There has been no lack of similar cases in the last few years, and in 2016 alone, at least 115 black men have been gunned down by on-duty officers. As a result, activists have been keen on keeping victims' names in the public consciousness.
But not since the 2014 police-involved deaths of Michael
Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, has
the civil rights activist community
Prominent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement
While the social media-driven Black Lives Matter movement has been viewed as the millennial generation's version of legacy organization's marches and sit-ins, both approaches mirror a diverse tradition of black activism in the U.S.
"I think we can say that it's all necessary and,
unfortunately, it's very necessary," said Rob Widell, an associate professor of history at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston whose work
More established civil rights leaders in the late 1960s and
1970s took measured steps if meet with city council members and mayors on policy matters,
Last summer, leaders of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil
rights organization, marched 1,002 miles from Selma, Alabama — the
site of historic voting rights actions — to Washington, D.C.
That march happened as activists in the Black Lives Matter
movement came together last
August for an unprecedented
The result of Black Lives Matter efforts and traditional
civil rights advocacy was a political environment in which largely Democratic
politicians were forced to take
"One of the things that we can say pretty absolutely is that
any successful effort to bring about change is going to require action on
Here is a sampling of how activists across generations are responding to the recent events:
Voices of the Black Lives Matter movement
Prominent voices of the movement, such as DeRay
The National Action Network
The Rev. Shelton Charles Dixon, a local NAN branch
There will always be emotion evoked in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy like this and when there is a life lost. We are seeking the involvement of an organization like National Action Network because we want to ensure that the fight for justice will continue even when the cameras go away.
Rev. Jesse Jackson and the
Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Jackson, the civil rights icon who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., praised local authorities for allowing the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a federal probe related to Sterling's death. His statement was emailed to Mic on Wednesday.
The two police officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling while he was face down in a convenience store parking lot in Baton Rouge, La., should be arre
sted and charged immediately. It was a public execution, a legal lynching. They should not be on leave. They should not be placed on desk duty, collecting a paycheck, while children weep... The community is aroused. This is more Trayvon Martin. This is more Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The politics of our time has made this all the more possible. This is the toxic environment that we are now breathing. It is time to clear the air with the disinfectant called justice.
Cornell Williams Brooks and the NAACP
Brooks released a statement online Wednesday calling on state leaders in Louisiana to allow federal intervention in Sterling's death and help foster trust between the community and law enforcement.
Beyond heartbreaking, this latest tragedy calls for officials to break the inertia that may paralyze local and state authorities in insuring justice for the family, friends and community of Alton Sterling.
Marc Morial and the National Urban League
The NUL president and Louisiana native urged state authorities to take heed of what the federal infestation reveals in the probe of Sterling's death. His statement was emailed to Mic on Wednesday.
Louisiana has had its fair share of national tragedies and continues to march toward the north star of equality. 'Union, Justice, and Confidence' is the state motto and those words are to be made ever more significant in the coming weeks as investigations reveal more.
Although many of the statements released by activists and organization on Tuesday and Wednesday were reactions to the Sterling case, leaders individually reiterated their calls for justice after the news of Castile's death.
July 8, 2016, 2:46 p.m.: This story has been updated.