NUTLEY, NJ - Sunday's Black Lives Matter rally and march made national news. Monday night it was included in a segment of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. So how did a march of 1,000 people, in a small town, on the banks of the Passaic River, even get started?
TAPinto reached out to Mike Celona, found of Nutley United, to find out how it all began. His short answer was simple, it started with a question.
Celona explained that he ran across a question on social media asking what Nutley could do in response to the killing of George Floyd. According to Celona, he created a flyer, and everyone else stepped up. He stressed that the event was entirely possible because of the work of the women who got made things happen. Nutley has a storied history of stepping up to help others, one need look no further than the response to requests for donations from the Nutley Family Service Bureau food pantry to see how residents get involved to help others.
"Racism is assumed to be an older generation problem, the amount of kids that stepped up (at the event) with stories and action is a wakeup call." Celona said. " The Nutley Police Department came to make sure our message was heard and uninterrupted. Mayor Mauro Tucci spoke, we got to hear real accounts that are of concern for our town and I think it's good to not be in denial. Let's adapt and overcome. We need to learn to be better."
Celona added, "The best thing I did for this event was listen. It starts with gathering information. I listened to the police, I listened to the town, I listened to people that don't look like me. Listen."
He said, "I want a safe space for people to be heard. I'm going to compile videos from people telling their truth. Please post or send it to me directly." He created a Facebook group called "Nutley United." The group has an email account as well: NewUnitedNutley@gmail.com.
" I cannot take credit for anything but making a flyer and hoping for change," Cedona said.
Related article: Photojournalist Declan Intindola captured Sunday's Black Lives Matter march in this series of black and white photographs. Nutley Black Lives Matter March in Black and White
TAPinto Nutley's coverage of the Black Lives Matter rallies across the state, as well as our continuing coverage of BLM rallies in town, will appear in our Law and Justice section.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley, and is a member of the New Jersey Press Association. The Nutley Board of Commissioners first named TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' in 2019.