JERSEY CITY — When Bri’Che Lynn saw the video of the killing of George Floyd, she cried. But on Monday, she wiped her tears and instead walked in solidarity with her people, she said.
Lynn was one of the hundreds who protested the death of Floyd in Jersey City Monday afternoon. With signs, loud chants and skin colors of all kinds, each rally member showed they had one goal in mind: justice for the black community.
“It’s traumatizing to have to so frequently see people who look exactly like me being slaughtered in the street,” said Lynn, a Jersey City resident.
On May 25, Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police in Powderburn, a neighborhood south of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A cell phone video shows an officer kept one knee on the side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as the man said, “I can’t breathe.”
It all started with a fake $20 bill that Floyd allegedly tried to use at a deli, according to the New York Times. Minnesota police claim Floyd resisted the arrest, but according to CNN, survelliance footage from a nearby restaurant contradicts the officers claims.
For Alecia Mable, she said she can’t help but think about her family members.
“Every time I see George Floyd I see my brother’s face, I see my dad’s face,” Mable said. “It can be anybody.”
Mable, who lives nearly 50-minutes away in Bloomingdale, said she came down to the city just for the protest, and that she’ll continue participating in marches until it provokes a change.
Evidence shows four Minneapolis officers were involved in Floyd’s arrest. All four were fired, but only one officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Demonstrations and some protests-turned-to-riots sparked across the country a day after the viral video. Thousands — including a number of celebrities and popular brands — have also taken to social media to share donation links, petitions and useful phone numbers in case a protestor gets arrested.
And of the thousands, it’s not just the black community speaking up, but a number of non-black communities as well.
“It’s been far too long,” Tito Holguin said. “We’ve come to a point where people just can’t take it anymore.”
Holguin, of Union City, said Monday’s protest was exactly what the community needs right now. The 26-year-old marched with an American flag that had hashtags like “#JusticeForFloyd” and “#NoJusticeNOPEACE” hand-written on the white lines.
“No justice, no peace!”
Those were some of the chants protestors shouted as they marched from Berry Lane Park to the South District precinct on Bergen Avenue.
The names are other black Americans who were also senselessly killed: Garner died in New York in 2014, a similar situation to Floyd; Taylor died in March in Louisville, Kentucky after police barged into her home and shot her eight times; Arbery died in February in Brunswick, Georgia after being shot down by two pursuants while he went jogging; Martin, who was walking alone, died in 2012 in Florida after an altercation with a community watch member.
Rally organizer Nevin Perkins repeatedly told Jersey City’s crowd on Monday that the protest is not meant to incite violence, but instead demand the same peace and justice be given to the black community.
City officials including Public Director James Shea and Councilman At-Large Rolando Lavarro Jr. were also present. Some police of the South District precinct stood in a line outside the station wearing riot gear as a barricade separated protestors and law enforcement.
Perkins and other speakers at the rally, including Jersey City Anti-Violence Coalition Executive Director Pamela Johnson, were allowed outside of the barricades and near police as they spoke to the crowd. Perkins thanked the officers for their cooperation.
But Lynn and Mable said they wished law enforcement stood with them on the other side of the barricade.
“They’re not taking a knee, they’re not saying much of anything,” Lynn said. “They’re just standing around with binoculars like they’re waiting to take someone out if they do something.”
“I just wish the police officers were not really looking like they’re ready for a fight but instead standing with us,” Mable added. “And speaking on our behalf, letting us know that they know that what those other cops did were wrong.”
Protests are set to continue through the county:
June 2, 5-6 p.m., Boulevard East, Weehawken – A silent vigil will be held.
June 2, 6 p.m., Newark Avenue Pedestrian Mall, Jersey City – Participants will meet City Hall then march to the pedestrian plaza for an eight-minute moment of silence.
June 5, 1 p.m., Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken
June 6, 4-9 p.m., outside City Hall, 280 Grove St., Jersey City
All photos were taken by Adrienne J. Romero. For more photos of the protest click here.