Black Lives Matter Protests Draw Supporters From Across Long Island
Peaceful protests continued in communities across Long Island over the weekend. Organized demonstrations called for unity against racial disparity in police violence.
A caravan of over 1,000 demonstrators, led by the Long Island NAACP, swarmed the administrative buildings in Suffolk County.
In the parking lot, they laid on their horns.
“This is about justice,” said Tracey Edwards, the group’s regional director. “You can be 100% pro-police and 100% against police misconduct.”
Protestors of mixed race, age, sexual orientation and faiths all had different reasons for being there.
Parents said they want to protect their children.
“We are here to justify our lives,” said Mariana Rodriquez, gripping her daughter Nyah closer.
Students said they want a safer tomorrow.
“When I see police, I never feel safe. I feel controlled. I feel contained, and I feel threatened around the police,” said Savannah, who wanted to be identified by only her first name because of fear of police retribution.
In Nassau County, cars lined up at the county courthouse, many with signs taped to the windows that read “Say their Names” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Hundreds of protesters came on foot to see the caravan off. Patricia Fulton was there with her wife. Fulton says she’s seen social justice movements before, but this time she feels more encouraged.
“I mean, I’m standing here looking at young kids holding ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs, and my wife is crying…This is different.”
Local officials, clergy and more demonstrators met up with the caravan in Hauppauge.
Reverend Edward Christian with the Brookhaven NAACP says he’s proud and inspired by the large turnout and the diversity of the protesters.
“I am tremendously optimistic based on – not just because the world is watching – but because I see so many younger faces who I know are energized and passionate about change. They’ve grown up in a different era and they are not going to tolerate this type of injustice any longer.”
Demonstrators called for more police record transparency, a ban on chokeholds and serious legal repercussions for officers who unjustifiably use violence.
Some called for police departments to be dissolved and remade anew.