by ANDREW GARDA
An estimated 1,000 people marched peacefully through the streets of Montclair on Saturday, June 6, to call for accountability from local and national law-enforcement agencies in the wake of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery by police.
The rally and protest, titled “Black Lives Matter-Crack the Blue Wall” was organized by the Montclair Citizens for Equality and Fair Policing and the For The Peoples Foundation and led by activists Abraham Dickerson and Alexandria Kerr.
The organizations set up tables to register new voters, share information about governmental checks and balances, and explain why taking part in the census is vital to minorities.
The march began from Nishuane Park and wound its way to Montclair Police Department headquarters on Bloomfield Avenue, before moving down Bloomfield Avenue to finish at Crane Park.
At the MPD headquarters, marchers took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, representing the length of time during which Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck before he died on May 25.
The marchers were joined by Montclair Police Chief Todd M. Conforti and Deputy Chief Wil Young during the knee as well.
At Crane Park, multiple speakers took the stage, covering themes of accountability for the police, activists and allies, inclusion, such as making space for LGBTQIA people of color, and on how to keep the energy gathered on the street Saturday moving forward.
Even a brief but intense rainstorm didn’t douse the passion of the speakers, many of whom represented various historically black colleges and universities, and almost all of which were young black women. Mayor-elect Sean Spiller was the final speaker of the day before Dickerson let everyone go for the day.
While the crowd was large, the majority of the participants wore masks and practiced social distancing when possible, in order to protect against the COVID-19 epidemic.
For complete coverage, quotes and speeches from the speakers and the march, check out MontclairLocal.news and the print edition on Thursday, June 11.