NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than 10,000 Americans demanded change at a national march against police violence in Washington, D.C. Saturday afternoon.

Demonstrators marched with signs that reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Who do you protect? Who do you serve.”

Photos: D.C. March Against Police Violence

Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, the Urban League and the NAACP sponsored the demonstration.

“Show the world today this is not a black march or a white march, this is an American march for the rights of American people,” Sharpton said to the cheering crowd.

The families of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Akai Gurley’s domestic partner also attended.

“What a sea of people,” said Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown. “If they don’t see this and make a change, then I don’t know what we got to do. Thank you for having my back.”

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, called the march a “history-making moment.”

“It’s just so overwhelming to see all who have come to stand with us today,” she said. “I mean, look at the masses. Black, white, all races, all religions — we need to stand like this at all times.”

Some of the speakers urged the crowd to chant “I can’t breathe,” which Garner had said before his death. Others called for a chant of “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, sitting at home and watching the protest on TV wasn’t an option for Shannon.

“I don’t know what’s the next step. That’s why I’m taking this one. I know that my voice being heard is one step that I can take,” she said.

The Connecticut native and her friend Jamelia, of Westchester, joined thousands of protesters who want to bring attention to the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police, Miller reported.

“America is supposed to value all of its citizens. We’re supposed to have justice for all,” Jamelia said. “But clearly that’s not what’s going on. So we have to fight for what’s right.”

The National Action Network provided a bus to New Yorkers looking to take part in the D.C. protest.

Rallier Lisa told 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern she boarded the bus because she wants to be a part of history. She said she grew up on Staten Island in the 70s and said that as an African-American woman, she knows what it’s like to have police make you feel uncomfortable.

“Being in certain areas that they don’t think you should be in, you know. Asking questions, ‘What are you doing here,'” she said.

Tara arrived in Staten Island from Weehawken, New Jersey, Saturday morning. She said Garner’s death was something of a turning point for her.

“It’s right in front of your eyes, a man is pleading for his life and he’s continued to be choked to death. It’s horrifying,” she said.

Demonstrators began marching on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol at noon.

The grand jury decisions to not charge the officers involved in both the Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri and Garner’s case in New York City have touched off weeks of protests across the country.

Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died in July after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island.

In cellphone video of the incident, Officer Daniel Pantaleo is seen placing his arm around Garner’s neck in an apparent chokehold and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.

Garner is heard saying repeatedly, “I can’t breathe!” He died a short time later.

Brown, 18, was fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.

Protesters also marched from Washington Square Park to One Police Plaza outside the NYPD headquarters in New York City Saturday afternoon.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More From CBS New York

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
Get Our Morning Briefs

Watch & Listen LIVE