WEST ISLIP

West Islip protest sees 1,000

Randall Waszynski
Posted 6/4/20

In the aftermath of the incident in Minneapolis on May 25, where George Floyd was killed by a white police officer who had his knee on the back of his neck, protests have erupted across the …

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WEST ISLIP

West Islip protest sees 1,000

Posted

In the aftermath of the incident in Minneapolis on May 25, where George Floyd was killed by a white police officer who had his knee on the back of his neck, protests have erupted across the nation — both violent and peaceful. Peaceful protests have popped up in several spots on Long Island, including West Islip on Higbie Lane on Monday afternoon.

The gathering spanned several blocks of Higbie Lane and topped 1,000 protestors. Many motorists traveling down Higbie Lane through the protest area honked in concurrence with the protestors and acknowledgement of the injustice minorities face — particularly black Americans. Additionally, the protest is very centric to police brutality and oppression of black Americans by police.

Bay Shore resident Jeffrey Clinton protested on Higbie Lane on Monday. He said major reform in the way the nation is run is necessary in order to prevent incidents like George Floyd’s death.

“There is no excuse for black Americans to live like this and be killed by police. If you want to stop George Floyds from happening, you are going to have to look at economic policy, reparations, desegregation, and reform on police and the criminal justice system.

West Islip resident Warren Mack said that what the affected community not only wants, but needs, is significant and drastic change.

“We have dealt with so much prejudice, racism, [and] discrimination our whole lives. We have had enough,” Mack said. “No more George Floyds. No more Trayvon Martins. We do not want any more of that.”

Mack’s girlfriend, Yvette Santiago, stood with him on Higbie Lane and said that protesting in suburban areas like West Islip furthers the call for drastic change.

“With the media, everyone can see what happened,” Santiago said. “We are in an age of media. Everyone can see it. It cannot be hushed, and it cannot be silenced. And neither will we.”

Suffolk County Police Department was once under direct oversight by the federal Department of Justice for issues regarding racial discrimination. That oversight was lifted during President Donald Trump’s leadership. Islip resident Joe Tronolone made note of this when interviewed during the protest on Monday.

“Yes, [George Floyd’s death] happened in Minneapolis, but we have had problems with the SCPD as well,” Tronolone said. “And it is all about solidarity. People are being oppressed by the police.”

Furthermore, it has been indicated that Long Island is the most segregated suburb in America. Bay Shore resident Diego Castillo explained that he grew up in Queens and moved to Suffolk County when he was 13.

“It was a big change. It was a melting pot in the borough,” Castillo said, continuing on to explain the visible de facto segregation in townships and hamlets across Long Island, includ- ing Islip Town. “When I was younger, I would tell someone I was from Islip, they would say, ‘oh, you are from Central Islip.’ No, I am from Islip.”

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