Dozens of protesters began a nine-day march from New York to Washington, D.C. on Monday to spotlight the issue of people who have been killed by police. The so-called "March 2 Justice" began on Staten Island, where Eric Garner died in a confrontation with the NYPD. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed this report.
A group of protestors are on a journey to stop what they say is a national crisis—police violence toward men of color.
"My sons are biracial they are brown boys. They walk the streets wondering if they're going to be safe," says marcher Jeanine Lee.
About 50 people marched over the Outerbridge Crossing on Staten Island Monday to kick off a 250 mile walk to Washington DC on behalf of people who lost their lives to alleged police violence. People like Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after a police officer put him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him last summer—and Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri.
"I do march so I myself can move on feeling safe every time I leave my house. I have two daughters hopefully they can leave their house feeling safe," said marcher Fredrick Coleman.
The criminal justice reform group Justice League NYC organized this March 2 Justice. When marchers arrive in DC on April 21 they will rally on the National Mall to urge Congress to pass legislation to end racial profiling and reform the juvenile justice system.
Dinetta Gilmore of Brooklyn is marching for her son.
"I don't worry about gangs, because I know he is not into that. I worry about a cop shooting my child because he reached for his ID the wrong way," said marcher Dinetta Gilmore.
The march drew people of many races and backgrounds. Young people in particular are being asked to carry the torch of what some are calling a new civil rights movement.
"It feels like a responsibility. I don't believe in state violence and I believe in justice and liberation for everyone," said marcher Sophie Ellam-Golan.
The march did cause some controversy. Some borough leaders including the borough president were upset the westbound lane of the bridge was closed for an hour. They say they support the marchers right to protest but not at the expense of those who rely on the bridge.