Chants of “Black lives matter! Black lives matter!” echoed through the streets Saturday afternoon, December 6, as demonstrators marched down Jackson Street through the Chinatown/International District. Organizers had rallied to show resistance to the national epidemic of police brutality against the black community.
The peaceful march blocked off Jackson Street and the rally was momentarily held on the cross street of 5th Avenue. Access to the Chinatown/International District transit tunnel was closed off to prevent interference with public transportation.
Organizers of the protest compiled a mission statement:
“We are here on behalf of the Black Community, in solidarity with Ferguson, in honor of Mike Brown to address through non-violence, the crisis of police brutality towards the Black Community in order to achieve the short term goal of a fair and just trial for Mike Brown and the long term goal of reconstructing the justice system that has continuously failed the Black Community.”
Brown was an unarmed eighteen-year-old Black man who was shot by police on August 9. On November 24, a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown.
Organizers of the protest also stated:
“We, the youth, are the next generation of this country. We are the voice of the future. If we want to live in a world where people are not afraid of the police we have to continue to protest and fight for change. This event is to help spread awareness about a problem that has been happening in the United States for years. We are tired of people being killed simply because they are black, simply because of who they are. The recent shooting of the Brown family’s child was the last straw. People are angry now. We have to use our anger to fuel this movement. We cannot stop until we see the change that we want.”
In addition to Brown, protesters also reacted to a grand jury verdict regarding the death of Eric Garner. Garner, a 43 old Black man in Staten Island, New York, died after being held in a chokehold by officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17. On December 3, a grand jury decided not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo for any wrongdoing.
Garner’s last words captured in a video that went viral: “I can’t breathe.”
The march originated at Garfield High School and ended at 5th Avenue and Cherry Street, in front of the Seattle Police Department Headquarters.