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Protesters back on the streets in Michigan to argue black lives matter

Dec 4, 2014

Nancy Gallardo holds a sign in Grand Rapids Thursday afternoon.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Michigan are protesting the death of Eric Garner. It's the second time protesters have come out in two weeks. Previous rallies took place after a grand jury decided not to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri.

On Thursday, protesters returned to march in Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Kalamazoo in reaction to a grand jury’s decision not to charge a New York police officer who choked Garner.

People lay on the ground at Campus Martius Park during a so-called “die-in” in Detroit.

There were also rallies planned in Kalamazoo and on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant.

Organizer Briana Urena-Ravelo led a workshop about violence in Grand Rapids Thrusday afternoon. She says they’d like to do more than protest.

“We’re talking about a possible cop watch so that we can monitor police violence and talk about police violence and keep a watch on the police on a communal level,” Urena-Ravelo said.

Chalk outlines on Calder Plaza.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

She says they’re hoping to future workshops will better educate people and connect those already working on the issue.

As a black woman, Chaka Holley says her interactions with police have been mostly negative.

“We came out to let people know that the police are killing people daily,” Holley said. “I want people who come to work tomorrow in the city building and in the county building to see all of these bodies out here. All of these bodies that are violated by state violence,” Holley said.

As the pastor and justice coordinator at Heartside Ministry, Holley says she sees people get harassed by the police all the time.