Day of Service prelude to massive march through Center City

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

MLK honored; scattered protests over black deaths by police.

Hundreds of marchers flooded downtown Boston on Monday to honor the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and to call for justice after several unarmed black people died in encounters with police across the nation. The peaceful protesters wound through Beacon Hill shouting “black lives matter” and carrying signs saying “jail killer cops” and “the new Jim Crow must go.” Dozens of Boston police officers accompanied the march; a spokesman said police made no arrests. The gatherings ranged from relatively small – Reuters estimated 40 in Oakland, California – to record breaking, in Colorado, where the Denver Post estimated 30,000 people turned out.

Bernice King told those crowded into Ebenezer Baptist Church in downtown Atlanta, King’s spiritual home, much has been done to end injustice but much remains to fulfill her father’s dream. “I challenge you to work with us as we help this nation choose nonviolence,” Bernice King told those gathered Monday at the main King tribute in Atlanta, where she urged a new generation to take up the courage and activism exhibited by those who struggled to oppose racial discrimination half a century ago. Marchers called for restraint by police in using deadly force and fairness in the justice system to hold police — and others — accountable for the deaths. This year’s annual holiday followed recent national protests and debate over the deaths of unarmed black men and youths at the hands of white police officers around the country. Protests also were reported in Missouri and Washington state amid tributes, speeches and volunteer service events around the nation in communities large and small. “We cannot act unless we understand what Dr.

In Florida, a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in July 2013 in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old in a hoodie who had just bought candy at a local store. The group will hold a candelight vigil at the site where Garner died after being put in a chokehold by a white police officer on Staten Island last summer.

By high school, I was reading more and more about King, his life, the speeches that punctuate his legacy and the way he went about organizing, even amidst fierce opposition. Garner’s final words – “I can’t breathe” – became a rallying cry for protests against police violence after a grand jury declined to indict the officer.

He taught us that we still have a choice to make: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation,” King’s daughter said as she made reference to the high-profile deaths. “I cannot help but remember many women and men who have been gunned down, not by a bad police force but by some bad actors in a police force,” she said. Sharpton was to visit the Pink Houses in Brooklyn, where Gurley, described by the police commissioner, Bill Bratton, as “totally innocent”, was unarmed when two officers conducting a patrol appeared to have accidentally fired on a darkened stairwell. Even though I wouldn’t face the same amount of discrimination that many African-Americans would experience, I understood how it felt to be considered an “other.” By reading the history of the civil rights movement, I was able to piece back together my own identity. Protesters in California, many of them students at Stanford University, blocked the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge forcing westbound lanes to close for more than an hour Monday night, authorities said. But their first stop on Monday afternoon was to say a prayer at the Brooklyn street corner where the NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were killed by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who had posted anti-police statements on social media before travelling to Brooklyn from Baltimore.

He said the wreath represented “that we are against the spilling of innocent blood,” before calling a moment’s silence in memory of the fallen officers. Nationwide, 121 US law enforcement officers died in the line of duty last year, including many in shootouts with armed suspects, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc. The officers’ deaths inflamed a dispute between the police department and De Blasio, with hundreds of police turning their backs on the mayor as he spoke at funerals for the patrolmen who were killed.

In Harlem, Sharpton hit back at the police unions, especially the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and its president Patrick Lynch, who said there was “blood on the steps of city hall” in the wake of the killing of two police officers in Brooklyn in December. The deaths have sparked a nationwide debate over police use of force, further fueled after two New York City police officers were shot to death last month by a man who suggested in online posts that he was retaliating for deaths in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. Sharpton condemned the “name-calling and ugliness” of recent weeks, and specifically singled out the “venomous and unfair” criticism of the mayor. “Let’s start talking like adults”, he said. De Blasio struck a more conciliatory tone than Sharpton. “It is up to all of us to say to those who purport to want change: if you’re saying something vicious and vile to a police officer, you’re not bringing change,” he said.

He said his office was “retraining our police to get them closer to the community,” saying that less violence protected police and communities both. Louis Post-Dispatch reported two dozen protesters interrupted a King event at Harris-Stowe State University in that area, leading to angry confrontations with students outside a campus auditorium. In Washington, Obama and his wife Michelle went with one of their daughters, Malia, to a site for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington to paint murals and assemble “literacy kits” of flashcards and books to help boost youth reading and writing skills. Tate lived only a few blocks away from Gurley, and said the shooting mobilized his community into action. “It could have been anyone in our community,” said Tate. “The irony is painful for us.

In Philadelphia, activists pressed for several social justice causes under the King mantle, saying they wanted better police accountability, more education funding and a higher minimum wage. Last week in Boston, some protesters faced criticism when an ambulance had to be diverted after protesters attached themselves to cement-filled barrels on the northbound and southbound sides of Interstate 93, blocking traffic.

Dr King and so many others marched so we wouldn’t have to but now we’re out here doing the same thing.” The march remained loud and peaceful throughout as it made it way along the nearly two-mile route to Foley Square in lower Manhattan. In Atlanta, meanwhile, there were those who looked back at King and his legacy, some too young to have ever known him and some who marched by King’s side. The march capped a day of events to honor King’s legacy as an activist, scholar, and Nobel laureate, as well as King’s ties to Boston, where he earned a Ph.D. in theology from Boston University in 1955. Monday, almost 47 years later, people from all walks of life celebrated King’s legacy, from scholars gathering at Boston University, which maintains a collection of his letters and manuscripts, to the mix of Baby Boomers and young college students that demonstrated on the streets of Boston.

The actor cried as he talked about putting himself in King’s place. “I only stepped into his shoes for a moment, but I asked myself, ‘How did he do it?’” Oyelowo said. He explained that he, like King, has four children and said he cannot imagine walking through life knowing there are people who wanted to take their lives or that of his wife.

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