SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — On Friday, May 29, at the intersection of South Orange Avenue and SOPAC Way in South Orange, members of SOMA Justice staged a “die-in” to protest white supremacy, to honor victims of racist violence, to protest the disregard for black life, and to demand that white Americans take official and personal accountability for their complicity in the everyday exploitation and devastation of black Americans. The die-in lasted eight minutes, to reflect the length of time that Police Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to George Floyd’s neck, murdering him as he pleaded for his life and bystanders begged him to stop.
“In our own towns in the last few years, white neighbors have called the police on black residents waiting outside for friends, police have attacked and herded black children trying to get home and brutally assaulted a disabled black man, and a local business’ employee recently screamed slurs at a black woman born and raised here, telling her to go back to her country,” SOMA Justice founder Khadijah Costley-White said. “This is not separate from babies in cages or people gasping for air on the street or a pandemic that disproportionately kills black people. We must work to end racist suffering inside and outside of our community, and all the conditions that allow it to continue.”
“We call on all white people to acknowledge our shared American tradition of racism and the impact it has on current race relations,” Maplewood resident and die-in organizer Jan Oosting Kaminsky said. “We recognize that we have been beneficiaries of a violent system that oppresses and harms black people and culture. We challenge white accomplices to affirmatively show support for our black and brown neighbors. We call for an immediate cessation of police and other white violence against our communities of color.”
Photos Courtesy of Morgan Triska Media