When we're not discussing Hillary Clinton, we're talking about Eric Harris and Walter Scott — two unarmed African-American men who were recently shot and killed by white police officers. Scott, who was laid to rest on Saturday, was shot at least eight times while running away from Officer Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, Harris was killed on April 2 by volunteer cop Robert Bates, who called the shooting an accident. Video footage of both shootings has been released to the public, reigniting the Black Lives Matter protests that become a national movement following the officer-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
On Tuesday, thousands are expected to convene across the United States in support of Harris and Scott, as well as Brown, Garner, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, and others who were killed by what many consider excessive use of force by police officers. Organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, #ShutDownA14 rallies will be held in major U.S. cities, kicking off what organizers say is the first national protest movement of 2015.
Carl Dix, one of the movement's organizers, said Monday in a statement:
On April 14, we're going to revive the spirit of Ferguson, that spirit of refusing to suffer the brutality of the system in silence. And we're going to TAKE IT HIGHER. We have to get back out into the streets to declare that we're not backing down, we're not going away.
Scholar and organizer Cornel West said added in a statement:
They’ve been shooting young folk for so long — older folk too — but when it reaches that point of such unadulterated disrespect if you don’t straighten your back up and go somewhere, something is wrong. ... That's why we're gonna march on April 14th.
Rallies will be held on Tuesday in 28 cities, including in cities where shooting deaths of African-American men have occurred, such as Oakland, California, and Ferguson, Missouri. Here's some of the major events scheduled for Monday...
- Oakland, California: 1 p.m. at 14th Street and Broadway
- Los Angeles: noon at UCLA and 1 p.m. at LAPD headquarters, 100 W. 1st Street
- Boston: 12 p.m. at UMass Boston Student Center and 5 p.m. at the Ruggles T stop
- Atlanta: 2:30 p.m. at Troy Davis Park aka Woodruff Park at the corner of Edgewood and Peachtree
- Ferguson, Missouri: 4 p.m. at W. Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive
- New York City: 12 p.m. at Columbia 's Low Memorial Library and 2 p.m. at Union Square
- Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida's Turlington Plaza
Several other cities will also be hosting walk-outs and sit-ins on Tuesday. High school students in New York are planning to hold a city-wide walk out. "We will take our movement to STOP wanton killing by police to a whole new level," the event's Facebook page reads. "NO SCHOOL! NO WORK! STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL!"
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