EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - As demonstrations persist nationwide supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Peaceful marches have taken place in South Brunswick, Highland Park, Piscataway, Edison, New Brunswick, and South River. This Friday, the movement for the end to systemic racism will come to East Brunswick.
On Friday, June 12th, students from East Brunswick High School will hold a peaceful protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The march will begin at 2:00 at the East Brunswick Municipal building.
"Please spread the word to everyone, your family, friends, and neighbors. Try your best to attend and support the ones in need during this drastic time. Use this as an opportunity to show that you support the fight for justice and will no longer tolerate the injustices the black community has been facing to this day," say the organizers of the event.
Participants are urged to protest peacefully and abide by the law. Social distancing is urged and face masks are required, as the event takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
East Brunswick High School Senior and Activist Malcolm Linnehan Herring says that students will meet with the East Brunswick Police Department on Monday to discuss safety and boundaries for the event. Though the march will begin at the EB Municipal Building but the march 's "loop" has not yet been finalized. Other students are meeting to focus on building outreach and providing for possible medical needs.
Herring, whose father is black and mother is white, has experienced first-hand the difference between the way black and white people are interacted with by the police. "Even in East Brunswick, it is completely different," he said. Herring described situations in which he was pulled over by police when either his mother or father was in the car with him. "The system needs to be changed," he asserted.
"For Friday, we want to show some power in numbers. We want to build an awareness about racism, especially against black people," added Herring, who has attended rallies protesting the killings of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin.
At an online discussion hosted by the East Brunswick Human Relations Committee earlier this week, Police Chief Frank LoSacco and Mayor Brad Cohen spoke out in support of protesters, as long as these protests were nonviolent.
In an interview with TAPinto East Brunswick today, Mayor Cohen added, "The tragic events of the past week point to a well known fault line in our criminal justice system. The failure to address racism, social injustice and discrimination have led to unnecessary suffering by African Americans. These are the vestiges of a history that goes back centuries in this country. The lessons of the Lost Souls Project show us that East Brunswick was, sadly, part of that history. We should also recognize that the actions of a few criminals do not define law enforcement or our EBPD. But they do call for a systemic review of the culture and institutional policies that have made these incidences more than an anomaly.
EBPD Chief LoSacco and I have already started a dialogue necessary to assure our residents that we do everything possible to prevent such events from happening here. The protest scheduled next week represents the exercise of our Constitutional right to petition our government to respond to the people they are supposed to represent and I will always support such actions. Some of our greatest social changes came from such movements. I only request that protestors recognize that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Please wear masks, keep social distancing, and remain peaceful."
Referring to the rally, East Brunswick Board of Education Member Jeffrey Winston said, "Any effort of our students to exercise and preserve their Constitutional rights peacefully gives me hope in troubling times. I support the BLM movement as I believe all lives will matter only after Black Lives Matter."
Click here to learn your rights as a participant in a peaceful protest as described by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Information regarding the protest will appear on TAPinto East Brunswick. Updates will be placed on the EB BLM Facebook page or on Instagram at ebblmprotest.
The weather for Friday afternoon is currently predicted as being partly sunny and 85 degrees.