From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (annparry.com)
June 5, 2020
peaceful march in turbulent June
VIDEO – Black Lives Matter March, N. Merrick, NY, Thursday, June 4, 2020:
⇔ Last night, while driving home shortly before 9 PM, I accidentally found myself in the path of a Black Lives Matter March about to turn onto Bellmore Ave from Jerusalem Ave in North Merrick.
When marchers turned, they passed between my car and several Nassau County Police patrol cars parked to block the intersection, so marchers had a safe, clear path. [google maps]
I held my iPhone out the driver’s window to film the marchers, many spread out for social distancing. Most were young, some black, some white, and most wore masks, either covering their mouths and noses or under their chins.
They carried signs with messages including: RIP George Floyd – BLM! – Black Lives Matter – No Racist Police – Ignorance is always afraid of change
A man with a megaphone led his fellow marchers in a chant: No Justice – No Peace – No Racist – Police
After they continued north for a few minutes, police cleared a path through the intersection, and neighboring cars and I continued south.
Later, I learned the marchers were part of a massive, peaceful Merrick march that started earlier that night on Sunrise Highway and ultimately blocked traffic on the Southern State Parkway
⇔ This Tuesday night, June 2, a self-proclaimed reporter got over 10,000 views on facebook when he live-streamed his take on about 30 people at Merrick Road, Merrick, protesting against Black Lives Matters supporters who wanted to march east from Trader Joe’s to Massapequa.
The ugly comments that anti-BLM March group made about the protestors were exacerbated by the videographer repeatedly and inaccurately referring to that small group as The People of Merrick, as if they represented the entire community.
As an aside: One of the anti-BLM protestors commented how someone was wearing a mask (following CDC guidelines during COVID-19 pandemic) and asked, rhetorically, if the person was a coward.
It’s an anti-mask sentiment I suspect not only the chief executive of the United States but also the COVID-19 virus – if sentient – would share.
⇔ 48 minutes ago, today, an email from NY State Senator John Brooks (District 8) landed in my inbox:
Last night, we witnessed a second wave of protests over the tragic death of George Floyd. In good part, this second march was the direct result of spiteful remarks gone viral, made by ignorant people flanking the peaceful march the day before. Let’s be clear, in Merrick there exists an overall community of wonderful people who genuinely believe in the fundamental principles upon which this nation was founded. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness combined with the understanding that all are created equal provides the basis of outlook, action, and acceptance of any Merokian I have come to know.
The remarks made by these ignorant few do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the people of the Merrick community or, for that matter, any community on Long Island. Yesterday, many Merokians walked along in protest, while many others stood on sidewalks providing support, applause, and even bottles of water to the passing marchers. In response to the tragedy of George Floyd, I witnessed members of this community march in support of the most basic of human rights, and I was proud; In response to vile words of thinly veiled hatred by a minority of instigators peddling divisiveness, I witnessed this community come together once again to protest that hatred in a peaceful way, and I was inspired.
Merrick is a community of fairness and understanding, of acceptance and fellowship, and I am proud to represent this community in the NY State Senate.
Sincerely, John E Brooks
I largely agree with Sen. Brooks’ above statement.
⇔ Walk the Walk
Segregation is rampant on Long Island, and – as Newsday’s undercover investigation found – it didn’t happen by accident. [*see links below]
Yes, we need to Talk the Talk of the truth that Black Lives Matter and deserve equal justice, and to Walk the Walk by supporting/participating in Black Lives Matter protest marches.
Be we also need to take the countless steps needed to have our community, our Long Island communities, be more diverse and reflect the truth that Black Lives Matter and deserve equal justice, housing, health care, education and job opportunities….
*Newsday – Three-year investigation uncovers widespread unequal treatment by real estate agents on Long Island (2019):
• Undercover Investigation: racial steering by real estate agents
• Opinion/EDITORIAL (Updated Nov. 17, 2019): Segregation’s stain on Long Island can be overcome
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Merrick, New York, U.S. June 4, 2020. North Merrick, New York, U.S. June 4, 2020. Black Lives Matter March heads north on Bellmore Ave in direction of eastbound entrance to Southern State Parkway.