MONTICELLO, NY — Monticello native Cristal Staten, the daughter of a police officer, spoke to the diverse crowd that gathered in front of the Sullivan County Courthouse on May 31 for a Black …
MONTICELLO, NY — Monticello native Cristal Staten, the daughter of a police officer, spoke to the diverse crowd that gathered in front of the Sullivan County Courthouse on May 31 for a Black Lives Matter rally.
“We are all here to fight for the same thing: equality for everyone, for minorities, for people of color, for men for women for people who are being killed unjustly. We are not anti-cop, we are pro-black life—the same lives that people feel are expendable. We’re here marching for the George Floyds of the world,” Staten said.
Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 after he was arrested, placed in handcuffs and police officer Derek Chauvin held Floyd down by putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin and three other involved officers have been fired, and Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the country and in some places looting and violence have erupted. In Monticello, the event was calm and peaceful; it was clear that most people agreed that Black Americans in this country have been second-class citizens for centuries and that reality continues.
Staten said, “People ask me, ‘Why are we marching if the cop was arrested?’ He was arrested because we are marching. We are marching for further change. We are marching so that we never have to march again. We’re here so that the police realize they are here to protect us, not to kill us, not to pin us down, not to kneel on us for eight minutes while the life drains from us.”
Several people in the crowd knelt on one knee during the event, which is what football player Colin Kaepernick did during the playing of the national anthem at a football game in September 2016. He was protesting police brutality. Now, he is helping to fund the legal defenses of some of the protestors who have been arrested in Minneapolis.