PISCATAWAY, NJ — Tributes to the memories of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor continued in Piscataway this weekend as more than one thousand residents and supporters marched in protest against police brutality, sending the message that Black lives matter.
“Everyone is coming together so our voices can be heard,” said protest organizer, LaNiya Miller, a 2018 PHS alum and basketball standout.
Members of the Piscataway Police Department and Township Council took a knee with protesters for eight minutes and 46 seconds on Sunday, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck, killing him.
“It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than everybody here, it’s bigger than Piscataway, it’s bigger than New Jersey,” said Miller, now a nursing student at Wagner College where she continues to play basketball. “It’s about us having all of our voices heard across the world for our Black kings and queens against police brutality.”
Sunday’s afternoon march from the main parking lot at Piscataway High School to the police station off Route 18/Hoes Lane followed a vigil last week at nearby Green Acres Park where religious and civic leaders denounced racism and called for justice for Black Americans like Floyd and Taylor who lost their lives at the hands of police.
“I’m fighting for my neighbors, my brothers, my dad, my uncles, just like everyone here,” Miller told the crowd, just before the march began. “This is not just for this generation, but for the generations that come.”
Supporters also addressed the crowd, demanding change in support of Black Americans despite cultural and racial differences, saying everyone can do better.
“We need change. It’s time for change,” said one marcher along the route against the backdrop of multi-national businesses, Johnson & Johnson and IEEE. “Change starts with you and with me. Kids aren’t born racists. Racism is learned.”
“It’s fantastic to see what Piscataway has to offer, that we all come together in support of a cause,” police chief, Thomas Mosier told the crowd in front of the Public Safety Building where the rally continued.
“I for one, along with Captain Morrison and every member of the Piscataway Police Department know that Black lives matter,” Mosier said in response to a protester’s request for his comment on police brutality. “As we enforce the law, color does not matter here in Piscataway. We are a professional organization. As the chief of police, I will never allow that to happen.”
Another protester called for civilian oversight of the police as a way to give assurances to the community that the police will be held accountable for their actions.
“Until I hear actionable items and I know what we’re going to do in the local community, I will not rest, and nobody should rest, because this is never over,” he said.
“This protest does not need to go in vain,” said Selena DeRiggs a local businesswoman who challenged the crowd to invest in capital to grow generational wealth within the Black community. “I feel like people just show up, but they don’t understand how we can be the solution. People need to work on getting a seat at the table. It’s our responsibility to create the change. It starts with us.”
TAPinto is free and published daily made possible through sponsorships and advertising. Get Your Town's News in Your Inbox: Click Here to sign up. Contact email@example.com for sponsorship and advertising information.