PLAINFIELD, NJ — As the nation protested for the twelfth day in a row, local Plainfielders gathered to hold a peaceful protest of their own. Some estimates put the number attending at a thousand. The event started at the park adjacent to the Plainfield Public Library and proceeded to City Hall, and adhering to recommendations, marchers were adorned with face masks.
Organized by the Plainfield Anti-Violence Coalition, Norman Deen Muhammad told TAPinto Plainfield that "the horrendous killing of George Floyd and manner in which it was done may have shocked the consciousness of the world," but he said it is the reality of being a black man or woman in America.
Saturday's protest began with a group of young people performing a “freedom dance” to a rhythmic chant at Library Park before the crowd moved towards City Hall.
Once there, speakers addressed the crowd in front of a poster adorned with “We Demand Justice for Black and Brown Lives” that included pictures and names of several victims of police brutality, with George Floyd's picture prominently displayed in the center.
There was a noticeable police presence, with most officers remaining on the sidelines, allowing the protesters to peacefully demonstrate.
Assemblywoman Linda Carter pledged that lawmakers would continue to look at the laws on the books that do not include African Americans, and urged the crowd to be counted in the 2020 Census so that resources could be deployed. She ended her comments by stressing that “we must stay together.”
"If your town doesn’t look like this crowd, but your court rooms are disproportionately black and brown, then you are a part of the problem," Councilwoman Ashley Davis said. "Out of town black and brown people should not be a source of income for anyone’s municipality. If you do not create polices that stop your officers from coming across the Plainfield border to harass our residents, then your protests are pointless. If we are still scared to ride through your towns a year from now, your moments of silence and your candlelight vigils were useless."
Davis added, "We will continue to keep this day peaceful and anyone who has anything different on their agenda has the wrong town on the wrong day because the people of Plainfield are better than that and will not stand for it. And if you’re not from Plainfield, you take the spirit of destruction to your own town."
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp also addressed the crowd, appealing for calm, and asking those present to not commit any acts of violence against the city and local businesses. Economic Development Director Valerie Jackson reached out to business owners on Friday, saying, "We anticipate that the protests will be peaceful. We advise that you properly secure your businesses and property at closing."
Mapp stressed his support for the local police officers and made reference to a recent incident currently being investigated, and the crowd drowned him out, yelling, “no justice, no peace."
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