ENFIELD, NY (WSKG) – Several hundred demonstrators blocked off the street in front of the Ithaca Police Department on Monday afternoon. They had marched from Cornell University’s campus through downtown. Young people dominated the disciplined, well-organized protest march.
When they arrived outside the Ithaca Police Department, they knelt in silence for eight minutes and forty five seconds. That’s the length of time video shows a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
Speakers denounced white supremacy and police brutality and said such problems remain in Ithaca. They called on white residents to join in the work of dismantling the bias and institutional racism in Ithaca.
Among the speakers was Ithaca College Associate Professor Nia Nunn.
“I don’t want allies. I want comrades. I want co-conspirators. Graduate from ally-ship into being a co-conspirator — to being a comrade. Understand Ithaca you’re not innocent. You are guilty, too,” Nunn said. The crowd cheered.
Nunn lead black and white demonstrators in a responsive chant with black protesters chanting, “My black body is NOT disposable!” and white protesters responding, “Your black body is NOT disposable.”
Ithaca professor Cynthia Henderson spoke of the emotional toll on black and brown people.
“Your black friend is exhausted. Empathized with your black friend. Support your black friend. Pray for your black friend. Let your black friend know that you truly care. Because your black friend will remember who truly had their back during this difficult time,” Henderson said.
Henderson also had suggestions on what not to do.
“Your black friend wants us, wants you to stop chastising us about the rioting. Don’t tell us that all lives matter. All lives cannot matter until black lives also matter,” she said.
Near the end of the protest, the crowd erupted in cheers when it was announced that three officers also involved in the killing of Floyd had been arrested.
More protests against white supremacy and institutional racism are expected in Ithaca in the coming days.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Cornell University is a WSKG Underwriter