About 100 protestors gathered on Main Street outside Islip Town Hall West on Tuesday, June 9, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. The afternoon event fea- tured speakers from the …
About 100 protestors gathered on Main Street outside Islip Town Hall West on Tuesday, June 9, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. The afternoon event fea- tured speakers from the community like Chrystle Stewart, who said society needs to come together to combat ingrained racism.
“The black lives movement is not a moment. It is a movement,” Stewart said. “Everyone needs to realize that black people in Islip are not treated with the same respect as our white peers, and I am going to speak on it because something has to change. Silence is deadly. Don’t be silent. Speak on it. Use your white privilege to stand with us and stand by us because we need it.”
Diana Stoll is a white resident from Bohemia who peacefully protested alongside Stewart, and suggested that white people who support the movement can do more to impact the movement.
“Read the literature. Do the work. Talk to people, and hear their stories,” Stoll said. “Listen and feel with them; it is called empathy. Racists don’t really have that. We need to start teaching, but teach yourself first.”
Islip resident Tatiana Albert pointed out the amount of white people who attended the protest.
“I love that there is so much diversity here, and we have to keep going until it stops,” Albert said, adding that it is especially important to hold protests in suburbs like Islip in addition to cities. “It shows people that we are united and we will not give up. Being united can bring us to a really good place.”
Rayne Hoke, another Islip resident, said that having a protest in the hamlet is good for the community.
“Everyone suddenly gets to find out how many of their neighbors are actually confronting what is going on in the world,” Hoke said. “It kind of brings it from [knowing] what is going on over there to it happening next to us. It is not something you can ignore when it is in front of you.”
Hoke added that the community coming together to combat racism in law enforcement is necessary in order to make progress.
“As much as the black community wants to say, ‘Stop killing us,’ nobody is going to start listening until we have our white allies with us,” she said.