On Friday, a Minnesota jury acquitted the police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop last July. Castile’s final moments were seen by millions of people, as his girlfriend in the seat next to him broadcast the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook. (“Would this have happened if the driver were white, if the passengers were white?” Minnesota’s governor wondered after the shooting.) After the verdict, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in Harlem as part of a protest organized by Black Lives Matter of Greater New York.
Hawk Newsome, president of the BLMNY group, and other speakers spoke to the crowd about the necessity for all people — not just the black community — to stand up for black lives, and remarked on the diversity of the group.
Another speaker noted that “coming out here today and taking photos to post on Instagram, then leaving is not enough. We need the white community to continue to mobilize and organize and show up to the community events. We need everyone to put effort into joining together to protect and defend the black community.”
The rally began at 116th Street, then marched down Fifth Avenue to Trump Tower at 56th Street, while police directed the crowd to stay on the sidewalk. The march did not have an actual permit, but even with police officers continually announcing the group would be arrested if it did not leave the streets, no arrests were made. The NYPD allowed the march to carry on peacefully.