Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York will host an interfaith gathering to facilitate healing in the Staten Island chokehold death of Eric Garner reported the New York Daily News Saturday. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on Friday as part of a response against the Reverend Al Sharpton’s plans for a protest march across the Verrazano Bridge.
Eric Garner, 43, died during his arrest for allegedly selling loose bootleg cigarettes on July 17. His plea to Daniel Pantaleo and other arresting NYPD officers that he couldn’t breathe has reached the world. The medical examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide by chokehold and chest compression, but also listed his medical issues as contributing factors. The result, mixed with the cell phone taping of the incident, sent civil activists such as Sharpton to organize a protest on the city, the mayor and the NYPD. According to the New York Daily News the “spiritual summit” has been planned because “there is a tremendous need for healing at this moment. And our faith leaders play a powerful role, not only at the pulpit, but out in our communities in bringing people back together,” said Mayor de Blasio on Friday.
The interfaith gathering hasn’t received an official date, however it will occur once the 64-year-old cardinal returns from Australia where he will lead a spiritual retreat for priests. Religious leaders, Bill de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton plan to attend along with Al Sharpton reported Staten Island Live.
Cardinal Dolan responded to the 53-year-old Democratic de Blasio’s request stating, “I very much look forward to serving alongside pastors, rabbis and imams, as well as the mayor, Police Commissioner Bratton and the NYPD. Religion and faith are powerful agents for what is good and unifying in the human spirit, and I know I speak for my fellow religious leaders in expressing appreciation for the mayor's sensitivity to the role that the faith community in New York can play at this time of need."
Sharpton and other civil activists have planned a “march for justice” across the Verrazano Bridge on August 23 reported NBC 4 New York. The plans were originally to cross the bridge on foot, however Al Sharpton announced Saturday buses or cars will usher protestors, however his organization has yet to acquire the proper permits. Mayor de Blasio will attend the interfaith healing rally for the chokehold death, but not Sharpton’s bridge protest.