My Death Must Mean Something More: Justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown

December 5, 2014

Sound artist Matana Roberts, musician Me’shell Ndegeocello and poet Staceyann Chin share a song of protest as activists fill the streets of U.S. cities, demanding police accountability after grand juries failed to indict two white officers who killed unarmed African-American men.

Eric Garner

Photo by Matana Roberts, 2014.

From the editors:
Last night, thousands of protesters halted traffic across New York’s major thoroughfares in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for killing an unarmed Staten Island resident, Eric Garner. The demonstrations included sit-ins and die-ins at major intersections and highways, not only in New York, but also in cities including Washington, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago. Protesters chanted “Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut the system down,” “Black lives matter,” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” connecting the actions with recent demonstrations in Ferguson, MO and around the country. Activists also shouted, “I can’t breathe,” Garner’s final words, which he repeated at least 11 times as Pantaleo suffocated him with a fatal choke hold.

Among the protesters was sound artist Matana Roberts, who, together with musician Me’shell Ndegeocello and poet Staceyann Chin, produced the track above. Chin wrote (and vocalized) the poem, and Ndegeocello and Roberts were also joined by Jahi Sundance Lake in playing the accompanying music.

Eric Garner

Protesters rallying against a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner carry a collection of mock coffins bearing the names of victims of fatal police encounters as they cross the eastbound traffic lanes of the Brooklyn Bridge, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, in New York. Photo copyright Jason DeCrow/AP.