LINDEN, NJ - Hundreds gathered in Linden to peacefully take the streets following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died at the hands of four Minnesota police officers on May 25.
Organized and led by Linden High School senior Andrea Dominguez and the Linden Class of 2020, the protest was filled with the chanting of "no justice, no peace”, encouraging words from officials, prayer from clergy and a moment of silence while kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which symbolizes the final moments of Floyd's life.
This week, communities across the state of New Jersey hosted gatherings and marches for Floyd taking place in Summit, Cranford, Roselle, and Franklin Township, to name a few.
Gov. Phil Murphy in a press conference Wednesday said there have been peaceful demonstrations, despite the crowds at some.
“There has been extraordinary behavior up and down our state over these past number of very trying days in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a man that by any measure should be alive and well today,” the governor said at the George Washington Ballroom in Trenton.
Bryce Watkins, a 12-year-old Linden resident, marched in remembrance of Floyd and is aware that change is needed in this country.
“Today’s protest was really important to remember the life of George Floyd and all of the black people who have died unfairly and in an unjust way,” Watkins said. “It was a good way for me and so many others to express our voices in our community. And I hope this sparks us to realize things have to change. I will remember this for the rest of my life.”
Residents throughout Union County of all races and ages came together in support of the city.
Roselle resident Ashley Scudder said she attended the protest today because she wanted march in solidarity with those in her neighboring town.
“If you can make it to a protest, please do,” Scudder said. “This brought so much emotion out that I didn’t even realize I had... it was truly powerful!”
After the event, Mayor Derek Armstead expressed his sentiments in a post on his Facebook page, “... Today we marched together in peace and showed the world what democracy at work is all about,” Armstead said. “When Andrea and her classmates from the senior class of 2020 contacted my office and explained what they wanted to do I was overcome with so much pride and admiration.
He added, that he was happy to have responsible young people participating in the event with a desire to do what's right.
“As stated before, I am proud to be the mayor of a town with such responsible young people. They protested in peace following the proper protocol and putting safety first," Armstead said. "I am proud of their leadership and their desire to take on social injustice. I am honored and proud to know that they CARE.”
Tiffany Johnson - a Linden resident and community leader - stated that "today was a good day in Linden.”
“Linden for sure isn’t perfect, but Linden got it right today,” she said. "I also feel like with as many cops, teenagers and parents in attendance the city got to know each other better today. Much love to our children of our city for this was their idea.”
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