“Black Lives Matter Rhode Island just wants a fair share for African Americans and people of color,” said Dantzler, noting that Pawtucket does not provide adequate education or jobs for non-white people. “Police brutality is on the top of the list.“
“We were in talks with McCoy Stadium for some time now,” said Mark Fisher, Senior Director of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island (BLM RI), standing on a stage outside the stadium. “And we were given the run around. We were black balled. We were stonewalled – time and time again – until we were dizzy. They passed us off to this one, they passed us off to that one, basically disrespecting me, our organization and the whole African American community in Pawtucket.
“They thought that there were going to be no repercussions and no consequences. Well, we’re here in front of their building, to let them know that just because their team is leaving, the anger that they have stoked and created for generations remains.”
BLM RI had planned to use McCoy Stadium for a “Unity Fest” – “a concert to bring the races together.”
McCoy Stadium management, said Fisher, “Did everything in their power to prevent that from happening. They acted like they wanted to be proactive in improving race relations, except their behavior displayed the exact opposite.”
Gary Dantzler, Executive Director of BLM RI, noted that his organization has sought an affiliation with McCoy Stadium and the Pawtucket Red Sox for years, but that relationship never went anywhere.
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BLM RI started their event outside the Pawtucket City Hall, where they had a speaking program, then they marched to McCoy Stadium, where they had another, shorter speaking program.
“Pawtucket is one of the founding members of white supremacy,” said Dantzler outside the Pawtucket City Hall, which shares its building the the Pawtucket Police Department. A police officer filmed the attendees of the event from a nearby window and their were several armed officers both at the event and across the street. Pawtucket police Chief Tina Goncalves was also present.
“Black Lives Matter Rhode Island just wants a fair share for African Americans and people of color,” said Dantzler, noting that Pawtucket does not provide adequate education or jobs for non-white people. “Police brutality is on the top of the list.”
Sondra Bagwell and her daughter spoke about the racism they received from the Pawtucket Police Department:
Ashley Stewart is an activist from nearby Attleboro who organized a Juneteenth celebration in her community:
An excellent history lesson in Pawtucket politics, with an important message about the need to change the makeup of the Pawtucket City Council:
Corey Jones, Political Director for the BLM RI PAC, centered his comments specifically on those killed by police in the City of Pawtucket:
Mark Fisher calls out the police presence at the event:
The march from Pawtucket City Hall to McCoy Stadium:
Taking a knee and a moment of silence: