Eric Garner's Mother Tells Protesters To "Keep On Doing It"
The mother of Eric Garner made another public appearance with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday, days after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict a New York police officer for the death of her son. Speaking at a press conference in Harlem, Gwen Carr encouraged protesters to continue advocating for justice in her son's honor and name. Carr, who lives in Staten Island, said it "warmed her heart" to see the ongoing protests span from her home on New York City's smallest borough to the streets of Brooklyn.
Since the grand jury's decision was released on Wednesday afternoon, large-scale protests have broken out across the nation. New York City, of course, has been the epicenter of the demonstrations, with protesters chanting in Times Square and Herald Square, staging die-ins in Grand Central Terminal and temporarily closing the West Side Highway. On Friday, protesters even swarmed the Apple Store. More than 300 protesters in New York alone have been arrested over the last few days.
With Sharpton at her side, Carr thanked everyone who has supported her family over the last several months, including attorneys, members of the media and the thousands of protesters standing in solidarity:
You all have stood with me from the very beginning, and it is just so awesome to see how the crowds are out there. People who I never who have met or never would have known...they are out there. They are standing for my son. My heart is overflowing with joy. It's just a gracious feeling.
Carr recalled how she was stuck in a car on the West Side Highway in Manhattan several nights ago, when protesters were blocking traffic. She said she was "amazed" to see the demonstrators, chanting and marching with signs as they weaved in and out of the vehicles, bringing traffic to a standstill:
I let down the window, because I was so amazed and so overjoyed. One fellow — it was a white guy — he recognized me. He said, 'There's Eric Garner's mother.' He came over to hug me, then everybody else followed. ... I was just so proud of that crowd. It just warmed my heart.
When the protesters then apologized for holding up traffic on the highway, Carr said she told them not to worry about. "Do what you have to do," she told them.
The Garner family previously called for peaceful protesting, and Carr reiterated that message on Saturday. "Keep on doing it," Carr said. "But do it in peace."
Also on Saturday, Sharpton elaborated on the national protest his organization, the National Action Network, is hosting on Dec. 13 in Washington, D.C. Sharpton said the march will go down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. The family members of Garner, Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are expected to attend.
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