Bay Ridge hosts one of its biggest Black Lives Matter marches

June 8, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Bay Ridge hosts one of its biggest Black Lives Matter marches
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Bay Ridge hosted one of its biggest marches for the Black Lives Matter movement and in memory of George Floyd.

On Sunday, June 7, the Bay Ridge Coalition, along with other groups, hosted the Bay Ridge for Black Lives march and rally.

At 1 p.m., hundreds of people gathered at the southwest corner of Owl’s Head Park, 68th Street and Shore Road,

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Other participating groups included the Arab American Association of New York, DSA Afrosocialists, Yalla Brooklyn, Union of Arab Women and Fight Back Bay Ridge.

Photo courtesy of Amy Tse

Bay Ridge resident Juan Sosa, a teacher at the High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology (HSTAT), discussed the march and was proud of the community for showing solidarity and fighting for the movement.

“This was the first march I’ve ever attended in Bay Ridge,” he said. “The march was well organized. I particularly appreciated Linda Sarsour’s leadership and the coalition that was created with [different] organizations to make it happen. She made it clear that she demanded the police to let us march without much presence. That made me feel safe and supported.  I didn’t feel the need to write a number of a legal aid or my emergency contact number on my arm as I did when I attended other marches and rallies this past week. I have to admit that outside of my HSTAT school community, this was the first time I felt I was a part of a community as a Bay Ridge resident. The people that showed up did so in the real spirit of solidarity. I genuinely felt it.”

Attendee Amy Tse also talked about the importance of the day.

“So proud of the turnout, enthusiasm and solidarity South Brooklyn demonstrated this afternoon,” she said. “Bay Ridge is home for many law enforcement officers and the support was palpable.”

She also told this paper about the representation of people of color in the march.

Photo courtesy of Juan Soto

“As we were lining up by Owl’s Head and about to start the march, the organizers asked for POC to come up to the front and lead the rest of us, which I thought was really powerful and demonstrated the value in providing visibility as well as agency to the marginalized,” she explained, adding the police did a good job protecting the protesters. “There was minimal NYPD presence, as requested by the organizers, and it was very peaceful. At one point, a driver trying to turn onto Shore Road became impatient and was starting to inch his way towards the line of marchers. Immediately at least 4-5 officers intervened, preventing him from getting any closer. Overall, we were met with such enthusiasm from those who live in the neighborhood. A man came out passing water to the marchers. It was a great afternoon in Bay Ridge. The number of supporters may not have been as high as other parts of the borough or city, but as I had alluded to, it has special significance.”

“These are my neighbors in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn marching for Black lives today,” tweeted political activist Linda Sarsour.“We have come a long way & we are not going back.”

Elected officials also spoke about the event.

“People and families of all colors coming out in peaceful protest to stand up for what’s right. It’s really that simple,” Councilmember Justin Brannan tweeted. “I am lucky to represent this great community. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Photo courtesy of Juan Soto

“Today, we saw unprecedented peaceful marches in Bay Ridge and on the South Shore of Staten Island,” added U.S. Rep. Max Rose. “What should inspire all of us is that they continue to be led by young people. Change isn’t coming, it’s here. To those who marched, I hear you, and although I couldn’t be there today, I will carry your voices to DC. Don’t rest. Hold us accountable and this November: vote!”

“Really great photos and video of a massive demonstration in Bay Ridge today,” wrote Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus “Proud of everyone that put it together and attended. Sorry I couldn’t join as duty called but I stand in solidarity as always.”

During the march, technicians and staff from the NYC Health System COVID-19 testing site in Bay Ridge came out to stand in solidarity with the protesters.

Photo courtesy of Amy Tse

“During the intro to the march at the park, the organizers took turns addressing us,” added Sosa. “They advocated and of course asked that we all wear masks, and also provided masks on site, a few of the people helping out had masks all through the march. So, it was particularly powerful when we turned on 86th and 5th Ave. and a group of medical staff/essential workers came out, applauded and a couple of them had signs too. We all cheered even louder. It was a mutual moment of solidarity and respect. They were cheering for us and we were cheering for them. Additionally, along the way, a large number of cars driving by were honking in support and some of the passengers even had [Black Lives Matter] posters out and ready to show their support while honking in solidarity.”

Photo courtesy of Amy Tse

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