Home / National News / Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Marked by Community Service and Protests


(NEW YORK) — On Monday, while much of the nation spent the day honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in traditional ways, like working in their communities, others took the opportunity to protest the deaths of numerous black men at the hands of police officers around the country in recent months and years.

The New York Times reported that more than 1,000 people gathered in Harlem, N.Y., where a banner reading “Black Lives Matter” hung from the front of a church. Many of the demonstrators, the newspaper said, held signs demanding justice for Eric Garner, who died in July 2014 when a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold.

Others carried signs calling for justice in the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old shot in August 2014 by police officers in Ferguson, Mo., just outside of St. Louis, where thousands more were gathered, according to the Times.

Still others were responding to the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin at the hands of neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman, or the November 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer.

The crowd at a similar event — a four-mile march — in Boston was expected to number over 1,500.

Among the issues many of those gathering Monday are trying to fight are police brutality, mass incarceration and racial and economic inequality.

In addition to the protests, many around the country honored King by taking part in community service events. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson each spoke at breakfast events honoring King on Monday. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and a number of cabinet and administration members participated in an array of community events throughout the day Monday.

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