There was some anxiety surrounding the protest staged in Patterson on Sunday evening in light of a whirlwind of indignation that swept the nation. Concerns about violence, rioting, and looting had some expecting the worst, but what happened in Patterson was nothing of the sort.
It was instead democracy on full display.
A crowd of people gathered at Tilton Park preaching solidarity, peace, and above all, a desire to see a systematic change to address police brutality and hold those that society trusts with the sacred duty of enforcing the law to the same standard and punishment as anybody else. Nobody is above the law.
As he pleaded to breathe under the knee of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the murder of George Floyd has elicited emotions and frustration that has sparked a movement across the country. It was an injustice that could not be left unchallenged. It was one instance of many that have added up to a tension that is not sustainable. The resentment is no longer containable.
After years of avoidance of the issue, the tension finally snapped, and it hasn’t always been pretty. This weekend has been a tumultuous one for the county, and its impact will etch itself in the ever-developing story of American history. The dam of America’s sins broke and left a trail of longstanding grievances in its wake. What came pouring out in Patterson and across the country was an overwhelming desire to say enough is enough. An injustice to one is an injustice to all. Many are fed up and tired. Change has to start somewhere.
The group that attended on Sunday was a majority young crowd that wanted their voices heard. They’re concerned about the future of this nation, and many did what they felt was answering a call to action. They spoke, chanted, sang, marched, and returned home, leaving their city the same way they found it. It remained in peace.
They represented the city well at a time when justifiable anger and pain are palpable in this country.
Many of the vehicles that passed by honked to show their support of the march, and they should have because Patterson residents should be proud.