In a protest that almost didn’t happen, community members stood together and chanted their demands for change and resolution for the treatment of the African-American community by police …
In a protest that almost didn’t happen, community members stood together and chanted their demands for change and resolution for the treatment of the African-American community by police officers.
On Monday, June 1, in the middle of Patchogue Village in front of the Capital One Bank and United States Army recruiting center, dozens of protesters gathered for a powerful, peaceful, and passionate afternoon.
Half an hour before the protest started, Lisa Equizabal, a member of the Islip NAACP chapter, turned away people who had come with signs, stating, “I protest with Black Lives Matter and normally we put on the flyer—we do it as an event—to let people know and this was nothing like that. This is like what white nationalists have been doing around the country where they come in and start breaking glass.”
Equizabal had feared that since there was no identifying contact information on the flyer for the event, that it was not a genuine protest for George Floyd. Three students from Bellport High School stood their ground and said they knew the organizer personally and would not leave until she came. Others opted to wait until 1 p.m., the scheduled time of the protest, to determine the validity of the protest.
When the actual organizer of the protest, Maya Curry, came with a megaphone and posters in tow, Equizabal apologized and made a public post on Facebook encouraging people to join the “legitimate” protest.
The Brookhaven NAACP (who would have jurisdiction over the Patchogue area) com- mented, “The NAACP respects all peaceful protests. This young lady [Equizabal] is not a part of our executive committee and therefore cannot speak for the NAACP, and has no authority to cancel an event.”
While there was one inflammatory motorist who yelled profanity from the passenger side of a Chevrolet SUV, the majority of passersby, including multiple bus drivers, honked their horns in support of the protestors.
“It was quite as we expected it to be and SCPD was prepared to intervene as necessary, but they have taken a very laid-back approach,” Patchogue mayor Paul Pontieri added, explaining that the area was also made safe. “It was a very controlled group.”
Pontieri also made note that though normally events would require a permit, due to the uncontrolled nature and lack of knowledge of organizers, it was basically impossible to require one.