KINGSTON – City residents in Kingston, led by a group of high school students, joined demonstrators nationwide to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minnesota earlier in the week.
Saturday afternoon, well over 100 protesters marched down Broadway to City Hall in a non-violent demonstration organized by three high school students.
Mia Buford, one of the organizers, said she and her friends were fed up with having their social media feeds inundated by images and posts regarding George Floyd’s death, so they decided to start promoting the demonstration early Friday morning.
“We were like, you know what, let’s just do something about it. It’s that simple; just doing something, getting people together. It’s so easy to do and it needs to happen more often,” said Buford. “I’m tired of sharing things on Facebook. Things need to be done. We need to take action,” she said.
Sabrina Glover, another of the youth organizers, added that they needed something positive to do with their outrage.
“Seeing everything all over your timeline, it makes you very, very angry and it’s like, I’m so angry I need to do something with this anger. I need to do something that’s going to benefit my community,” said Glover.
Speakers after the march praised the non-violent conduct of the participants, amidst violent riots happening elsewhere around the country. Members from various community organizations and local government also reminded the mostly youthful demonstrators that participation in their local government is the first step to invoking the type of change in policing their looking for. Kingston currently has police accountability legislation under review that was drafted months before the George Floyd incident.
Ulster County Human Rights Commissioner Tyrone Wilson said above all, he hopes everyone remembers why they were marching once press and social media attention dies down.
“I would love for us to not forget this,” said Wilson. “I’ve been to several rallies and several protests; but, after a certain time, we seem to forget that moment that we were here. It’s about keeping that energy. It’s about keeping people active. Don’t forget this,” he said.
Youth organizers said there will be another group holding a demonstration Wednesday 5 p.m. at Academy Green.