ORANGE, NJ — The unequal treatment black people receive from law enforcement is killing them. With the recent burial of George Floyd earlier last week and the killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Ga., over the weekend, the outrage continues to rise. Demanding a stop to racial inequality, Orange held a Black Lives Matter protest on Central Avenue and Scotland Road on Saturday, June 13.
Mayor Dwayne Warren reminded the community of its history.
“Black lives do matter,” Warren said on June 13. “We know about the killing of George Floyd, but there’s a deeper, deeper pain and stain on our society that we’re trying to eliminate in every way that we can. This is a particular expression of it, showing that black lives do matter, reminding people of our history that black lives mattered in Genesis when God created man. Black lives mattered when they found the origins of humanity in Africa. Black lives mattered when they shot the guns for the American Revolution. Black life was there. We’ve always mattered. We matter today and we’ll matter forever. All of society should see it and we should act in unison.”
South Ward Councilwoman Jamie Summers-Johnson spoke about what this historic time will mean to her youngest son.
“We are all gathering for a Black Lives Matter march for the city of Orange,” Summers-Johnson said on June 13. “I’m a mother of three African American sons, so, for me, this is extremely important. Just to bring awareness. It’s not an anti-police march — it’s an awareness march, and I have my 9-year-old son with me because I felt it was time. I want him to feel as though he’s a part of it. He’ll be able to write a whole essay about this experience for school.”
Orange Police Director Todd Warren discussed how he felt about Floyd’s murder.
“I believe that we need to work together as a human family to end racism, to end police brutality,” Warren said on June 13. “When I saw the initial tape of what transpired in Minnesota, I was disgusted and angered, because it was not necessary, and it was based on hate and not policy and procedure and standard operating procedures. I’m angered by what happened, but I think there’s a silver lining in that it brought the human family together. Both black and white, professionals, nonprofessionals, educated, uneducated. It brought all of us together as a human family to acknowledge a problem that has been plaguing our community for decades.”
Orange High School seniors also addressed the crowd, detailing how even during such difficult times, they are rising up and overcoming.
Valedictorian Angelica Delia motivated her peers to continue fighting, even during the pandemic.
“I feel like I have a duty to encourage and motivate my other peers because it could be hard, such as losing all hope for all of the things we wanted to do as seniors and how we were looking forward but just reminding them that the fight is not over and that we haven’t graduated yet, so to keep the goal in mind and not forget about it just because we’re not in school,” she said.
OHS Class President Miphilove Milord expressed her excitement to be making history with her peers.
“Being the class president feels amazing,” Milord said on June 13. “I’m really excited to be able to become a class that’s basically made history. My class was the first to raise as much money as we did in scholarships for our school, we’re the first to graduate online, we’re the first to do a lot, and I’m really excited about our future and the things that we’re doing.”
Photos by EmilyAnn Jackman