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Death of Eric Garner Turning Point for All Races

by Todd A. Smith

 

New Yorkers of all races protested the decision not to indict the officer responsible for the killing of Eric Garner on Dec. 4 (Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo).

 

Eric Garner is the Turning Point


The Freedom Summer of 1964 proved a pivotal turning point during the Civil Rights Movement.

During that summer, many White civil rights leaders spent the summer living with Black families in Mississippi in an attempt to help register them to vote.

They had to stay in the homes of Black families because hotel owners would not rent to them because of their voter registration efforts.

In the PBS documentary “Freedom Summer,” many White civil rights leaders even stated they forgot they were White because they had immersed themselves in Black culture and had become totally empathetic to the Black plight.

That same dynamic might be occurring 50 years later during Fight Back Fall of 2014.  Fight Back Fall of 2014 does not mean a physical fight, but a mental, spiritual and emotional fight against police brutality that seems rampant in the Black community.

Some Whites, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans did not sympathize or empathize with Michael Brown because of the way he was portrayed in the media and the information that came from the grand jury.

However, after seeing Eric Garner’s chokehold killing on camera and having no charges filed on Officer Daniel Pantaleo, despite the photographer who filmed Garner’s death getting arrested on weapons charges, has galvanized people of all races even more than the protests that began in Ferguson, Mo.

“The criminalization of Black youth in America needs to end,” said one White protestor.  “It’s time that we say we’re fed up and this needs to change.”

Many people who openly criticized the Black community for protesting the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. have either remained silent on this latest development in New York City, or have finally realized that this country has a problem with officers abusing power and that what happened to Eric Garner could happen to anyone of any color if we do not put a stop to it.

The video of Eric Garner’s death will prove to galvanize a movement much like the open casket photos of Emmett Till in Jet Magazine in 1955.

It is easy to ignore the plight of others when it is not staring you in the face.

However, once you are face-to-face with the realities of racism only a heartless individual could ignore the pain and suffering of others.

“After the decision, I think some of us were so fallen,” said Cornell Belcher a Black Democratic pollster.  “But then, when you see this diverse group of people sort of gathering together and saying this is fundamentally unfair and taking to the streets, it sort of reconfirms our faith in our society, in our values.”

This article was published on Friday 05 December, 2014.
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