On Saturday December 13th I marched in the Millions March NYC and hosted a meeting of activists and organizers at my house. My family knows Michael Skolnik, a member of the board of advisors of Justice League NYC, and a modern day civil rights leader. Since I live near Washington Square Park, the start of the march, he asked my family if we would host a meeting of organizers before the march. At the meeting I met many activists and journalists marching or reporting in the march. There were also some family members of the victims of police shootings or racially connected murders. I learned the story of Emmett Till, a black teenager tortured for reportedly flirting with a white woman in the 50s, from his cousin who came to New York to march. Emmett Till’s murder was shown to the whole country and inspired leaders of the civil rights movement like Rosa Parks. Ron Davis, the father of Jordan Davis, who was shot dead in Florida by a man in an argument over loud music, also came to New York.
Before leaving my house I could already see huge crouds of marchers gathering in Washington Square park from my window. When I got there I realized that what I had seen had been only a small fraction of the crouds assembled there. At least half of the entire park was already filled up with marchers, more were coming every second and the marchers were moving incredibly slowly out of the park. The organizers estimated that there were 30,000 marchers. The sound was also deafening, chants moved down the march slowly towards the back and new one’s started frequently. Some common chants were, “Hands up. Don’t shoot.” as well as, “If I can’t breathe, shut it down. If You can’t breathe, shut it down. If Eric garner can’t breath…” These chants were call out back and forth with one person shouting out the first line and other marchers responding. I stayed in the park for 30 or 45 minutes before I got to fifth avenue. On fifth avenue the pace increased and I was able to look around at banners and signs held up by marchers better. Many banners had the phrase black lives matter, many also had lists of victims of police shootings and one person I saw held up an upside down american flag.
I marched for 5 hours, stopping once to get a snack with the group of people I had been with since we left my house, and returning to the front of the march. At the front of the march protesters held up panels that together depicted Eric Garner’s eyes. The march was one of the first times I had ever protested in a march to support civil rights and I am glad I was able to stand up to support civil rights and be able to meet many organizers of the march.