12/08/2014 12:36 pm ET Updated Feb 07, 2015

Statement on Grand Jury's Decision in the Death of Eric Garner


The National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc., joins the millions of people in New York City and around the country in expressing shock, disbelief, and outright frustration about the Staten Island Grand Jury's decision of no indictment in the death of Eric Garner. Our prayers of peace and comfort continue for the Garner family.

In the tragic killing of Michael Brown, while there appear to have been credible witnesses, there were no cameras or videos. If we cannot believe our own eyes with what we witnessed on the Eric Garner video, who or what can we believe? Furthermore, the chokehold as a police procedure is banned in New York City, and the medical examiner ruled Mr. Garner's death as a homicide.

In just a matter of two short weeks we have experienced two devastating blows to justice, equality, and fairness in decisions from the grand jury. No race of people or community should have to live in fear of excessive force by those empowered to protect them. We fully support the Department of Justice in pursuing its federal investigation. We further support President Obama in his statement of not being "interested in talk but action."

In that regard, we must all come together for collective actions to bring about changes that speak to the respect of humanity for all people, especially black men throughout this country. Efforts to improve police community relations must also include changing attitudes. Black lives must be seen as having value, and this must be the mentality, attitude, and belief of those entrusted to protect our lives. Nothing less is acceptable.

Things must change. Peace, yes... injustice, no!