Tuesday, June 9, 2020

BLM Protest

    On Tuesday-9-June approximately 250 people took part in a protest to support racial equality and justice. This event was organized by member of the Bogota High School Class of 2020 to echo the concerned of the Black Lives Matters movement. The demonstrators gathered in the parking lot to begin the protest.  There was a large number of current, and Alumni Students, Families, attendees from other towns along with Facility & Staff from Bogota Schools on hand to take part in this walk. Many carried home signs, or wore shirts, to express their opinion of recent events.  Chirwette Mohamed acted as spokesperson for the organizers. She welcomed those who took the time to joined their march and offer water or extra safety mask for those in need.  Before the start of the walk  Ms. Mohamed explained that the protest walk will end at Bogota Borough Hall. She said that there were a number of monuments to honour the memory of Service Personal, Law Enforcement, and other Emergency Service  Workers and they needed to be treated with respect.  Also mention was that the protest will pass by local business and private homes so marcher should use the sidewalk, or street as directed by the Police. Before the demonstrators left there was a moment of silence for  Mr. George Floyd and other victims. It was said that anyone wishing to take a knee could do so, while if anyone wanted to stay standing that was welcomed also. 
   As the marchers left the Parking lot, respect for the Police was shown, when the escorting  officers were asked if the protester could move onto the street. When permission was granted the orderly procession took to Palisade Ave, then made a right turn on to Main St.  The marches stayed in the West bound lane to allow traffic to continue moving on the other side. A rainbow of signs were held in the air, car horns sounded in support  greeted with cheers and waves of acknowledgement.  The marchers continue to chant including call out the name of some of the victims of unnecessary police violence. When the group arrived at Borough Hall they followed the wishes of the Bogota Police to stay on Larch St so those speaking could be in full view. The crowd was welcome by Bogota Mayor Chris Kelemen who thanked them for coming, and supported their rights in conducting this peaceful protest.  After some water was made available for the participants, by Officer Rivera of the Bogota Police, the first of many speeches follow. The originally schedule orators were Chirwette Mohamed, Nia, Abuzid, and Kala Jules Joseph . They spoke about racism from different sides. One was that because of the colour of her skin she did not live in fear of what other thought. How she would be treated by authorizes, or not having the felt the lack of equality that other experience. She continued in saying how, while not a victim, she shares the responsibly that all humans must be the treated respectfully. They other speakers shared stories of how they have been mistreated and lived in fear that someday a wrong word, or look, could cause a fatality exchange with the Police. 
   Other attendees were then asked if they had thoughts to share. Over a half-a-dozen stepped forward to talk. Some from other towns, or new to Bogota, a Mother and later her Daughter, Teachers and more Student all took the opportunity to talk. Speeches ranged from the highly passionate to the slow and steady due to being nervous of talking in front of other. All the speakers were shown encouragement from the crowd. A number of themes were repeated many  times. One was everyone must work together as Humans, and Americans to make a positive change. Not just for one race, but for all races and when everyone lives do matter, then all lives will matter. Another was that voting, community involvement and peaceful protest, when needed, is the way to keep this cause growing to a just end. Also mentioned by all the speakers was praise and thanks to the Officers of the Bogota Police Department. From guiding them along the streets of Bogota, standing by to keep the protesters safe while doing from a distance so as not to interfere, and even helping set-up the sound system.  The residents of Bogota added one more point to this. The Bogota Police Department over the last ten year has been involved with the Bogota Emergency  Services Youth Academy. This summer program the Middle School Student of Bogota have met and learned from Bogota officers. In turn those officers have watch these Student grow into Adults. Both have used this experience to respect each other. Academy Alumni still stop and talk to the Police as friends. The Officers take the time to treat to the Students as equals. Sometime to just to say hello, other times to help, and sometimes just to listen. Both the Students and the Police can now work together for the common good  of not only themselves but the Borough of Bogota as well. 
  When the appointed time finished everyone was asked to quickly and safety disperses.  it was announced that there will be a Police escort back to the High School if needed. And everyone must clean up after themselves.  

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