The families of several African Americans killed in confrontations with police recently are scheduled to be in Washington on Saturday to headline a national “Justice For All” march.
The march, organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network with participation from other groups such as the NAACP and the National Urban League, is set to start at noon at Freedom Plaza and make its way to the U.S. Capitol for a rally. Speakers are expected to outline a legislative agenda for Congress.
The families from some of the nation’s more high-profile shootings are listed as attending: Eric Garner, the cigarette vendor killed in a chokehold in New York; Michael Brown, who was fatally shot in Ferguson, Mo., and Trayvon Martin, who died after a confrontation with an armed neighborhood watch volunteer. The mother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old fatally shot last month by a Cleveland officer is also expected.
Garner’s death, caught on video, has sparked protests across the country. A grand jury decision not to indict the officer involved in the death came a week after a Missouri grand jury declined to recommend charges in Brown’s death.
Tamir was shot while holding a pellet gun. Others expected to attend include the parents of John Crawford, shot by police in an Ohio Wal-Mart and the partner of Akai Gurley, who was killed in a dark stairwell in a New York apartment building. LeVar Jones, who was shot but not killed during a traffic stop in South Carolina, is also expected to be present. The shootings of Jones, Crawford and Tamir also were caught on video.
March organizers said buses will be arriving from New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Florida and elsewhere, and participants include clergy and labor representatives.
But some younger activists who have been disenchanted by Sharpton and the traditional black leadership are not planning to attend. Moreover, many of them will be participating in a “National Day of Resistance” also planned for Saturday.
Organizers of that protest, not surprisingly, are using more confrontational language that appears to be in stark contrast to the National Action Network’s call for legislative action.
“It’s our civil disobedience, marching and chanting that got us this far — and we must keep going,” the Web site for the protests says. “When you hit the streets, you’re letting them know: body cameras are not enough. Blue ribbon commissions are not enough. We need broad, decisive action NOW.”