'This is What Democracy Looks Like': Large Crowd Assembles for 'Black Lives Matter' March Through Summit

The 'Black Lives Matter' march moves past City Hall into Downtown Summit. Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit
Credits: Greg Elliott / TAPinto Summit

SUMMIT, NJ - The ongoing conversation about -- and struggle with -- the issue of race in America took to the streets of Downtown Summit as an estimated 400 - 500 people gathered for a 'Black Lives Matter' march through the Hilltop City.

The event was organized by a 20-member 'Black Lives Matter' team, led by Claudia Cohen from the Unitarian Church in Summit and the Reverend Vernon Williams of Fountain Baptist Church, and saw the group begin their journey at Christ Church, on the corner of Tulip Street and Springfield Avenue, and march down Springfield Avenue to the Unitarian Church at 4 Waldron Avenue.

Like the town they marched in, the group was diverse, featuring faces of many colors, people of all ages, and representing a variety of houses of worship. A high majority of those participating wore 'Black Lives Matter' T-Shirts.

Sign Up for E-News

Along the route, there were chants of 'Who's Street?... Our Street', 'The People United Will Never Be Defeated', and 'Show Me What Democracy Looks Like... THIS is What Democracy Looks Like'.

While the streets and sidewalks were virtually empty during the event, the group did get a round of applause from diners eating al fresco at Winberie's. Other onlookers took photos on their smartphones, while some simply stood by as the group passed. In sum, the mood was passionate but composed among those marching, with the Summit Police Department closing area streets to enable a safe and smooth path.

Reverend Emilie Boggis of the Unitarian Church, one of the leading voices that brought about the day, said that their congregation's involvement in matters of racial justice is a natural extension of previous socially-conscious initiatives, and a derivative of conversations that began within the Summit Interfaith Council.

"Our voice speaks our values - the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This movement is no different than when we took a stand to end the war in Iraq, or the efforts to assist women in Darfur refugee camps."

As to the question asked by many in the days preceding the event. 'Why hold the event in Summit?', a community with no overt or hot-button race issues, Boggis has a simple and straightforward answer.

"Why not Summit? Summit is unique, it is a diverse community with many groups and 18 houses of worship. There is an opportunity to have a conversation about race."

In April, The Unitarian congregation members voted unanimously to take a public stand to affirm that 'Black Lives Matter' after what the Church has termed "an extensive education and engagement process within the congregation and the surrounding community."

As stated on its website, 'Black Lives Matter' is a chapter-based national and international organization working for the validity of Black life. #BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin.

Unitarian Church members engaged with issues on race and privilege through the Church's Beloved Conversations curriculum, interfaith and multiracial Dialogue Circles in the Summit community, and several book discussions on the issue, including Ta’Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, and Debby Irving’s Waking Up White.

'Black Lives Matter' banners now adorn the facades of both the Unitarian and Fountain Baptist Churches.

Once the group reached the Unitarian Church, they heard myriad speakers, songs, and messages centered on a central theme -- racial justice is inherent human right, and that the journey to that aspiration still had many miles to go. Cohen, Unitarian Church member and organizer of the 'Black Lives Matter' initiative, said the goal was to "write a new chapter of our shared story."

Ellen Boylan, a Summit resident and Unitarian Church member, said, "we are all neighbors, all Americans, one human race."

Susan Hairston, a Fountain Baptist member, described herself as a "fourth, or maybe even fifth generation Summit Hilltopper." Hairston described how Summit is a microcosm of America, with "both pockets of power and privilege and powerlessness and underprivileged." Hairston went on to say that former is "not a bad thing, but that is dependent on how the power is understood, used and experienced."

The Reverend Michael J. Sanders of Fountain Baptist said that, "in the Land of The Free and Home of the Brave, something is missing," and said that the racial divide means many Americans see minorities' "desire to be treated fair as being treated as special."

Unitarian Church Reverend Robin Tanner, currently in Charlotte, NC -- the latest site of racial unrest in the country -- sent an e-mail that Boggis read. In it, she challenged all to "go beyond the banner," and turn their aspirations into action.

Prior to concluding the event, the crowd joined hands and sang We Shall Overcome, hoping the harmony of their voices serves as metaphorical inspiration for the society they all inhabit.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Summit

Police and Firefighters Must Manage their Own Pension Systems

March 23, 2017

The people of New Jersey need to hear the facts as to why Police and Fire labor leaders in New Jersey are pursuing a separation of the Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) from State control.

With all due respect to the current administration, and their predecessors, there has been much said that does not fit the facts and, unfortunately, little acceptance of responsibility for the current ...

Uniquely Qualified To Serve As Summit’s Next At Large Council Member

March 22, 2017

My name is David Dietze, and I seek your support to become the next At Large Common Council member.  

Many ask why I am running. As the current President of Summit’s Board of Education, a small business owner, husband, and father, I may have one of the hardest jobs in Summit.   However, it is an honor to serve the City that I love.  I am uniquely qualified.

A NJ ...

I'll Always Do What's Best for Summit

Dear Neighbor,

My name is Mike Wattick and I’m running for the Summit Common Council seat in Ward II. For the last seventeen years, my wife Pamela and I have been fortunate to call Summit home. I’m excited about the opportunity to add a fresh voice to local government. I am a Republican, but as Fiorello LaGuardia said, “There’s no Democratic or Republican way ...

Summit Fire Department Blotter

2/1/2017 at 1041 hrs. - FD responded a MORRIS AVENUE apartment complex on a report of an activated commercial fire alarm. On arrival the building was being evacuated with nothing showing. FD investigated and found the cause for the fire alarm was due to unattended cooking in the microwave oven.

2/1/2017 at 1623 hrs. - FD responded to a HOBART AVENUE residence  on a report ...

Summit Police Blotter

March 22, 2017

03/10 - Nicholas J. DiFrancesco, 19, of South Plainfield was arrested for possession of a false document as proof of identification. Mr. DiFrancesco was released with a pending court date.

03/13 - Ingrid Correal-Pineros, 28, of Summit was arrested for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. Ms. Correal-Pineros was released with a pending court date.

03/13 - Leroy E.

Video: Dietze Talks Manufacturing Stocks on CNBC From Floor of NYSE

March 28, 2017

Point View's Wealth Management's Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live from the floor of the NY Stock Exchange on CNBC's Closing Bell considering if manufacturing stocks have moved too far on hopes for Trump's growth agenda:

video.cnbc.com/

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing ...

The Connection’s Early Bird Camp Prices End April 1!

Summer is quickly approaching, don’t miss your opportunity to sign up early for Summer Camp at The Connection and SAVE! Early Bird Pricing ends April 1 – this special allows families to save up to $50 a week!  Sign up for a full day or half day; camp begins on June 26 and runs through August 25. This year campers will enjoy endless summer fun with activities including performing ...

Buying or Selling? -- Here's What You Need to Know

With 2016 in our rear view mirror, we can now see that the fall market leading up to the 2016 presidential election was a relatively quiet time for Summit real estate. Buyers were out kicking the tires but they were cautious to proceed with purchases.

In 2016, Summit had 311 residential sales as compared to 282 for 2015. The average days on market for listings that sold for 2016 was ...

Buy Bonds Now?

Investors have turned fearful of bonds and bond funds. The Federal Reserve is poised to raise rates this week for the third time in 15 months. The Fed itself and investors generally forecast least two more hikes this year. Why buy bonds now?

Bonds are the ultimate hedge on a stock portfolio. Given that stock valuations are stretched and optimism high, this is not the time to exit fixed income, ...

Ain't That Grand?

Native Daughter of Summit and Longtime Employee Takes on Elevated Role at Historic Hotel

The Grand Summit Hotel has long played host to the room accommodation needs of wedding, bar mitzvah, and other social gatherings from guests attending events at the area’s many fine catering venues.

It is no secret that a hotel is a preferred venue for large social events when considering the lodging component under the same roof, offering the guest the convenience of a good ...

The Floor Plan

There's an App for That - Cove's Digital 'Stainfighter'

Clean-Up on Aisle...!

We have all been there, spills happen and are a fact of life.

Don't distress ... You don't need a 'bat phone', signal for The Green Hornet, or check the cloak closet to see if Clark Kent is changing into his tights and cape as he morphs into his alter-ego.

When a 'Stain Emergency' occurs, the Cove Carpet One Floor ...

Students At Franklin School Get The Chance To Share Their Cultures

Spicy, sweet, salty, different aromas of pretty much anything you can imagine fill the air. Colorful arrays of food coat the cafeteria tables. Stews bubble in metal pots, while breads get lined up in parallel rows. Meanwhile, the third graders at Franklin elementary school are preparing for a special treat, a concert! The Franklin third graders understand everyones different. Each year Franklin ...

Tip #3 - Instagram Updates

Instagram Story Updates: You are now able to add a location, temperature, or time to your story, as well as custom Instagram stickers and Emojis, accessed in the new sticker section in the top right corner of the story screen. In the newest update, the size of text and thickness of marker/draw tool are all adjustable via the first icon listed before the text color option. There is also ...

In Your Community

Atlantic Health System Joins American Cancer Society in Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Atlantic Health System (AHS), a leading health care delivery network, announced today the organization’s commitment to increase colorectal cancer screening in New Jersey by joining "80 percent by 2018" - a national effort of the American Cancer Society in the fight against the disease. 

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.

Snow Blows

There is nothing quite so blissful as a snow day.  

 

The quiet beauty of gently falling flakes swiftly accumulating on the trees and lawns and roadways preventing any sort of travel to work.   Those two magic words:  School Closure.  Knowing that all there is to do is look out the window from your warm house and watch the clean cold blanket of winter stop all ...