Hundreds Gather In Plattsburgh For Peace Walk | WAMC

Hundreds Gather In Plattsburgh For Peace Walk

Jun 8, 2020

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Plattsburgh Saturday to call for racial equity and justice.  North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley was there.

Plattsburgh’s No Justice No Peace Walk For Change began at City Hall where organizers and advocates spoke to people assembling in City Hall Place and adjacent Trinity Park. Organizers said the community needed to stand peacefully united in global rallies and protests in a walk for change.  Ruby Roach stood on the steps of City Hall to address the crowd just before the march started.  “Say his name.”
Crowd: “George Floyd.”
Ruby Roach: “Say his name.”
Crowd: “George Floyd.”
Roach: “Don’t let them ever forget it.”
Voice in crowd: “Never.”
Roach: “Black Lives Matter.”
Crowd: “Black Lives Matter.”
Roach:  “No Justice No Peace.”
Crowd:  “No Justice No Peace.”
Roach:  “Say his name.”
Crowd:  “George Floyd.”
Roach: “I don’t understand if you understand the volume this speaks to not only the Black people in this community but the Black people in this state and hopefully soon the Black people across this country. I want you all to know how emotional I am today. People who are against this are the problem. America needs to do better. We can be so much greater.
The crowd begins chanting “Yes we can.”     

Marchers circled City Hall before walking down the center city’s Margaret Street to the police station.  
Jess Lashway says if people had not stood up in the wake of George Floyd’s death, police would have gotten away with his killing and Floyd would have been yet another statistic.  “It’s not just about George Floyd, may he rest in peace.  It is about everyone who has suffered from police brutality. It is about everyone who died. It is about every person of color who has walked down the street and got called an n-word or got told to get out, go back home, get out of America, get out of town. That is not right. It is a racism idea that these older generations are teaching to their new generations and people just need to unlearn that behavior. I think George Floyd sparked it because it was so brutal.”  

Many people wore masks donated by seamstress Alison Lutz.  “These are about 80 masks made of black fabric and each of them has a name of a different black person who has either been murdered by the police or there are unfortunately a number of black transwomen in here who were murdered who never found justice.  There are also names of civil rights murders, black people who were killed during the 50’s and 60’s in the name of civil rights. And I really wanted to make these masks to illustrate that this has been going on for far too long and I think that seeing these names sends a powerful message that we cannot forget who these people are.”
 
The crowd gathered in front of the city police department and spilled onto the high school athletic field across the street where everyone, including Police Chief Levi Ritter and Mayor Colin Read, knelt silently for 8 minutes 46 seconds to end the march.  “We want to take  this time to have a moment of silence. A moment of silence for George Floyd and the rest of the black lives that have been taken due to the result of systemic racism and police brutality. We want to take 8 minutes and 46 seconds if you can bear that. But that compares nothing to a man’s life, to a woman’s life.”  

As of Monday morning, Plattsburgh City Police did not have attendance numbers analyzed from drone footage during the event.  There are estimates that nearly 1,000 people attended.