Michael Brown, Eric Garner solidarity by Christmas carol singers

Protesters sing Christmas carols at Grand Central Station denouncing the recent decisions by two grand juries not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in New York City and Ferguson, Missouri, in New York City December 7, 2014

From Reuters news agency:

Tweaking the classics: Carolers protest police violence in New York

Published: December 8, 2014 07:48 AM

NEW YORK, Dec 8 — Amid a sea of holiday shoppers, about 30 protesters, among them professional opera singers, gathered yesterday in midtown New York to sing Christmas carols modified with lyrics lamenting recent cases of police violence against African American males. …

In the reimagined songs, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” became “O Little Town of Ferguson,” the Missouri city where Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was shot dead in August by a white police officer.

A grand jury declined last month to indict the officer, Darren Wilson, sparking a nationwide wave of protests.

Other songs included “All I Want for Christmas is an Indictment” and “Little Drummer Boy,” which was remade into a dirge for Eric Garner, who died in July after being choked by a New York police officer in Staten Island.

That officer also avoided indictment in a decision handed down last week.

Organizer Cassandra Oliveras, 35, a self-described “choral freak,” said the idea of adapting carols to the current controversies came to her after a recent protest in Manhattan aimed at stopping the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

Police blocked protesters from reaching the site.

“I was so angry and I felt so incredibly hopeless,” she said.

“I couldn’t sleep that night and I just stayed up writing these things because they just poured out of me.”

The carolers, who began singing at Penn Station before shifting locations, ranged from sign-bearing activists to professional opera singers.

Susanna Mentzer, a mezzo soprano who will perform in “Marriage of Figaro” today at the Metropolitan Opera, said the event marked her first protest.

“I think what’s so unique about current protests is that everyone I know seems outraged,” said Mentzer, 57, who attended with a fellow cast member after learning of the protest on social media.

For some more experienced protesters, the singing represented a welcome change of pace.

“Friday there was a definite sense of anger. All you could do is scream,” said Katie Carman, 33, a Manhattan filmmaker, referring to protests in New York.

“Today, I wanted to come out and show people we can deliver this message in other ways.

“But I may be back on the streets shouting.”

The death of Eric Garner is the turning point that Ferguson never was. 60% of Americans believe the officer involved should have been indicted: here.

23 thoughts on “Michael Brown, Eric Garner solidarity by Christmas carol singers

  1. Key interview missing from Ferguson documents

    Posted: Dec 08, 2014 7:18 PM Updated: Dec 08, 2014 7:19 PM

    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS (AP) – A police interview with a key witness was not provided along with the thousands of documents released after a grand jury decided to not indict a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.

    An Associated Press review of the records released by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch confirms a report by KDSK-TV that a transcript of the two-hour interview by the FBI and a county police detective with Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson was not included.

    The prosecutor’s office did not respond to requests for comment Monday.

    McCullough took the unusual step of sharing information shown to the secret panel once the jury determined that Ferguson officer Darren Wilson should not stand trial in Brown’s death.

    He provided transcripts of 24 witness interviews.

    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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