Samuel L. Jackson is attempting to create the next ”Ice Bucket Challenge”, inviting stars and more to call out the “violence of the racist police” in the wake of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner deaths, two unarmed black men killed by white officers.
Last summer, dozens of celebrities and politicians poured ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS – and now, Jackson is hoping for a new viral wave, only this time to raise awareness about racism through song.
The actor took to his Facebook page Saturday night, following a day of enormous protests nationwide against police killings, to post his challenge in a video message. “All you celebrities out there who poured ice water on your head, here’s a chance to do something else,” Jackson said. “I challenge all of you to sing the “We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free” song.” He then begins to sing:
I can hear my neighbor cryin’ ‘I can’t breathe’ / Now I’m in the struggle and I can’t leave. / Callin’ out the violence of the racist police. / We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free. / We ain’t gonna stop, till people are free.
The post had been shared over 22,000 times by Sunday morning.
The lyrics mimic Eric Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe,” which he mutters after being place in an apparent chokehold in Staten Island, New York City. Like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Garner, who is black, was killed by a white police officer this summer. Grand juries in both cases decided not to indict the officers involved in their deaths, setting off massive protests.
Garner’s final comment has been heard in chants across the country; this weekend, thousands marched in New York City and Washington, D.C. to demand an end to police violence and the killing of unarmed black men by law enforcement.
“Come on,” Jackson urges at the end of the video. “Sing it out.”