March

Thousands of protestors marched in D.C. on Dec. 13 to dispute police brutality against Black people. (Photo by Travis Riddick)

Thousands of protestors marched from Freedom Plaza to the National Mall side of the United States Capitol in D.C. on Dec. 13 to dispute police brutality against Black people; particularly Black men and children. The “Justice for All” march was one of several protests across the country occurring in response to numerous killings of unarmed Black males by police officers.

The march, spear-headed by National Action Network Founder, the Rev. Al Sharpton, emphasized the unlawful murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Johnny Crawford III, and others by authority figures. Protestors, armed with signs and T-shirts that expressed their disapproval with the criminal justice system, closed down streets in D.C., advocating for change.

Family members of the slain men joined the march and made speeches to express their gratitude for the mass call for justice.

The starting and ending points of the march featured speakers, politicians, and young activists. Throughout the day, various people, whether speaker or protestor, yelled the phrases “No Justice, No Peace,” “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” and “I Can’t Breathe.”

Speakers included Leighton Watson, Howard University’s student association president; Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP; Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor; Benjamin Crump, attorney for the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, and several other education, media, and community organization speakers.

Thousands of protestors marched in D.C. on Dec. 13 to dispute police brutality against Black people. (Photos by Travis Riddick)

“We march because Black men are 21 times more likely to get killed,” Brooks said. “We march because all of our children matter . . . we will march until hell freezes over.”

Campbell said, “You were there when the cameras were off more than they were on. Obama and Holder are doing their jobs but they can’t do it alone.”

Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) told the marchers, “Members of the Black Caucus have heard your cry. Marcia Fudge has made it conspicuously clear that legislation will be done due to the injustices. The CBC will do its part.”

Protestors, young and old, varying in culture and creed, marched in solidarity for change.  “This is what America looks like – they’re young, they’re old, they’re, White, they’re Black. The people united will never be defeated,” Sharpton said.

Several marchers said  “enough was enough.”

“We are not anti-police, we are anti-brutality,” Sharpton said. “This is about the victim. It’s not about Blacks against Whites, it’s about right against wrong. I want Congress to know we are serious.”

“I come from the hood,” Sharpton continued. “The only way to get rid of roaches is to cut the lights on. God gave me the light. Let it shine! Let it shine!”

Protestors also heard from Levar Jones, who was shot by a policeman at a gas station in South Carolina.

“On Sept. 4 my life changed, not only as a Black man but as a human being,” he said. “We know what the problem is. We’re being targeted.”

However, unlike for other men focused on during the march, there was justice in Jones’ case. The officer was arrested, charged, and lost his job.