A truly impressive protest last night at City Hall in support of racial justice. Impressive not only in its size — about 2,000 — but also in its diversity: a real cross-section of New Rochelle, black, white, and brown, young and old.
The entire event had a powerful authenticity, with speeches, almost all delivered by graduates of New Rochelle High School, that were at turns moving, angry, sad, loving, defiant, uplifting, hopeful, and raw. I disagreed with a few of the comments, but that’s okay; a little discomfort among public officials is probably a good and necessary thing at this moment, and it was important for me to be present to hear, see, listen, and learn. Overall, I felt very proud of our city.
I was also proud of the organizers’ clear commitment to peaceful, safe free expression. Despite the enormous size of the gathering, there were no notable Police incidents, and about 99% of attendees responsibly wore masks.
As I said in my remarks last Sunday, when it comes to addressing the challenges of racial equality, New Rochelle has done better than most. But “better than most” is no longer good enough. There is important work ahead for all of us.
UPDATE: Here’s a great video with scenes from the rally.