MADISON, NJ - Protests are being organized locally and all over the nation in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Today's event in Madison called for an end to social injustice and an end to "White Silence". As the bell rang out at 12noon, people of all ages, gathered in front of the Hartley Dodge Municipal Building.
Wearing masks, and carrying signs, some of which read, "not one more", "black lives matter", and "your silence is louder than you think", the large crowd of people stood in front of the municipal building, as speakers addressed the crowd.
Organizer and Madison resident Sara Benjamin-Jebara began by holding a moment of silence for all the lives lost.
"I am so happy to see so many people here", Jebara said to the crowd. "The amount of unity, solidarity and love that has been shown across the country and within our own town has been beautiful and moving".
Jabara said some community members were confused and asked what today's event meant. Jabara explained that "today's protest is to end white silence. To end white complicity"
"It's a protest to reflect on why its taken us this long to feel the outrage that black people and other people of color have been feeling for centuries", she said. "Our privilege has led us to be silent. And our silence speaks volumes. Our silence is violence. This protest is about the next part. The hard work to end systemic racism".
In speaking about the nine minutes that the officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck and was unresponsive, Rev. Dunn of the First Baptist Church of Madison, told the crowd that there was "no compassion in the face of that officer."
"Whenever you are confronted by racism, what is the most loving thing you can do" asked Rev. Dunn. "They say change it first with your actions, change it next with your words, change it least with your thoughts. That is the weakest of all things. So we aren't asking you to be in a safe space, we are asking you to step into brave space and speak for those who have no voice".
Madison Mayor Bob Conley addressed the crowd as rain began to fall. He first thanked Chief of Police Darren Dachisen and the Madison Police Department.
"I want to thank Chief Darren Dachisen and the Madison Police Department", Conley said. "They are committed to keeping Madison a welcoming community. Treating all with the respect they deserve".
"Today we gather peacefully to fight the war against racism and injustice", he said. "All gathered here today must commit to change and we must not allow those who have taken up violence to derail this mission"
Mayor Conley stated that there are two viruses sweeping across America; COVID-19 and racism.
"Your presence here today confirms that you are not neutral", Conley told the crowd. "But it can't stop here. Too many times horrible incidences have happened and eventually those images fade into memory until the next tragedy strikes. We can not let that happen again. Everyday we need to fight against racism and injustice. It is a time for all leaders to take a stand against injustice. Parents, as leaders of our households. Churches, mayors, governors, Trenton and Washington, all must commit to fighting injustice".
"We need say enough is enough, injustice must end and justice for all must truly be the rule of the land", said Conley.
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