At 10:30 a.m. this morning (Saturday Dec. 13), hundreds of people began to gather at the Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. By noon, the crowd had grown to thousands. The protesters began marching through the nation’s capital to call for justice in light of recent deaths of black men at the hands of the police.
The Justice For All march was a response to recent decisions by two separate grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, which declined to indict the white police officers responsible for the deaths of, respectively, 18-year-old Michael Brown and 43-year-old Eric Garner.
The families of police shooting victims, including relatives of Brown, Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley and John Crawford, led the march.
The demonstration was organized by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. Sharpton joined the families as they marched through Washington Saturday.
“We are not anti-police; we are anti-police-brutality,” Sharpton told protesters. “And today we challenge Congress to follow in the president’s footsteps and take legislative action to protect us, the citizens.”
The mothers of Rice, Garner, Brown and Trayvon Martin appeared together in public for the first time Friday night. In a joint interview on CNN, the women spoke out against racial discrimination and argued that their sons might not have died if they had been white.
“If Eric Garner was a white man in Suffolk County doing the same thing that he was doing — even if he would have been caught selling cigarettes that day — they would have given him a summons and he wouldn’t have lost his life that day … I believe that 100 percent,” Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.