Groton – It was a small but spirited group that gathered outside a Groton shopping center on Long Hill Road on Saturday, waving at passing cars and holding Black Lives Matter banners, crouching together to keep warm.
It was a reminder, the participants said, that the movement is alive and well and that the issues of systemic racism raised after the death of George Floyd and other black individuals still persist.
“Don't forget because we don't have that,” said Nanayaa Ali, 18, a senior at Fitch High School.
Ali is a member of the Groton Youth Collective, a young youth activist organization that helped lead a protest in Groton last summer that drew nearly 1,000 people in protest against police brutality and racism.
Ali said the group claims about 30 core members and has plans for a series of peaceful protests and fundraisers targeting issues and causes of social justice.
The beeping of passing cars was almost constant on Saturday, but Leah Richardson, 17, said it's not always that welcoming. There is the occasional commuter who turns the bird over as they drive past.
"Why? Some people really don't understand the movement," Richardson said. "Yes, all lives matter. But what we're trying to say is that black lives matter too. There's a difference in how our race is being treated. "
Aundre Bumgardner, Groton City Councilor, supported the group on Saturday, saying he was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm, by their commitment to raising awareness of systemic racism not only within our community, but also in the surrounding communities, where this discussion never took place. occurred. "
Bumgardner, who plans to challenge the incumbent mayor in Groton City in a March primary, said that in stark contrast to the violent mob that descended on January 6 to Washington, DC, to desecrate the Capitol, & # 39; what you have here are young people protesting and singing songs about unity and inclusion. "
"This is a peaceful protest," he said. "If someone took the opportunity to have a conversation with these young people, you would understand that they are protesting to save black lives and to showcase systemic racism that persists in every form of government."
"They show up to speak their mind and they are also here to listen and willing to engage in a respectful conversation about the issues they care about. I respect that," he said.
. (tagsToTranslate) New London County (t) Groton CT (t) Civil Rights (t) Human Interest (t) Political Candidates (t) Human Rights (t) Politics (General) (t) Racism (t) Teenagers (t) Demonstration (t) ) Protests and demonstrations (t) Political activism (t) African Americans (t) Human rights and civil liberties (t) Race and ethnicity (t) Social diversity (t) Cultural diversity (t) Municipal and local politics (t) Black Lives Matter