“Say his name, George Floyd.”
“Say her name, Breonna Taylor.”
“Say his name, Ahmaud Arbery.”
These names, among others of innocent black lives taken at the hands of police in the U.S., rang throughout Main Street as thousands of peaceful protestors marched through Bay Shore on Sunday afternoon.
From 1 p.m. to around 3:30 p.m., protestors walked from the Dr. George S. King Park Gazebo to the Bay Shore Commons, back through Main Street, then to the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Library.
As they walked up and down the street, chants such as “No justice, no peace,” “Hands up, don’t shoot,” “Hey, hey, ho, ho, racist cops have got to go,” and “Black Lives Matter,” echoed through the downtown.
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Many cars passing by honked in support. Groups of families and friends showed up to hand out water bottles and snacks to protestors on the 75-degree day.
Some Bay Shore restaurants got involved in handing out water.
Tatiana Rosado, the protest’s organizer, said she was shocked by the number of people who showed up to protest racism and police brutality and show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Rosado said it was important to protest on a local level — and in Bay Shore specifically — because the Black Lives Matter movement hit home for her.
“My brother is a darker skin color than I am. I go on runs with my brother all the time, but what if one day he wants to go on one by himself? — You know what happened to the guy who got shot, he was just running in his neighborhood,” Rosado said.
She was referring to Ahmaud Arbery: a 25-year-old black man who was murdered by two armed white men while on a run in his neighborhood.
“I think people need to hear us and see that this is not okay,” she said.
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Alviera Thomas, one of the protestors, said she hoped others will understand that everyone is the same and no one should discriminate against another person because of their race.
“There is no need for us to pick a color, we are all one in God’s eyes,” Thomas said. “We just need to realize that we’ve been fighting like this for many years, and now people get it, what we’ve been going through, and we appreciate that.”
Toward the end of the protest, the crowd kneeled and laid on the ground outside of the library for eight minutes and 46 seconds: the amount of time Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed Floyd, dug his knee into Floyd’s neck, leaving Floyd unable to breathe.
Protestors shouted his last words as the time passed: “I can’t breathe”, “Mama,” “They’re going to kill me,” “Please.”
Speakers talked about the importance of educating oneself about voting, racial injustices, supporting black businesses, and understanding privilege.
One of the speakers, Savannah Beckford, took to the megaphone to promote her program, I Gotchu Fam, that is designed to match someone with a person who can help with Black Lives Matter resources, sexual assault survivors, LGBTQ+ issues, coronavirus information, unemployment assistance, and more.
Gregory Singer, the creator of PoeArtistry, made a speech emphasizing how life should be a protest.
He also touched on the significance of Bay Shore being a multicultural community and rallied the crowd with the cry: “You better be sure, you’re from Bay Shore.”
“If you live your life as inclusive, if you live your life as one as loving your fellow man, being able to sacrifice for your man, and seeing your fellow person from their hearts out instead of their skin in, you will know that you are living a grateful life,” Singer said. “Your self-esteem is the art of defining you.”
Rosado, as she sat on the shoulders of Singer and another protester, ended the event by thanking everyone for participating.
“We made history today.”
Scroll for more pictures from Sunday’s protest by Ana Borruto. Tap the number boxes below each set to view them all.