CAMDEN, NJ -- Steven Rodas, Editor of TAPinto Camden, spoke with Stephanie Willoughby about the recent protest held here in solidarity with George Floyd that has put the city in the national spotlight for both its peaceful nature and police participation.
Hundreds gathered in downtown Camden on Saturday, May 30, but what made this protest stand out from the thousands of other marches that sprang up across the nation was the active involvement of Camden’s police chief and several police officers who stood hand-in-hand with protestors and kneeled in solidarity.
Over the past decade, police reforms have been implemented in Camden, such as limiting ways in which police officers may use force and racial bias testing and training. The march has been widely commended, including public praise from Governor Murphy and President Obama. “People around the country are propping up Camden as somewhere that is what should be followed when it comes to these types of moments in our history,” Rodas said.
Organized by Yolanda Deaver, a city resident and small business owner, who told Rodas she had never organized a march before. TAPinto Camden interviewed Deaver, who said she was so moved and angry by the death of George Floyd, that she was originally intent on traveling to Minneapolis to protest, but family members expressed a fear for her safety. So instead, she decided to organize a demonstration locally in Camden.
After the march was announced on Facebook, one police officer reached out to Deaver and asked to join, which ultimately led to other officers participating, along with a lieutenant and the police chief himself, Joe Wysocki.
As a result of the march and the positive reaction to it, “there has been a sort of change in the conversation around what it means to protest,” said Rodas. “The officers marching alongside with the organizers has led to different conversations around the topic of police brutality.”
To read TAPinto Camden’s coverage of the original protest, go to: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/camden/articles/justice-for-george-floyd-police-march-alongside-hundreds-in-camden and to see TAPinto Camden’s profile on organizer Yolanda Deaver, visit: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/camden/sections/law-and-justice/articles/camden-salon-owner-sparks-protest-heard-round-the-nation-obama-included.