STAFFORD — Approximately 2,500 people participated in Saturday’s “Black Lives Matter” march. The march was organized by Schneider Juste, Olivia Sattan and Laura Esposito, each Southern Regional High School graduates.
The event began at 10 a.m. on East Bay Avenue in Manahawkin. The meeting began with Juste, Sattan and Esposito leading in eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence in memory of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Schneider Juste gave the following speech about his life and the significance of Saturday's event.
A man carrying a "Defund the Police" shared what he meant by this below.
Volunteers directed the marchers onto the Causeway bridge while many driving by honked their horns loud. The crowd traveled over the bridge, and they continued demonstrating outside the Boatyard at Causeway Marina.
The marchers then walked back to the Manahawkin side of the bridge to conclude the successful event.
The protest was respectful and peaceful. The police stood by and many people thanked the police for their service while marching. Several people rallied to crowd to chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.”
There were many clergy attending the march. Nathan Didlake, Pastor of Manahawkin Baptist Church shared his thoughts on the rally.
There were hundreds of signs carried by the marchers. The Stafford Police reported that there were no counter protests or negative incidents. The Stafford Police released the following statement on their Facebook page Saturday afternoon:
Thank you everyone involved today making the peaceful march a huge success! We have no major incidents to report. Our local organizers worked incredibly well with our department, and all of the estimated 1500(+) marchers were respectful and genuine. To all of our law enforcement partners who assisted us today, a special thank you to you as well!!
Special congratulations must go out to Esposito, Sattan and Juste for organizing a great march and to the local community who rallied hoping to see change in our society.