More than 500 people marched from the entrance of James Braddock Park on 79th Street and Bergenline Avenue all the way to Celia Cruz Park in Union City to protest the death of George Floyd.
It was a peaceful, yet very boisterous march, with marchers bellowing various chants that have echoed throughout cities across America as the protest over the death of George Floyd has continued for two weeks.
“Blacks Lives Matter!” and “Hands Up!, Don’t Shoot!” reverberated all along Bergenline Avenue.
At some of the marches, police officers have been kneeling on one knee to show their solidarity with George Floyd.
However, before the onset of the march from 79th Street, we asked newly appointed North Bergen Police Chief Peter Fasilis whether he would be taking a knee today.
Interestingly, he said that the organizers of the march didn’t want North Hudson police officers taking a knee because Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to kill George Floyd.
A little more than half way through the march, in West New York, the organizers, led by Shayra Cruz and James de los Santos, asked the marchers to stop so that they could take a moment of silence to remember George Floyd and other African American men and women who have died either while being apprehended by the police or in their custody:
Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray were some of the names that the organizers announced over a bullhorn.
The march remained peaceful along the entire route, which culminated at Celia Cruz Park on 32nd Street. There, the organizers addressed the crowd, urging them to remain politically involved.
“Use your collective voice to demand change from your elected officials, do you hear me?,” asked Cruz.
She then continued with a stirring rebuke of police brutality.
“The fight doesn’t stop tomorrow. My hope is that this protest empowers all of us to continue to stand up against police violence, and the ruling elite of this country who â€” among their other wrongdoings â€” sanction it.”
“Together, we are incredibly powerful, and I can’t wait to stand with you all, and the rest of the world, to show our collective force.”
Multiple North Hudson elected officials marched side by side with their constituents, including all the mayors, as well as U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) – who released a statement before today’s march.
â€œGeorge Floyd wasÂ killedÂ by the very people who are supposed to protect our communities.Â When Derek Chauvin ignored his pleas of ‘I canâ€™t breathe,’ he ignored Mr. Floydâ€™s humanity, something that happens far too often in this country,” he began.
“We cannot pretend to be a just and fair nationÂ when our brothers and sisters cannot go for a jog, sleep in their own home, or live their lives without the threat of violence and death.”
Sires’s challenger for the 8th Congressional District, Hector Oseguera, also spoke at the march’s conclusion, stating that Hudson County needs progressive leadership.
He wore a shirt that read “We Are The Squad,” a reference to the four left-leaning Congresswomen of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Talib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota that U.S. President Donald Trump famously targeted by saying in 2019 that they need to â€œgo back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.â€
The challenger is supported by Our Revolution, the progressive political action organization launched in the wake of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) presidential run in 2016.
“Use your voice, use your vote. Don’t let these politicians take your power,” said Oseguera.
North Bergen Mayor/state Senator Nick Sacco (D-32) issued a statement immediately following the march, saying it was a proud day for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It is important we all come together and stand in solidarity of social justice. The only way forward is to do the real work of understanding what got us to this place and creating a new path forward,” he noted.
“We can’t let the raw anger that so many justifiably feel right now destroy any chance at progress. We need to come together for our country and for our future.”
Also, West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez took to Instagram during the march to say that all types of leaders marched to show their solidarity.
“This is exactly the way to carry this narrative, to make this message stronger and louder. Peaceful protest. Walking along, all types of leaders, grassroots leaders, elected leaders, faith-based leaders, law enforcement leaders together in the name of solidarity.”
The entire march streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below: