“We’ve been silent for so long, as African Americans in this country. We’ve been the punching bags, and it’s unfortunate. We have to fix this problem. We are dying out here. We don’t want to die no more. I want to go home to my family. I want to be a man. I want to make Newport a lot better.“
Black Lives Matter Rhode Island (BLM RI) organized a march and a protest in Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday against police violence and for justice murder of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis. Floyd was killed by police officers, one of whom placed his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds as he begged to breathe, and for his life.
The crowd numbered in the thousands as the march paused outside the Newport Police Station and the Court House. After the march, there was a speaking program at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Community Center.
“I have a few things to say about Newport,” said organizer Gary Dantzler, known as Brother Gary, who leads BLM RI. “You guys run a great town. I love Newport. One thing about Black Lives Matter Rhode Island: We’re not going to tear up, we’re not going to riot, we’re going to have a great demonstration.
“We want to talk about what can make us better people in the world. We have to be accountable,” continued Dantzler. “That means you, my Caucasian brothers and sisters. I love you all.
“Black people, you are beautiful… I’m Black and I’m proud.
“We’ve been silent for so long, as African Americans in this country. We’ve been the punching bags, and it’s unfortunate. We have to fix this problem. We are dying out here. We don’t want to die no more. I want to go home to my family. I want to be a man. I want to make Newport a lot better.”
Below is video and pictures from the protest, starting at the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Community Center:
The march to the Police Station:
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At the Police Station:
Pastor Carl Jefferson:
At the Florence K Murray Judicial Complex:
At the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Community Center:
New port Mayor Jamie Bova:
Niko Merritt, founder of Sankofa Community Connection in Newport. Sankofa’s mission is “to increase pride of place within the African American Community of Newport County , through a community-led initiative with 3 main focus areas: 1. Community events and gatherings to increase our social cohesion 2. Community Meetings where we discuss the impact of institutional racism, racial oppression to provoke dialogue and solutions to the issues 3. Historical Education to reveal, honor and celebrate the cultural heritage of African Americans of early Newport.”
Pastor Carl Jefferson closed out the day:
Note: Black Lives Matter Rhode Island is not affiliated with the Black Lives Matter national organization.