Two separate Black Lives Matter-inspired protests were planned for Sunday in Babylon. They eventually came together to join forces for an even larger peaceful protest in the village.
Starting at 2 p.m., hundreds of people gathered at Deer Park and Foster avenues to protest institutional racism in the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Protests have been happening daily across Long Island this month, making their way to Babylon Village Sunday.
The two protests were unintentionally planned on the same day at the same time.
One of the organizers, 18-year-old Babylon resident Sophia Levine-Aquino, said such an event was needed in her community, which hadn’t seen any protests so far this spring.
“Today’s turnout is amazing with all the support we’re getting,” she said.
People of all ages, races and genders stood on the side of the road, holding up handmade signs expressing their anger with police brutality — and calling on a need for change.
“The main reason why we’re here is to protest the lives that have been taken by cops and white supremacists,” said one protestor, Autumn Greenridge. “This is the new age of America… millennials and Gen Z are the new voices of America and people need to listen.”
While dozens of cars that passed honked and showed their
support, after about an hour the group marched, with police escorts, down Deer
Park Avenue to the Gazebo across from Argyle Park.
It was there that they met the other group who protested above the bridge at the lake. The two coordinators stood together in solidarity, merging both protests into an even bigger group of hundreds.
Mackenzie Vickers, who coordinated the second group, said her turnout was amazing. Standing along the bridge overlooking Argyle Lake, the group held an 8-minute, 46-second moment of silence to remember Floyd’s passing.
“My family has been in Babylon for five generations,” Vickers said. “So it was really important to stand for people who look like me.”
When the second protest marched toward her group, she knew it was important to band together. “It was awesome to have two protests collectively come together… it was beautiful,” she said. “I think that we made an impression and that’s what this is all about. Whether it was two protests or five protests, I’m happy.”
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