The actor wants “I Can’t Breathe” to be the next viral video awareness campaign.
Samuel L. Jackson wants you to make your protest against police violence trenD. In a video posted to his Facebook page over the weekend, the actor called on all his celebrity friends and fans that participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge to sound their condemnations of police violence against black Americans in a similar viral video campaign. The challenge this time is to sing “I Can’t Breathe”, a protest song by a social justice collective of artists called the Peace Poets, on camera and post it to social media. The song title references the death of Eric Garner at the hands of Staten Island police, who held him in a chockhold as he gasped, “I can’t breathe,” over and over again.
The ALS ice bucket challenge has its critics, but in the end it proved to be a powerful tool for awareness and a successful fundraising strategy for ALS research. Whether police violence will trend as well as ALS remains to be seen. A call against police violence requires people to be cognizant of institutional racism and the systematic ways in which law enforcement victimizes black communities. It’s a challenge that necessitates acknowledgement of our own complicity in those systems. ALS, on the other hand, is an uncomplicated issue that demands little of us beyond a mutual agreement that we hate degenerative diseases.