By Christopher Mathias, the Huffington Post

NEW YORK — A march from New York City to Washington, D.C., to protest police brutality started Monday morning in Staten Island — the borough where Eric Garner died last summer after being put into a chokehold by a New York police officer.

Justice League marchers cross a bridge from Staten Island into New Jersey.

Justice League marchers cross a bridge from Staten Island into New Jersey.

About 100 protesters gathered at the foot of the Outerbridge Crossing in preparation for the nine-day, 250-mile trek. Many wore T-shirts bearing Garner’s famous last words, “I can’t breathe,” and others held signs reading “#BlackLivesMatter.”

Sade Swift, a 19-year-old New School student, told The Huffington Post she was marching because she’s “tired of creating hashtags” for unarmed men of color killed by the police: #EricGarner. #MichaelBrown. #RamarleyGraham. #TamirRice.#AkaiGurley. And, most recently, #WalterScott.

“I’m tired of seeing all these people that look like me on the news, so that’s why I’m marching,” said Swift, who grew up in Washington Heights…

Swift is a member of The Justice League, the New York-based organization behind the event, dubbed “The March 2 Justice.” About 100 protesters are making the entire journey, spokeswoman Lindsey Wagner told HuffPost, and others will join in for different legs of the trip along the way…

Sade Smith, far right, with three other protesters before the start of Monday's march

Sade Smith, far right, with three other protesters before the start of Monday’s march

Carmen Perez, the Justice League march director, told HuffPost that when the protest ends in Washington on April 21, organizers will hold a rally on the National Mall with musical performances.

“We want to shed light on the injustices that are happening in different communities, particularly around police brutality, and the mass incarceration of our black and brown communities,” Perez said…

The Justice League is pushing for the passage of three federal bills during the march: the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, which would create funding to improve conditions in local and state juvenile justice programs; the End Racial Profiling Act, which would prohibit police from profiling anyone based on their race, ethnicity or national origin; and the Militarization Bill, which would limit police departments’ ability to purchase military equipment from the Department of Defense.

 

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