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.”