On the birth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr., Jan 15, we also remembered the killing of Eric Garner by Daniel Pantaleo on 17 July 2014–a sad 6 month commemoration. It was especially sad as there is no sign as yet that justice will be done for Eric Garner, in view of the recent Grand Jury decision.
This was a clear, cold, sunny day as the crowds gathered at the Staten Island Ferry in the late afternoon for the vigil to be held at the Staten Island police station. The vigil was followed by a walk to the court house and office of District Attorney Daniel Donovan, and then down to the site of Eric Garner’s attack, leading to his death. Well over 300 braved the cold, listened to the statements of Eric Garner’s family and friends, chanted and sang, and then held their lit candles in silence, expiring them at 4:45pm, the moment of Eric Garner’s death. The group proceed up the hill to the court house, and then down to the site of the altercation with the police, Beauty Supply storefront, to lay a carnation at the makeshift memorial. The previous vocal crowd was silenced and slowly dispersed.
There were four Granny Peace Brigadiers there, Barbara W., Eva-Lee, Phyllis and me. In a way we were surprised to not see familiar faces from other actions. What was inspiring: the march and vigil organized by public defender lawyers and the number of young people there. The signs reflected their hopes and frustrations: no peace without Justice, release of the grand jury proceedings, accountability of killer cops, and throughout the crowd, “Black Lives Matter.” Several local TV stations were there and one could hear commentary by international news groups.
The momentum of 2014 continues. And over time, will grow: there will be no peace without justice!
– Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade