“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” – Nelson Mandela
The one-year anniversary of the tragic death on July 17, 2014 of Eric Garner will coincide with the Nelson Mandela International Day which annually celebrates the life-long dedication of the beloved South African affectionately known as Madiba.
On the anniversary of the hero’s birthday — July 18, 1918 — thousands will rally at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn at noon to demonstrate against the lack of prosecution against police officer Daniel Pantaleo who subdued Garner in a chokehold as the victim pleaded 11 times “I can’t breathe.”
Organized by Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, busloads will leave from his Harlem headquarters following the weekly rally there to raise a voice for justice and call attention to deaths that were allegedly caused by law officials and needlessly added to grief and a widening rift between the community and police.
Demonstrators will rally at the U.S. Federal Courthouse Eastern District Cadman Plaza, 225 Cadman Plaza at Tillary Street.
The rally comes four days after New York City offered a $5.9 million settlement to the Garner family. The figure represents the second highest amount paid to a victim of police brutality. Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was savagely brutalized while in police custody was offered $7 million.
Although recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate police killings of unarmed civilians, Sharpton will dramatize the devastating issues of police brutality by inviting Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Florida teenager Trayvvon Martin who was gunned down by security guard George Zimmerman as he walked unarmed through a housing complex.
Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother and other family members will also join the protest.
Cuomo’s initiative makes New York the first state to ever call for such an appointment and came one day after mothers of New Yorkers killed by police rallied outside his New York City office demanding he fulfill his promise to appoint the special prosecutor if state lawmakers did not take action.
A grand jury in Staten Island failed to indict PO Pantaleo when Daniel Donovan prosecuted the case.
Donovan was recently elected to Congress.
Madiba Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, 2009 by a unanimous decision of the UN General Assembly.
It was inspired by a call the iconic leader made a year earlier, for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now.”
The former freedom fighter and South African president died at age 95 on Dec. 5, 2013.
The day is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy.
It is a global movement to honor his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.
Nelson Mandela followed three rules throughout his life, which he did at great personal sacrifice:
3.Serve every day.
Sharpton said in addition to demanding justice for Garner, along with demonstrators will demand the removal of a street sign marking Robert E. Lee Avenue in Brooklyn.
Lee was a confederate army soldier and the street is the central thoroughfare in Fort Hamilton, New York City’s only US Army base.
General Lee Avenue runs for about a half mile in the borough of Brooklyn and is under the jurisdiction of Staten Island Congressman Donovan.