December 25, 2014


By Kenneth D. Miller 

Assistant Managing Editor



Weeks of national protest against police brutally sparked by the non-indictments in the murders Michael Brown and Eric Garner, reached the federal courthouse steps in downtown Los Angeles when more than 50 powerful Black men staged a silent vigil demonstration, recently.


Organized and led by Kerman Maddox, managing partner at Dakota Communications and influential political ally, the protested featured men dressed in dark suits and carrying placards that read “Black Lives Matter.”


On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner died in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, after a police officer put him in a grappling hold on him and Brown was shot and killed by Furgeson, Mo. police Officer Darren Wilson in August.


Those incidents as well as other cases of police brutality against Blacks has sparked a national outrage that has ignited in Furgerson and most recently New York and led to marches throughout America and particularly her in Los Angeles where Ezell Ford’s murder at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department is not resolved.


The noontime gathering was intended to illustrate that police do not target only youth in low-income neighborhoods, said Kerman Maddox, managing partner at Dakota Communications and the organizer of the vigil.


“The larger community doesn't know how common it is for African American men to be stopped and harassed,” said Maddox.


Hailed as “Suits in Solidarity,” the protest was arranged by Maddox to show their support for the monumental movement that has been escalating throughout the country.


While, similar to the congressional staffer’s protest in Washington D. C last week, the “Suits in Solidarity” event included public officials such as Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Assembly members Sebastian Ridley-Thomas and Mike Gipson.


In contrast to many protest which resulted in violence and arrest, this protest was designed to be low key and the men greeted each other in solidarity with handshakes and hugs.


“This is a season to celebrate hope, joy and fulfillment. We will celebrate our right to expressing our 1st Amendment rights,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.


The vigil drew men from all walks of life, including pastors, architects, engineers and lawyers, many of whom described being racially profiled by police.


“We can still express our concerns and outrage in a nonviolent and peaceful way,” added Gipson.


The vigil began with a prayer and a moment of silence, and ended with a moment of silence. Then the men put their signs down and stood silently for 30 seconds with their hands up, their gazes fixed ahead.


It was a clear message, silent, but powerful.

Category: News