Margaret Eby
December 04, 2014 4:42 am

On Wednesday afternoon, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer in the death of black New Yorker Eric Garner, a father of six. The incident, in July, was captured on video. In it, police officer Daniel Pantaleo, puts Garner, who was unarmed, in a chokehold that cut off Garner’s air supply and ultimately led to his death. Garner’s final words, which he said repeatedly, were “I can’t breathe.”

The verdict in Garner’s case, so close on the heels of last week’s decision from a St. Louis grand jury not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown, is dispiritingly familiar. And the response to the verdict is just as powerful as last week’s nation-wide protests about Ferguson.

Around the country, activists gathered on Wednesday night in Garner’s name, using his last words as a rallying cry. “I can’t breathe” has gone from a call for help to a call for immediate and sweeping change of the racial imbalance in the American justice system.

On social media, along with trending hashtags #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter, images of activists holding up signs calling for change were shared throughout the night. From New York City to Washington DC, and from Atlanta to Oakland, citizens held up moving messages that spoke of both solidarity and a call to action. Here are some of the powerful statements they made with just a few words:

(Image via AP)

Advertisement