'Sea of People' Take to City Streets Because #BlackLivesMatter

By Chris Hoenig

New York’s Fifth Avenue was shut down Saturday by more than 25,000 marchers—the largest demonstration yet—in just one of many protests nationwide against the killing of unarmed Black people in America.

The sea of protesters stretched for more than a mile on one of the Big Apple’s biggest streets during one of the busiest times of the year. Thousands flock to the city on weekends to do some holiday shopping, see shows and gawk at the iconic holiday displays in windows and parks throughout Manhattan.

On Saturday, many also picked up the important lesson: Black lives matter.

The protesters came from all walks of life: Blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians—some dressed in sweats to combat the brutal cold, some wearing their Sunday best. More than 90 minutes after they began marching out of Washington Square Park, demonstrators still remained, waiting for their chance to march.

“I stand here as a Black man who is afraid of the police,” said marcher Ahmad Greene-Hayes, “who is afraid of never knowing when my life might end, never knowing when I might be … gunned down by a vigilante or a security guard or a police officer.”

Under the watchful eye of the NYPD—officers lined every intersection, dressed only in their standard uniforms, without the heavy armament seen in Ferguson or even in the city’s high-profile, terror-prone transport hubs—protesters packed Fifth Avenue, alternating chants of “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

You can view a time-lapse video of the march here:

The massive demonstration was almost entirely peaceful, though one man was arrested after some protesters broke off at the end of the scheduled route and attacked NYPD officers on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Those who reject peaceful protest and provoke violence can expect immediate arrest and prosecution,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday night, calling the attack an “ugly and unacceptable departure from the demonstrations thus far.”

“Such acts are beneath the dignity of New York City,” he added. “They undermine the very values these protests are working to advance, and they simply will not be tolerated.”

Eric Linsker, a 29-year-old college English professor who is white, was arrested in connection with the attack and charged with assault in the second degree, rioting in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and drug offenses.

‘Sea of People’ March on Washington

Led by the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, tens of thousands filled the National Mall in Washington, D.C., marching to the U.S. Capitol in support of their kids and other unarmed Black men killed at the hands of police officers.

“This is a history-making moment,” Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said. “It’s just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us. Look at the masses—Black, white, all races, all religions. … We need to stand like this at all times.”

Carr was joined by Esaw Snipes-Garner, Eric Garner’s widow; Samaria Rice, mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice; and Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, in asking for better monitoring of racial profiling and police brutality, and for equal justice for those killed by cops.

“What a sea of people,” McSpadden said. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do.” The universal use of body cameras by police officers are amongst the demands of many leading the rallies. “We come in peace but we come strong,” said Ashley Sharpton, daughter of the Reverend Al Sharpton, an organizer of the Washington march. “We come with demands. We want the government to get involved.” Thousands also gathered in Boston, marching from the Massachusetts State Capitol, and in San Francisco.

Latest News

Novartis Chief Medical Officer John Tsai on Balancing Medical Innovations With Patient Needs

Originally published at novartis.com by Elizabeth Dougherty. John Tsai is Novartis’ Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   John Tsai’s career as a physician, and now as Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer for Novartis, had an unlikely…

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed

City of Montgomery, Alabama Faces $25,000 State Fine for Changing Street Named After a Confederate Leader

Despite a state law designed to “protect” longstanding Confederate monuments and memorials, the city of Montgomery, Alabama, has decided that it would rather incur a fine than continue going on with a city street named after President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865, Jefferson Davis. Kim Chandler of…

Global Diversity

Despite Massive Uptick in Global DEI Initiatives, New Study Reveals Real Change in Corporate Workforces Remains Slow 

Even though DEI as a business imperative continues to grow both in the United States and around the world, a new study has found that many business leaders and executives have merely raised awareness of why diversity, equity and inclusion is important — as opposed to actually making meaningful progress…

Novartis Collaborates With Microsoft To Innovate Medicine Through Data and Artificial Intelligence

Originally published on LinkedIn. Novartis Pharmaceuticals is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   “We are not just discoverers. We actually create molecules that have never been made before.” Says Karin Briner, Head of Global Discovery Chemistry at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). By collaborating with Microsoft and augmenting the expertise of our…

Mastercard Announces Launch of Crescent City Card Program in Partnership With New Orleans and MoCaFi

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was joined by executives from Mastercard, Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi), and Forward Together New Orleans to announce the Crescent City Card Program. The program involves a…

Mastercard on Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Urban Development by Expanding Its ‘City Possible’ Network

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Mastercard has continued to expand its support for addressing urban challenges and inequalities, working with city leaders and partners around the world, through the City Possible™ network and capabilities. The unique solutions…