Patterson Protest

Answering the call from a Facebook post by Patterson resident Jada Johnson, a group of protesters gathered at Tilton Park near the Hammon Senior Center to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

They attended to air out grievances in regards to police brutality in solidarity with protests that have sprung up across the country over the last several days in response to the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Johnson saw that there were no protests planned in Patterson and felt the need to take action. She asked that all protestors remained peaceful and that no rioting or looting took place. Johnson wanted to give residents a safe space to express themselves and their frustration and stated that she hoped to spark some change in the community.

The protest began at 7 p.m. A prayer was said before Touraye Dionne sang the Black National Anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was originally a poem written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900. It was performed for the first time by 500 school children in celebration of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The song was later adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP) as its official song and is often referred to as the Black National Anthem.

People in the group were given a chance to speak before a march led the protesters through Las Palmas Avenue and stopped at the Patterson Historical Museum downtown.

It was there that the group stopped for a period of time to partake in chants and singing as Patterson residents drove by, and many honked in a show of support for the assembly.

The group then marched back to Tilton Park before dispersing.

Plenty of attendees expressed frustration. The protest was another instance of what has been an ongoing discussion about police brutality in the nation.

“I’m here on behalf of my sons, my grandsons, great-grandsons and their sons. In 2020 this is almost unbelievable. It’s the same now as then. Where do we go from here?” said 77-year-old attendee Bobby Jones.

The desire for a peaceful assembly was recognized as necessary by the protestors in attendance.

“We want this to be an example,” said Torrence Irvin.

Many of the protesters present were young adults concerned about the future of the country.

Many of them expressed a desire to see police reform and supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

“All Lives Matter dissipates the meaning behind Black Lives Matters,” said a 19-year-old protester Jesus that only gave out his first name. “If another professional, say a doctor or dentist, is bad, they get fired. Cops are to detain safely. They aren’t judge and jury. If a cop is bad, then they should be fired.”

“Power-hungry badge wearers are an injustice. There needs to be more oversight,” Andy, 19, said. “If you see something, say something. Quit turning a blind eye.”

“I don’t want this to be the future. I want to contribute in any way I can,” said 19-year-old Shane.

It was stressed to young protesters in attendance that they are the ones that must demand change. They were encouraged to vote, participate in local politics, and demand that their voices be heard beyond just on social media or one event.

Local Patterson Police Services were present to monitor the event and aid with traffic control as the group marched toward downtown. Sgt. Martin Machado shared that there were increased police resources in the city in response to the “chatter” of potential looting of local businesses online. No rioting or looting took place as a result.

PI reporter

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