KINGSTON — Following the state’s police reform of banning chokeholds and repealing law 50-a, which conceals police records in the court, hundreds of people demonstrated in Kingston in solidarity of black lives supporting the progress of the state’s policing; but, also asking for more to be done.
Wednesday evening, Citizen Action New York, Harambe, Rise Up Kingston and a large number of Kingston High School students participated in what is planned to be a bi-weekly demonstrative event for police reform state and nationwide.
Although there has been recent legislative progress resulting from demonstrations across the state and county, according to Community Organizer for Citizen Action New York Fanon Frazier, there are still crucial reforms that need to happen, specifically with the reduction of school resource officers, as well as with an overall divestment of police departments across the country.
“Police have their place, but they need to be divested and looked at, especially in terms of police unions and just that ‘blue code of silence’,” said Frazier. “There’s an ethical gap that needs to be filled and divesting will do that because it will force the departments and unions to look at themselves more thoroughly,” he said.
A large portion of the demonstrators who have been active in Kingston are self-mobilized students from Kingston High School.
Jennelle O., a senior at Kingston High, said the local youth are not treating these demonstrations as a fad and are going to diligently continue until there is a “higher standard” for police protocol and accountability.
“I think that we just have to keep pushing. The momentum cannot stop. This is not a trend. This is a movement that has been going on for years and years and years now,” she said. “If you stop now, things are just going to go back to normal and we don’t want this to be the new normal. We don’t want that to continue. We want to progress. We want change. We want permanent change and that’s why we’re here today,” she said.
This series of demonstrations will continue in Kingston at Academy Green on Wednesday, July 1 and according to local demonstrators, continue for the foreseeable future.