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Large turnout in Rockland renews call for racial justice

By Stephen Betts | Jun 21, 2020
Photo by: Jack Sullivan More than 100 people rallied June 19 in downtown Rockland to mark Juneteenth and call for racial justice

Rockland — More than 100 people gathered in downtown Rockland Friday evening, June 19, to call for racial justice.

The people first gathered at Chapman Park, at Park and Main streets, before silently marching down Main Street. Protesters laid down on the street for eight minutes to mark the amount of time that a police officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck in Minneapolis.

The event was held on Juneteenth, a holiday to mark the end of slavery for black Americans in the United States.

Organizer Angela McIntyre of Rockland said she promoted the event on Facebook, called her local phone contacts, and relied heavily on friends to promote the event.

In a news release Friday to publicize event, McIntyre said

"I am white organizer working in a predominantly white community. At the heart of this demonstration, I would like to center the voice of the Black Lives Matter Global Network demands, released March 30," McIntyre said.

“Enough is enough. Our pain, our cries, and our need to be seen and heard resonate throughout this entire country. We demand acknowledgment and accountability for the devaluation and dehumanization of Black life at the hands of the police. We call for radical, sustainable solutions that affirm the prosperity of Black lives. George Floyd’s violent death was a breaking point — an all too familiar reminder that, for Black people, law enforcement doesn’t protect or save our lives. They often threaten and take them.

"Right now, Minneapolis and cities across our country are on fire, and our people are hurting — the violence against Black bodies felt in the ongoing mass disobedience, all while we grapple with a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting, infecting, and killing us.

"We call for an end to the systemic racism that allows this culture of corruption to go unchecked and our lives to be taken. We call for a national defunding of police. We demand investment in our communities and the resources to ensure Black people not only survive, but thrive," reads the statement from Black Lives Matter Global Network.

At a June 1 protest in Rockland for Black Lives Matter, both Rockland Police Chief Christopher Young and Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll knelt with demonstrators for eight minutes and 46 seconds to mark the killing of Floyd. Young also issued a statement on the day of the earlier protest in which he said "We enthusiastically support speaking out against racism and unjust police violence."

McIntyre said there were many barriers to participating in physical demonstrations - especially during a pandemic.

"I wanted our community to be able to participate through art, as well," she said in the news release. She said she is collaborating with the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, the Strand Theatre, Hello Hello Books, Rocky City Coffee, RSU13 after school programs, hundreds of individuals and families. The art is focused on memorializing Black lives lost due to racist violence.

"I hope that our community will commit to radical changes to dismantle institutional racism and explore their own relationships with privilege, safety, and racial identity," she concluded.

The people gathered first at Chapman Park in Rockland. (Photo by: Stephen Betts)
Protestors laid down on Main Street for eight minutes as part of the vigil for racial justice. (Photo by: Jack Sullivan)
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Comments (11)
Posted by: James Clinton Leach | Jun 24, 2020 16:57

Merton Sawyer it exists here in Rockland, I can introduce you to a few that live it everyday....



Posted by: Caroline Hooper | Jun 23, 2020 07:39

Valerie, I wish I were talking about the way past. I am not. When one of my most trusted employees was in a customer's house working and I got several nasty emails accusing him of stealing a $20 bill, called derogatory names and accused him of being a crack dealer because of skin color it was jarring. 1 week later I got an apologizing email saying he found his $20 in the couch. We'd all like to move on and that is what everyone wants to do but ignoring all those people who are being held back and ignoring their pain is a sure fire way to hold us all back regardless of race.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jun 23, 2020 07:15

Caroline,

All skin colors have privileges now.  Why is everyone referring back to the way past?  It's over with.  Done with, society and laws have moved on and changed.  What about all the other different color skin types that have been treated with brutality by police officers?  Don't those lives matter also?  You sound as if you are from the South and talking like we are all living in the way past.  Time to move on.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jun 23, 2020 07:10

ananur forma,

The REAL ISSUE is that there are some police officers all over the country that abuse their power and take it to the next level on any race!  I am not down playing the issue.  At this point, in my opinion, still protesting about George is mute point.  America got what is going on. This issue is going on in every State in America and it is NOT JUST BLACKS being brutality killed by police officers.  We are not living in the slave ages any longer.  ALL LIFE'S MATTER, NO MATTER WHAT COLOR SKIN, Ananur. 



Posted by: Nicky Staples | Jun 23, 2020 05:20

I believe all lives matter and history is going to keep repeating itself as long as we keep racism going!



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 22, 2020 16:56
Posted by: Caroline Hooper | Jun 22, 2020 12:53

Mr. Sawyer this is a subject that does concern "our" area, how lucky you are that you've been sheltered from it. it is not a movement against our local police who have very supportive of it. It is people it affects, their family, friends and neighbors saying they've PERSONALLY  had enough. It is people who want to heard and seen just as the racists have for years with their not so funny jokes, their ridicule and their nasty names for local areas known to be homesteads for black families years ago. You won't have to ask many to find out what the name was. I've sat quietly while many locals laughed and joked about it while I lost all respect for them. They see my white privilege, they don't know that they are bad mouthing ancestors of mine and many others in "our" community. You must have missed the news article about the teenage girl harassed in highschool simply because of her skin color a few years ago. This movement is about what is happening in these comments. Neighbors educating neighbors and opening their eyes that we are NOT immune to it in "our" community. I ask you to please listen to the words your neighbors are saying and realize your own white privilege. It's what they are fighting for.



Posted by: ananur forma | Jun 22, 2020 12:11

wonder if you realize by saying ,"All lives matter," you are downplaying the seriousness of the issue at hand right now. Do you know if any of your ancestors were lynched? Were any of your ancestors captured from their home country and aggressively forced to be  slaves? Have any of your family or friends been arrested for going through a stop sign then punched kicked and maybe even killed for the color of their skin? This is so serious and at this time in my opinion we must be sensitive and respectful to deal head on with this hatred and prejudice that still exits in our country towards certain skin colors. it's time to focus in and stop this insanity, right now. God made us all equal.



Posted by: Merton Sawyer | Jun 22, 2020 07:59

Please inform me of how 'OUR' community here in Rockland is now, or has been, racially biased. I grew up here and have lived in the South for a periid of time in my life. I did see racial bias in the South but have never seen it here in 'OUR' community. I do agree what happened to George Floyd was so very wrong. What I do not agree with is people putting undue pressure on our law enforcement here in OUR own area, Rockland and Knox County. They do a fantastic job and should be lauded for that. ALL lives do matter and racism should never happen in our community. God created us all equal and it is up to us as individuals to show love and concern for our fellow man. We are basically selfish individuals and do not reach out to others with help and concern to address the well being of others around us. While black lives DO matter, ALL lives matter in our community. We need to reach inside and examine our own lives first. We are all aware of things that have happened around the country and that is good. Now pay attention to what is really happening here and how that affects our daily lives and dont go overboard. There is a REAL push toward having our lives controlled by things that DO NOT really impact our lives here in Rockland and an attempt to force us to be conformative and transformed into lemmings. Please take care. This is written in love for my neighbors.



Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jun 22, 2020 07:59

EVERY LIFE MATTERS!!!!!  BLACK, WHITE, HISPANIC, THEY ALL MATTER!!!!!



Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 21, 2020 09:47

Want to understand their point of view a bit better? Watch this:     https://www.facebook.com/nbtpastoredwin/videos/10207582980289481/



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