Russell Simmons, Beverly Bond, Stephen Hill, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Estelle, Bevy Smith and others Host ‘Together We Stand’ Benefit for Eric Garner’s Family

with Eric Garner's daughters Emerald (center) and Shardinee (right)
with TV producer Saleda Bryant (left) and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones (center)
with Black Girls Rock founder Beverly Bond (right)

“I can’t breathe” (#icantbreathe) has become the rallying cry in protests following the unjust verdict which failed to indict the white police officer who killed Eric Garner, an African American man in Stanton Island who was choked to death by a police officer all while Garner was alerting the officer that he literally couldn’t breathe, which was caught on tape. Sadly, this terrifying abuse by law enforcement is not an isolated incident. There is a long history and current epidemic of law enforcement exercising extremely violent “tactics” when dealing with people of color, such as police sexual assaulting women (Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Ken Holtzclaw is being charged with assaulting 13 women, at least 7 of whom are African American, and one a minor), innocent children killed in police raids (like seven year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones), the unconstitutional and humiliating ‘Stop & Frisk’ protocol,  or the brutal and often fatal beatings or gun violence disproportionately effecting Black and Brown men (like Michael Brown of Ferguson). The ever growing militarized police force dealing with peaceful protesters is also a larger concern that has to be dealt with. 

On Wednesday, December 10th a committee of Black social justice leaders, artists, entertainment moguls and politicos hosted a fundraising soiree at the Hudson Commons at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan.  The benefit raised financial support for Eric Garner’s family, including his widow, son and two daughters, Chardonnay and Emerald, all of who attended the event. Many gave their condolences to Garner’s family, and they were very much showered with support and love. Their quest for justice is also our struggle for peace. Until there is accountability and genuine reform there will unrest in this country. There’s a tidal wave rising that has no intention of landing until the people secure protection from corrupt law enforcement and societal equality regardless of race, class or gender.

Russell Simmons, Beverly Bond, D.J. Mos, D.J. Kiss, Legendary Damon, Stephen Hill, Valeisha Butterfield-Jones, Bevy Smith, Estelle, Tyson Beckford, Chef Roble Ali, Demetria Lucas and Janell Snowden were among the event co-hosts

Other noted attendees were Essence editor-at-large Emil Wilbekin, music mogul Kevin Lyles, TV producer Saleda, rapper Q-tip (who gave an inspiring speech in the DJ booth), social justice advocate Michaela Angela Davis Global Grind’s Michael Skolnik and BET correspondent Breon Robinson

Tomorrow, Saturday, December 13th, large marches are planned in both Washington DC and in New York to draw attention of this country’s epidemic of police violence against people of color. Eric Garner’s family will attend the one in DC
Here is Eric Garner’s family’s IndieGoGo page so you can donate funds to help their family: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fund-for-the-children-of-eric-garner
(L-R) Ashley NYC, Stephen Hill (BET executive), Tadia James, Breon Robinson (BET correspondent)


with NYC fashionista Bevy Smith (co-host of Bravo's Fashion Queens_

with singer Estelle

Essence editor-at-large Emil Wilbekin

author Demetria Lucas

entertainment correspondent Janell Lucas 


Warner Music Group's Grammy Celebration; Nile Rodgers Performs!

Clive Davis' and The Recording Academy's Pre-Grammy Gala

with singer Alicia Keys
with music executive Clive Davis

Russel Simmons joins Clive Davis onstage

singer Miley Cyrus

Jennifer Hudson, T.I. and Pharell onstage



I raised the table candle during the tribute to Whitney Houston

with actress Molly Tarlov (MTV's Awkward)

with actor Guillermo Diaz (ABC's Scandal)