CANAJOHARIE — A group of Black Lives Matter supporters lined Church Street in Wagner Square Saturday afternoon, the second protest held this month in the village. Another one is planned for next weekend.
Saturday’s event was organized by Positive Action Mohawk Valley, with member Mark Brody stating, “I think it’s important for us to be out here, to let people in Canajoharie know there are people that really care about this issue, and are not prepared to let it go.”
Brody noted that it’s a goal of the group to organize local Black Lives Matter protests regularly, potentially on a weekly basis. “We want to persist until there is some serious addressing of the issue of police brutality and racism in our society.”
Of those issues, Erica Lee, who came back to her hometown from Johnstown for Saturday’s protest, commented, “I think there’s a lot of reasons at this point that I feel it’s important to take a stand. Enough is enough.”
“We’ve come to the point where it’s 2020,” Lee said. “This should not be continuing to happen in our community — right in front of our faces, on video — and not see any sort of line being drawn in the sand that this is not an acceptable thing.”
Lee said of racism and police brutality: “I feel we’re at that time where it needs to be done — it needs to end. If all lives matter, then everybody should be just as upset about this as we are.”
Ronald Hoatson — with his dog, Mingo, sporting a sandwich board stating “I’m nobody’s war dog” — said that peacefully protesting provides people with the important opportunity “to socialize more.”
“It’s like socialism has become a bad word, but it’s not a bad word,” Hoatson said. “It’s what every government does. But, now we’ve got socialism for the rich as opposed to socialism for everybody. That’s why we’ve got to give back and we’ve got to remain calm.”
Another Black Lives Matter protest has been organized for next Saturday in Wagner Square at noon. That event is scheduled to take place concurrently with a Blue Lives Matter rally at the same location from noon to 4 p.m.
Positive Action Mohawk Valley is a public group, with meetings — held the first Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. — open to all. With in-person meetings at the Ayres House in Fort Plain having temporarily ceased in the face of COVID-19, monthly gatherings have been held virtually via Zoom. But PAMV is planning to hold August’s meeting in person at the Riverfront Park pavilion in Canajoharie.