Thousands in Phila. take to the streets to honor MLK

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

MLK honored; scattered protests over black deaths by police.

Atlanta: Speakers honouring Dr Martin Luther King Jr at his spiritual home in Atlanta repeated the same message on a national holiday dedicated to him on Monday: ‘We’ve come a long way, but there’s still much to be done to fulfill the slain civil rights activist’s dream’. The holiday came against the backdrop of recent nationwide protests over the deaths of unarmed black men and boys at the hands of police around the country. 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 protest was among a wave of demonstrations across America that injected new urgency into the national holiday honoring the nation’s preeminent civil rights leader. 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.

All three were killed by white officers. “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. 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. The Northeast Ohio Media Group reported about 60 people gathered on Monday at a recreation centre where a Cleveland police officer fatally shot the 12-year-old. 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. 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.

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. Just last month, two New York police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot and killed by a troubled man who had also expressed anger about police shootings. 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.

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. We will move forward to deeper respect for all,” de Blasio said at the annual MLK Day event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, his city’s largest tribute. He said his office was “retraining our police to get them closer to the community,” saying that less violence protected police and communities both.

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 youngsters improve their reading and writing skills. “I felt his pain. 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. 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. Oyelowo 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. 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. 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. 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.

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