This Saturday the families of the late Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Akai Gurley and Michael Brown will be joined by members of National Action Network and thousands of protesters in Washington D.C. for a march against police brutality.
Rev. Al Sharpton detailed the importance of the march in an essay on the Huffington Post.
“While this dialogue is necessary and long overdue, we need more than just talk; we need legislative action that will shift things both on the books and in the streets,” Sharpton wrote. “President Obama announced a task force that will report back to him in 90 days with concrete recommendations, and he has also proposed millions in federal matching funds to provide body cameras for some 50,000 police officers. But what happens when he is no longer in the White House? Congress must immediately start hearings to deal with laws that will change the jurisdiction threshold for federal cases and policing. The executive branch has addressed this most pressing issue, and now it’s time the legislative branch do the same.”
The activist went on to describe how different protesting was back in the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 60’s. He pointed to how protestors worked tirelessly, and did not cease until congressional laws were passed. But the fight today is a slightly different beast.
“Today our battle is against police brutality and excessive force,” he wrote. “When local prosecutors fail to conduct a fair grand-jury investigation at the state level, as happened in Ferguson and Staten Island recently, the threshold is so high for the federal government to be able to take over the case. That must change. We cannot continue to allow prosecutors who work with police regularly to then be in charge of cases investigating those same officers and police departments. That is a complete conflict of interest. And in order for federal authorities to step in, we must reform current laws.”
The Reverend urged everyone to come out to the March and be a part of changing history.
“Do not be silent. Do not be complacent. Do not continue to live with police misconduct and violence as somehow acceptable. We are not anti-police; we are anti-police-brutality. And today we challenge Congress to follow in the president’s footsteps and take legislative action to protect us, the citizens. Those who came before us sacrificed so that we may have a more just future. Now we must do the same for the generations that will come after us. As most Americans agree that we need some kind of reform, we head to the nation’s capital to answer what exactly we must change and how. See you on Saturday,” he finished.