Cast and crew from the upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma took a break from Sunday night’s New York premiere to put on some T-shirts reading “I Can’t Breathe” for a photo-op to bring awareness to the ongoing protests concerning the death of Eric Garner, a man who was killed by a police officer as he repeated “I can’t breathe.”
Garner’s July death was determined a homicide, but in early December, the grand jury found “no reasonable cause” to indict the officer who put Garner in the fatal chokehold. Their decision launched nationwide protests, where participants march through streets chanting “I can’t breathe” among other slogans, including “black lives matter.”
Selma is especially relevant to these movements: The film title refers to the marches from Selma to Montgomery that led to the the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. These marches were plagued by police brutality.
Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay, stars The Butler’s David Oyelowo as King. Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Lorraine Toussaint also star in the film, which arrives in select theaters Dec. 25 and everywhere Jan. 9.