the more people that come, the more that people in positions of power will recognize that they need to pay attention.
Sharing “hands up” photos on social media is cathartic. But we must move beyond hashtag activism. It’s what you do offline that will bring about change.
To find a bus stop near you, go here.