Authors Posts by David Luces

David Luces

Avatar
225 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

by -
0 46
Elementary school Principal Tom Meehan is set to retire at the end of the year. Photo from PJSD

Tom Meehan, current Edna Louise Spear Elementary School principal whose education career spans over 40 years, has announced he will retire in December. 

Meehan, who originally retired in 2006 from the Middle Country School District, came back to work at the Port Jeff elementary school during the 2011-2012 school year initially on an interim basis. Later that year it was changed to a permanent position. 

“I thought I was going to be filling in for a couple of weeks, almost 10 years later I’m still here,” he said, jokingly. “I couldn’t have been happier with how these past few years have gone; it’s been great.”

The educator said deciding to retire again was a tough decision for him. He hopes students will be able to come back to the building during his last few months on the job.

“It broke my heart not being able to see the students these past months,” he said. “I like being in the hallways talking to them and just seeing their excitement.”

Meehan has a long history in Port Jefferson. He has raised his family in the village, he graduated from Port Jefferson High School and is an elected commissioner of the Port Jefferson Fire District.

“It’s a great community, I’m proud to be from Port Jeff,” he said. “I’ve gotten to know a lot of families in the district. I’ve coached some of their kids in baseball. It is nice seeing them grow up here,” he said. 

The elementary school principal was often seen walking to school every morning, and said he enjoyed being spotted by students who saw him making the trek to work in his suit and hiking boots. 

For his dedication to Port Jefferson’s students and the greater community, Meehan was chosen as a TBR News Media Person of the Year in 2015. 

The district hasn’t officially announced a successor, though Meehan said he believes Assistant Principal Amy Laverty would be a great choice for the job. 

“She would make an excellent principal,” he said. 

Meehan said he will miss the students and his staff he has gotten to know over the years. In retirement, he is looking forward to going on more hikes and spending more time with his grandchildren and family. 

“I want to thank the district and community for the opportunity to do this job. It is hard to walk away,” he said. 

Northport Middle School has been deemed safe to reopen. Photo from Northport-East Northport Union Free School District

Following the release of Bohemia-based P.W Grosser Consulting’s environmental report on Northport Middle School that deemed the building safe to reopen, district officials addressed questions from parents and community members at a virtual forum June 25.

District officials hope that the over-three-hour meeting, which had a lengthy question-and-answer portion, is the first step in reassuring the community as remediation work continues to take place at the middle school.

PWGC senior project manager, Jennifer Lewis, said that the district should prepare a management plan to deal with the arsenic found in soils within the track field. The firm recommended that the district should do routine maintenance of the HVAC system, conduct sanitization of roof drains and have a roofing contractor inspect the roof drains to determine if they are properly sealed.

In addition, the firm asked for the district to seal the sanitary system and remove gas tanks from the school. The district has already begun some of the remediation work including moving school buses off campus to another location on Brightside Avenue.

“‘Safe to occupy’ is our collective opinion based on our investigation of the site,” Lewis said. “We did not identify a concern with a path of exposure that would render the building unsafe for students or staff to occupy. As long as the ongoing maintenance and remediations mentioned continue, we do consider this matter to be resolved.”

Trustee members praised PWGC for its work.

“There were a lot of dots that needed to be connected in terms of previous studies, to have a clear narrative of examples of the environmental conditions at the school,” said trustee Larry Licopoli. 

“This study addressed the whole picture in a way that wasn’t done before,” he said.

Parents and community members asked PWGC if the problems found at the school could have caused previous ailments children and staff faced over the years.

The environmental firm couldn’t give a definitive answer.

“We can’t say in the past this wasn’t making them sick — we can’t recreate the past,” said PWGC project manager Heather Moran-Botta.

Moran-Botta reiterated that the firm is confident that the school is safe.

“We can only say, based on what we are seeing now, the building is safe for occupancy,” she said.

Trustee members will vote to approve all recommendations at a July 9 board meeting.

Though Many Still Prefer Safety of Outdoors

Tommy Marzano, a co-owner of Faradays of Smithtown, said more people prefer eating outside than in. Photo from Google maps

With Long Island entering Phase 3 of reopening, businesses are looking to bounce back and recover from the shutdown. Restaurant owners are hoping to take advantage of the addition of indoor dining during the summer months. Here’s how owners reacted to the first week of Phase 3. 

The Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce reminded residents their stores are open for Phase Two after a chamber meeting June 16. Photo by Joan Nickeson

“It has been going really smooth really, better than I expected,” said Indu Kaur, director of operations of The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station. 

At the family’s newest restaurant, SaGhar, on East Broadway in Port Jeff, the rooftop floor and patio has been very busy. Kaur said they plan on accommodating patrons who want indoor seating in the front room of the restaurant that is facing the water. The Curry Club, which the family also runs in Setauket, currently offers outdoor seating at its patio and will have limited indoor seating. 

“We will keep them six feet apart, there will be different entrances and exits for outdoor and indoor seating,” Kaur said. “For outdoor seating you will go down different staircases when you enter and leave. Also, we’ve placed hand sanitizers throughout the building.”

Kaur said they have gotten good feedback from customers on the outdoor dining layout at SaGhar. 

“They’ve told us they like the overall ambiance, the decoration of space and are enjoying the outdoor entertainment we are providing,” she said. “Business has started to come back.”

With the start of summer and the upcoming Fourth of July weekend, Kaur said they will look to possibly increase tables with the influx of people venturing into the village. In addition, they are in the process of training 20 new employees to add to the staff they already have. 

“We will try to accommodate walk-in customers as much as possible, but we advise to make a reservation,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and feels comfortable.” 

Charlie Lefkowitz, president of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce, said business owners in the area are “cautiously optimistic” about the current and next stages of reopening. They’re hoping that they can return to normal business operations soon. 

“There has been a lot of burden put on these businesses; restaurants and retail stores have had to contend with reduced volume of sales, capacity and selling space,” Lefkowitz said. 

The chamber president added that while take-out orders helped bring in funds for restaurants, outdoor/indoor dining options will allow for these establishments to bounce back. He added that the chamber will continue to assist businesses in any way it can and help them navigate and understand Phase 4. 

“They are excited for the summer months and are looking forward to the business it could bring,” he said. 

Lefkowitz said he thinks post-COVID we will see outdoor seating and retail space during the spring and summer time. 

“I think it’s something every municipality on Long Island should consider, from what we’ve heard if given the choice, people have preferred outdoor seating,” he said. 

Tommy Marzano, co-owner of Faradays in Smithtown, said customers have been apprehensive about eating indoors with the majority of them preferring the restaurant’s outdoor seating.

“They prefer being outside — some of them don’t want nothing to do with being indoors even if everyone is six feet apart,” he said.

Marazano is hopeful that customers will eventually become more comfortable eating indoors again, though he acknowledged it could be a problem in the fall/winters months if COVID is still around and outdoor dining is not an option. He said takeout and delivery options could come back into play for restaurants.

Nonetheless, the feedback from customers has been positive, many raving about the restaurant’s garden and patio area.

“They are happy to have some bit of normalcy and be able to have a dining experience again,” he said. “We’ve had people tell us that this was the first place they wanted to go eat out, it means a lot that the community wants us to succeed.”

Sports Leagues/Recreational Sports for Phase 3
Shoreham-Wading River senior mid-fielder Elizabeth Shields out maneuvers a defender at home against John Glenn. Photo by Bill Landon

Beginning July 6, certain youth and recreation sports will be allowed to restart on Long Island. 

Baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, cross-country, soccer, noncontact lacrosse, doubles tennis, rafting, paintball, water polo and swimming will be allowed to begin games and competitions. 

Here is a list of youth sports leagues and facilities on the North Shore that will restart during July: 

Baseball/Softball 

• The Town of Brookhaven Baseball is tentatively set to begin its summer season on July 13. the 2020 Varsity Wood Bat Tournament in Brookhaven will run July 8-12.

• The Town of Brookhaven Fastpitch Softball League will commence its summer season in July. 

• The Three Village Youth Baseball and Softball League will start its season July 8. 

• North Shore Little League will not have a summer season, but its fall season will begin Aug. 15 and continue through the middle of October. 

• The Town of Brookhaven Adult Softball Slowpitch League will open beginning Sun July 12 and play through October. There will be no separate fall ball season. 

• St. James/Smithtown Little League will begin practicing July 6 and a soft opening day will be held July 11. The baseball/softball season will run July 13-29. 

• Huntington Tri-Village Little League will resume games July 25 with the season ending in late October

Soccer 

• Brookhaven Youth Soccer League will begin its season July 18 and last until Aug. 22. 

Tennis 

• Port Jefferson Country Club at Harbor Hills tennis courts are open to play. 

• The Town of Brookhaven’s pickleball/tennis courts located at 286 Hawkins Road, Centereach, are open. At this time, the courts will only be opened to Brookhaven residents.

• Huntington Town tennis courts are open to residents and the public. 

• The Suffolk County Junior Tennis League in Smithtown will begin summer matches from July 13 to Aug. 20. 

Victoria Fitzpatrick

Phase 3 in Suffolk County is finally here! Effective June 24, it allows for larger gatherings of people, indoor dining at restaurants and the opening of more personal care businesses like nail salons with restrictions for safety. We sent our star reporter David Luces out on the streets of Port Jefferson last Friday to find out what the community is looking forward to the most as we move forward. 

Victoria Fitzpatrick

Victoria Fitzpatrick, Port Jefferson 

Indoor dining is something I missed. Anything seafood or outdoors is top of the notch [for me]. If I see you’re abiding by the rules and doing what you’re supposed to be doing as a restaurant owner, then I will go in. I need to get some lobsters — there’s a place on the South Shore that I go to. 

I would go back to the salon, as long as they’re doing the right thing. If they’re not doing the right thing I’m walking out. I’m a healthcare worker and I’m worried about the second wave.

Anthony Squitire

Anthony Squitire, Centereach 

I’ve been getting by just with takeout, but I will definitely consider going back to dine in at a restaurant once they reopen. I know museums are in Phase 4, but I would really like to go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the city — it’s been like two years since I’ve been there.

Tom Adams

Tom Adams, Shoreham

I’m looking forward to being able to go out to dinner again. I miss going to Orto in Miller Place; I like having their linguine with white clams.  I also miss playing tennis and playing doubles matches. I usually play a lot with my friends in Shoreham Village. Right now, we can only play single matches only.

Michael Innace

Michael Innace, Holbrook 

I wouldn’t mind going back to some of the indoor dining. I see some of the places here have all the servers, workers wearing masks. I know my wife is erring on the side of caution through all of this, so she has no interest in going out to eat. So, I probably won’t be dining out just because she doesn’t really want to. 

Nail salons is another thing that she is putting on hold until she feels safe to go back. I think even after Phase 4 people are still going to act cautiously. I think there are going to be residual effects.

Joan Roehrig

Joan Roehrig, Setauket

We did outdoor dining a few days ago, it just felt so good to be outside and sit around. I would probably want to dine in as well. 

I’m not in a hurry to go back to the nail salon. I’m not sure if I’m comfortable going back right now. I’m definitely interested in getting my nails and hair done, but I’m in a wait and see mode; I’m not ready to dive in. If I saw that they were taking the proper safety precautions, I might go in.

Nora F.

Nora F., Port Jefferson

I’ve missed indoor dining. It’ll be a good time to go out with friends again. I’m looking forward to going back to Pasta Pasta; they just have great dishes. My daughter’s baby shower is July 12, so when I first heard that they’re opening up indoor dining, I was hopeful it will still be able to happen. Also, just being able to get my nails and hair done will be nice.

All photos by David Luces

 

by -
0 460
Village Coffee Market in Stony Brook offers a new coffee blend for customers to buy for frontline workers. Photo by David Luces

Local businesses have begun to reopen and continue on their path to recovery, though it hasn’t stopped owners to continue efforts to give back to hospital workers, first responders and residents in need.

Village Coffee Market’s “Here Comes the Sun” blend to show support for health care workers. Photo by David Luces

For Gary Contes, co-owner of Village Coffee Market in Stony Brook, there’s a deeper meaning to his coffee-blend-pack donations to hospital workers. He created a special blend of coffee called “Here Comes the Sun,” named after the Beatles song that is played throughout the halls when COVID-19 patients leave Stony Brook University Hospital.

“For patients, the song means a new beginning, a new day, and it’s just a sense of optimism they get,” Contes said. “So, I kind of wanted to share that same feeling with the hospital workers with this blend.”

The owner said individuals can purchase a 12-pack of the special blend for $7.50, though the catch is that they don’t get the coffee, the frontline workers do. Contes then donates the packs and makes deliveries to workers at Stony Brook Hospital and other health care facilities.

Contes said the “Here Comes the Sun” coffee is a medium roast that has a slight smoky taste to it and a “nice full body flavor.”

“I wanted to come up with a great tasting coffee which would appeal to anyone,” he added. “Everyone that buys a box, they get to write a message that will be seen by the workers who open up the box. This is our special way of saying thanks to them for all they do.”

So far Contes has donated more than 220 boxes and hopes to make it to 1,000 in the coming months.

“All our customers have been eager to participate,” he said. “It’s always very touching when we go out to deliver. Recently, we had one of the workers start to cry when she saw the boxes of coffee. My wife is a nurse, and I have other family members in the health care field, so, this means a lot to me. As a businessman who is struggling right now, if it steers people to come here and buy coffee for themselves, I would be thrilled, but if given the choice and they had to buy one item, buy a box of ‘Here Comes The Sun.’”

Bagel Express in Setauket sells signs to show support for essential workers and uses the profits to donate meals to local hospitals. Photo from David Prestia

David Prestia, owner of Bagel Express in Setauket, has been donating meals to Mather, St. Charles and Stony Brook University hospitals for the last few months but also was suffering businesswise from the shutdown. He then came up with an idea that would get customers and the community involved.

“Our customers wanted to pitch in and help the first responders,” he said. “That’s when we came up with the sign idea.”

Prestia began selling support signs for frontline workers. The signs cost $20 with the funds going toward sending food to local hospitals and first responders. Customers are encouraged to display their signs outside their homes. He said Decal Designs Mobile only charged $5 each to have the signs made, and Michael Ardolino, founder and owner-broker of Realty Connect USA, donated funds to offset the cost.

Prestia has already sold more than 400 of the signs.

“The community got really involved and wanted to donate,” the business owner said. “It is great to spread awareness and give those workers thanks. It’s amazing how many of our signs we see in the area. It is wonderful to see. I’ve been here for 30 years and it is great to see the community coming together.”

Residents have been doing their part to help those in need during the pandemic as well.

Jake Shangold

Jake Shangold, a Ward Melville High School senior, has been raising money for Island Harvest food bank by starting a virtual food drive, www.fooddriveonline.org/islandharvest/jake.

Shangold began handing out flyers in the community and promoted the food drive on social media. He was able to raise $3,000 to help those in need of meals. With the money raised, Island Harvest will be able to provide 6,000 meals.

“I wanted to help people in need, especially with what’s going on with the pandemic,” he said. “I was very happy I was able to raise so much money, and I hope to continue doing these food drives in the future.”

Know of a Three Village business or resident doing good in the community? If so, email [email protected] to let us know.

Stock photo

Numbers included are from those who went to the polls Tuesday and those who voted early. Due to the abundance of absentee ballots requested by Long Islanders a final tally of votes won’t be completed until July 1.

So far, results have shown close primaries for Democrats in both the U.S. District 1 Congressional seat and for the New York State Senate District 1 position. Perry Gershon leads for the congressional position with just 166 votes over the person currently in second place Nancy Goroff.

Laura Ahearn leads the pack of Dems with a total of 2,360 votes, a little more than 200 than the person in second place, Valerie Cartright.

Other races are not so close. U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY-3) leads with over 20 percent more than the next candidate.

Laura Jens-Smith has a near 50 point lead over fellow Democrat William Schleisner, with both seeking the New York State Assembly District 2 seat held by Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk).

U.S. Congress – 1st District (Democratic)

Perry Gershon – 33.5% – 5,166 votes

Nancy Goroff – 34.37% – 5,002 votes

Bridget Fleming – 27.91% – 4,062 votes

Gregory Fischer – 2.21% – 322 votes

U.S. Congress – 3rd District (Democratic)

Thomas Suozzi – 58.93% – 8,374 votes

Melanie D’Arrigo – 32.7% – 4,646 votes

Michael Weinstock – 8.37% – 1,189 votes

New York State Senator – 1st District (Democratic)

Laura Ahearn – 31.08% – 2,360 votes

Valerie Cartright – 27.92% – 2,120 votes

Thomas Schiavoni – 23.86% – 1,812 votes

Skyler Johnson – 12.45% – 945 votes

Nora Higgins – 4.69% – 356 votes

New York State Assembly – 2nd District (Democratic)

Laura M. Jens-Smith – 77.99% – 1,772 votes

William Schleisner – 22.01% – 500 votes

Northport Middle School closed after contamination concerns. File photo

Northport Middle School, which has been closed since January, has been deemed safe to reopen, according to an environmental firm’s report released last week.

P.W. Grosser Consulting, a Bohemia-based environmental firm hired by the district, detailed that following its investigation it found no environmental concern that would render the middle school “unsafe to occupy”.

“While several items of concern were identified during the investigation, each is addressable and does not require the school to be closed to implement,” the firm stated in its nearly 7,000-page report.

District officials have planned a virtual forum for Thursday, June 25, at 7 p.m. to further discuss the report’s findings with parents and community members. Previously, in March, Robert Banzer, superintendent of schools, said that the district would consider reopening the school after review of the firm’s finding and remediation work.

Banzer could not be reached for comment before press time.

Among the firm’s findings included poorly set manholes that resulted in sewage odor escaping from the system, detection of carbon monoxide in one wing of the building while buses were exiting in the morning, low levels of benzene found in an art room and levels of arsenic discovered at the school’s track. In addition, PWGC detected a “burnt” smell in room N-103, the cause being a rubbing belt inside a vent.

The firm also found “evidence of rotting organic matter, likely from nearby trees,” that was found on roof drains, according to the report. PWGC recommended having drains sanitized and cleaned, adding that once cleaning had been done it noticed “a reduction or elimination of musty odors within the building.”

The status of the middle school has been a divisive topic in the community. Some want the school to remain closed, while others believe the school shouldn’t have been closed to begin with.

Rich Rowehl, a Northport parent of a seventh-grader in the district, said he is glad the firm’s report is done.

“I’m interested to hear what district officials and the consultants say about the findings at the virtual forum,” he said. “Then we’ll go from there, but it’s good to hear that the school is safe.”

Rowehl said he hopes the forum will be able to address any other concerns parents may still have and discuss ways the district will handle any lingering issues and areas of concerns from the report.

The firm could not find the cause for odors in rooms K-74 and K-75. In its report it stated that it believed that the furniture — benches and wood cabinetry — was the likely source of the odors.

“There are still some questions to be answered, though if the school is deemed safe then there could be a possibility that the students can return in September,” Rowehl said. “I’m hoping the report satisfies the community and that there is a sense of closure at the end of this.”

The district has already moved forward with some of the remediation work. It has relocated buses and bus depots off school grounds to another location in the village and is repairing the surrounding septic systems. There are plans to fix existing roof drains and other ceiling deficiencies as well as addressing the arsenic at the school track.

In a five-month span, P.W. Grosser tested inside of the school and the surrounding grounds, following foul odor complaints from students and staff members. In December 2019, students were relocated to another wing of the school due to the offensive smells. At the start of this year, the environmental firm detected elevated levels of mercury in cesspools outside the building, as well as high levels of benzene in two septic tanks. As a result, middle school students were transferred to other buildings throughout the district in mid-January for the remainder of the school year.

Suffolk County demonstrates new denitrifying septic systems installed in county resident's homes. Photo from Suffolk County executive’s office

Republican and Democratic congressmen from Long Island are promoting a bill that would cancel the taxable status placed on grants for prototype denitrifying septic systems in Suffolk County and offer relief to those who received those grants. 

Both U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY3) are promoting legislation that would essentially reverse the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s ruling that grants for the experimental septic systems were taxable, despite Suffolk County and other local officials saying there was precedent for such grants on home-based environmental devices being tax free.

“Cesspools and septic systems have been identified as the largest single cause of degraded water quality on Long Island,” Suozzi said in a statement. “This bill may not sound exciting, but it has a real impact on real people’s lives and pocketbooks.”

The IRS ruling came down in January of this year after Suffolk County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. (R) asked the IRS for such a decision. The comptroller sent tax bills to homeowners who had taken up such grants in 2019, saying the county should have constructed the program to make sure that the feds would tax the contractors, not those who received the grants. County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said in a statement that “the notion that Suffolk County homeowners would be taxed for participating in a water quality program that will make their water cleaner simply defies all logic.”

Zeldin said they have to protect taxpayers.

“This program’s goals are laudable, but we must ensure people can actually use the program to achieve those goals. While all levels of government work to find a solution, due to the urgency of this situation, we are running the gamut on every option, including this legislation to provide immediate relief,” he said in a release.

The bill would also retroactively allow people who received the grants to amend their 2019 tax returns for grants received in the same year.

The legislation is expected to be included within a larger congressional infrastructure package that will be voted on within the next few weeks.

National Night Out attendees in Brookhaven enjoy the Centreach Pool Complex. Photo from Suffolk County Police Department

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) recent announcement that the state would allow public pools to reopen at the discretion of local municipalities was received as good news for residents in Suffolk County who rely on such facilities for recreational use and to cool off the summer heat. For local town governments, they will have to consider not only the safety of patrons but also whether they still have the resources in place to operate their pools. 

The Dix Hill pool could potentially reopen depending on a debate within the Town of Huntington. Photo from TOH

Two weeks ago, in a joint press release, town supervisors from Babylon, Brookhaven, Islip, Smithtown and Huntington said they would close their pools to avoid further potential coronavirus spread. 

Since then, at least two municipalities on the North Shore may be reconsidering their initial decision. 

Huntington spokesperson Lauren Lembo said in a statement that it is something the town “has been discussing after the successful reopening of the beaches.” At this time, the town hasn’t officially announced anything on pools reopening yet, but Lembo added that a safety plan and staffing resources are currently being assessed.

Huntington town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) also weighed in. 

“Based on the successful phased reopening of our beaches with new safety measures in place, we are more confident now that we can provide an equally safe and fun experience at the Dix Hills Pool this summer, which will be open for our summer camps,” he said in a statement. “We are considering plans to open the pool to residents only in the coming weeks.”

Brookhaven’s public pools will remain closed, according to town spokesperson Kevin Molloy. Though the town’s spray parks will reopen later this month. 

In Smithtown, spokesperson Nicole Garguilo said officials want to see the number of COVID-19 cases in the town continue to decrease before they make any potential decisions. 

“We want that metric to continue to go down —there is a lot involved in reopening our pools,” she said. “If it is safe enough, we would consider it.”

There are a number of issues they would have to address. Smithtown’s three public pools are all located at Smithtown Landing Country Club. 

Garguilo said in addition to implementing the proper safety precautions they would need to assess if they still have the available resources to operate all three pools. 

“For us, it’s making sure the recreation director has those resources, he has to go out and get 

lifeguards and pool operators to staff these pools,” she said. “We might have enough staff for only two pools.”

Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, said municipalities will have to go about their reopenings differently. 

“Not all pools have the same footprint, some have more space than others,” she said. “To keep people safe, towns might go to reduced occupancy.”

Nachman said there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water used in pools. Proper operation and disinfection should kill the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Despite that, the infectious disease expert reiterated that patrons still need to proceed with caution. 

“If you’re with your family, stay together, spread yourself out from others and stay six feet apart. Do not crowd around the pool,” she said. “If you’re sick or feel sick do not come to a public pool.”

Nachman also mentioned that if you plan on bringing food to be careful, as it is another source of infection. 

“Everyone has to do their part, we are all part of community protection,” she said. 

by -
0 1995
Protesters marched through Port Jefferson June 18 to call for an end to police brutality and racism. Photo by David Luces

Well over 200 protesters walked through Main Street in Port Jefferson Village June 18, calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism. It was just one of countless other protests going on nationwide since the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd at the hands of police three weeks ago.

Malachi Moloney, the speaker of the house for the Black Student Union at Stony Brook University, and who was at the head of facilitating and promoting the protest, said he was happy with the overall turnout.

“It means the world to me — we wanted people to leave here with a better understanding of the movement and hope we gave them examples of how to be a better ally. I think we did that,” he said.

The SBU student said the reason they chose Port Jeff as the site of the march was to give people perspective on how black communities feel on Long Island.

“Places like this, they think the status quo is serving the majority,” Moloney said. “This protest shows that we are not happy with the status quo. If you come together with a singular purpose in mind, there’s great power in that.”

Moloney said there is more work to be done.

“We are continuing the movement that has swept the nation. In the last two weeks we have had more progress from a civil rights standpoint since 1964,” he said. “That’s the repeal of 50a, the charging of Rayshad Brook’s murderers, we are still waiting on Breonna Taylor’s case.”

Jarvis Watson, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs at Stony Brook University, marched with the protesters and lauded the young people who were in the demonstration.

“I want to thank these young people for being here, making sure and recognizing that Black Lives Matter,” he said. “They are not just our future, they are our now. We have to make establishments take the knee off those who are oppressed.”

Amara Ayler, from Huntington, spoke on her experiences being black on Long Island.

“It’s not OK for me to fear walking to school and I see a police car and I fear for my life for no reason because I have a backpack on. It’s not right. It’s not fair,” she said. The police are supposed to make us feel safe. The police have never made me feel safe ever in my life. They’re supposed to protect and serve.”

Ayler said every time she hears Breonna Tayler’s name, she hears her own name.

“Amara Ayler, Breonna Taylor, it sounds similar,” she said. “It could be me, I don’t want to be another name on a list, I don’t want to be a poster or t-shirt. It’s not OK.”