During Memorial Service for Eric Garner at Historic Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, Daughter Emerald Garner, Malcolm X’s Daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, and Activist Shaun King Say Black Americans Must ‘Come Together’ to Fight Racial Injustice

Emerald Garner speaks at the fifth anniversary of her father’s death at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York, on July 30, 2019. She is joined by her brothers, Emery and Eric Garner Jr.; her mother, Esaw Snipes Garner (not pictured); Korey Wise, one of the exonerated Central Park Five; Ilyasah Shabazz (back left), daughter of Malcolm X, and actor, rapper, dancer Sean “ARNSTAR” Kirkland (back center). | The Christian Post/Leonardo Blair

Under the glare of a painting of a blue-eyed black Jesus inside the sanctuary of the historic Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, issued a grave warning Tuesday to black Americans who shun activism against injustice.

“Only we can do this together. We cannot continue to be bamboozled thinking about self. We must abandon the motto that you can pull yourself by your individual bootstraps because it does not work,” Shabazz said to the applauding audience gathered at the church not far from the mosque where her father once preached.

The crowd gathered to mark the fifth anniversary of the controversial death of Eric Garner, a New York father of six who died in the summer of 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Pantaleo was not criminally indicted.

In making her point about the need for unity and awareness in the fight against racial injustice, Shabazz alluded to comments A$AP Rocky made about his involvement in speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality.

Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X, speaks at a memorial event on the fifth anniversary of Eric Garner’s death at Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. | The Christian Post/Leonardo Blair

In an 2015 Time Out interview, A$AP Rocky made controversial comments regarding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

“Why would I feel compelled to rap about Ferguson? I’m not about to say that I was down there throwing rocks at (expletive), getting pepper-sprayed. I’d be lying. Is it because I’m black? What the f***, am I Al Sharpton now?” He said.

“I’m A$AP Rocky. I did not sign up to be no political activist. I wanna talk about my (expletive) lean, my best friend dying, girls, my jiggy fashion and my inspirations in drugs. I live in f***ing Soho and Beverly Hills. I can’t relate. I go back to Harlem, it’s not the same. It’s a sad story. I gotta tell you the truth. I’m in the studio, I’m in fashion houses, I’m in these b******’ drawers. I’m not doing anything outside of that. That’s my life. These people need to leave me the f*** alone.”

The 30-year-old rapper whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been leaning on the connections he has with activists after he was detained in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 30 for his involvement in an assault in which he and two others in his entourage beat a man, breaking two of his ribs. Known for his song “Praise the Lord,” he pleaded not guilty to the assault charge in a Swedish court on Tuesday. If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.

“Look at ASAP Rocky’s statement about this life of injustice not being his reality and now he needs our help because it is his reality,” Shabazz continued to applause Tuesday.

“We must subscribe to the African proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child and raise our children together. If we are to survive these continued atrocious acts we must take heed of the work to come together,” she said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair