“God did not put us on this Earth to be murdered and Black lives have always mattered.“
Between 200 and 300 people gathered in Newport’s Miantonomi Memorial Park on Saturday in a rally for Black Lives. After a speaking program, organizers led a march to downtown Newport.
“We are just trying to get everyone together because obviously Newport can be very divided, and also for Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and a million other names,” said Makalah Chapman, who, with her sister Lanier Chapman, organized the rally/march/protest. “But really we want to be here for the community. We want our police officers to respect our children, we want our children to respect our police officers. We want to walk into restaurants without the – hesitation? Is that the word for it?
“I mean, I was a waitress in Newport for a long time so I knew that when people of color came in I would always get them. They would always sit them in my section and I didn’t really realize it until years later. It was weird, the bias.”
“We need our youth to be brought up where they are not being judged,” said Chapman.
UpriseRI: So I’m not from Newport. Where in Newport are we right now?
“They call it the north end,” said Chapman. “This is where the subsidized housing is. A lot of the people of color live out here.”
UpriseRI: This seems nice, from where I’m standing. This is a nice park, those are nice houses. Is that you’re experience here?
“No,” said Chapman, with a smile. “This is all new. I mean, I love it, they’re starting to show love to it, but I think gentrification is playing a big role.”
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UpriseRI: Why another protest in Newport? There was one just last week.
“I still feel that Newport hasn’t done anything. The protest last week was from Providence,” said Chapman. “Today’s event is Newport.”
Below is the video of the public speaking portion at Miantonomi Memorial Park.
“God did not put us on this Earth to be murdered and Black lives have always mattered,” said Lanier Chapman.
Newport City Councilmember Angela McCalla (Ward 1):
Newport Mayor Jamie Bova: