MILLBURN, NJ — In the midst of a weekend of violent protests that erupted in response to the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Millburn residents came together yesterday afternoon to stage a nonviolent demonstration on the lawn of Millburn High School.
Approximately 150 protestors waved signs on both sides of Millburn Avenue in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, a protest group which has gained media notice in recent years for protesting the death of other black men and women at the hands of police.
Lillian Cho, who was there with her Children Owen and Meena Chung was one of the organizers of the impromptu gathering, which came together shortly before the announced start time of 2:00 p.m. Cho said that organizing for a non-violent protest was something she and others were strongly in favor of.
"This has been a long-standing fight that I have been advocating for," Cho said. "People have to treat each other as equals."
"I do go to my share of protests," Cho added. "But I'm not always out there, and I try to do whatever I can. We're all busy people, but we've gotta start somewhere. Start the conversation, spark something, because it affects every single person."
One of the protestors joining Cho out on Millburn Avenue was Maya Evans. Holding a red, white and green sign with the letters BLM in black paint, Evans, an eighth grader at Millburn Middle School said that she was demonstrating to bring as much awareness as she could to the issue at hand.
"I came out here to show people that it isn't over," Evans said. "People need to wake up and realize that this is a problem and has been a problem. So, everyone's here today for people to be more aware of what's going on in America."
She also added that she was happy to see protestors in Millburn remaining non-violent during the demonstration. She said that it showed people can achieve justice through peace without destroying businesses.
Ralph Tejeda and his daughter Gabriella were both at the protest as bystanders, and had come from Livingston to support friends in Millburn who were part of the demonstration.
"I'm glad that I can be here with my family, with my son and daughter," Tejeda said. "We don't want to be bystanders. We want to express ourselves and let people know we should have a voice and there should be justice in this world,a dn I want our children to see that, and we're happy to be here."
"We're just here to show our solidarity and support to the black community," Gabriella added. "We all need to stand together in order to get justice."
Millburn Township Committee member Diane Thall-Eglow was also out at the protest observing in support as a bystander. She said that seeing the citizens of Millburn engage in non-violent demonstration was something that brought pride to her heart as a committee member and town resident.
"As always, I''m incredibly proud of our town's residents," Thall-Eglow said. "And I think standing up for what you believe can never be stressed enough."
By about 3:30 p.m., the bulk of the protestors had finished and gone their separate ways, bringing an end to the main portion of the protest.