In photo: Saratoga Mayor Meg Kelly center, Public Works Commissioner Robin Dalton. right, and Finance Commissioner Michelle Madigan walk with protesters on Broadway at Saratoga Springs Sunday afternoon during a Black Lives Matter protest.
A few dozen protesters marched from Congress Park to Saratoga Springs City Hall Sunday afternoon as part of a planned Black Lives Matter protest.
Natasha Myrie, 30, of Saratoga Springs was one of the organizers of Sunday afternoon’s event.
“I grew up in Saratoga Springs where there isn’t too much racism going on, but there is racism everywhere that you go,” Myrie said. “We just want our voices heard.
“We’re just tired of seeing the same cycle keep repeating itself and peaceful protests aren’t working, but I have faith in peaceful protests.”
The current news cycle following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has led with coverage of violent protests, not like the organized event Sunday afternoon.
“That’s what I want, peaceful protesting, but when that doesn’t work, that’s when people begin to riot,” said Myrie.
“When they riot, they tend to draw more people’s attention. Our goal here is to draw some attention, but we are going to do it in a peaceful manner here.”
The event began in Congress Park at noon and the group walked on the sidewalks of Broadway escorted by Saratoga Springs police vehicles to city hall where various people were given the opportunity to speak to the crowd.
The group then passed over to the opposite of Broadway and marched back to Congress Park.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, along with commissioners Robin Dalton and Michelle Madigan, marched and held “Black Lives Matter” signs.
“What brings everyone out today is what we saw on TV from Minneapolis. I said George Floyd, that’s why we’re here. It can’t continue,” Kelly said.
The event, which lasted more than two hours Sunday, took place without incident.
“I don’t think that today is different,” Kelly said. “Looking to this crowd here I think everybody is passionate, there is not disruption to the city, we’re not destroying things, we’re not burning things.
“I think people are just peacefully protesting.”
After returning to Congress Park, Kelly and the commissioners left, and the organized group made another trip up Broadway and settled in front of the Adirondack Trust Building on the corner of Lake Avenue and Broadway.
Myrie was joined by Monique Bennifield, also of Saratoga Springs, at the protest Sunday.
“I am out here for the cause of the people who have been victimized that I know of and myself, Darryl Mount and Bobby Ford years ago,” Bennifield said. “I just want that to stop and I want them to know that it’s a beautiful place here and we can continue to keep it that way as long as we keep out the corruption in the buildings of power.”
Darryl Mount was a 21-year-old African-American who died Aug. 31, 2013, after sustaining injuries from a fall while being pursued by members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.
Promoted as a Black Lives Matter march, Bennifield’s voice was there to support more than just one race.
“I learned that when you say only black lives matter, you are still continuously promoting differences and keeping people away from each other and separating people still,” Bennifield said. “It is not just black lives, Because I am not just black; black is just the color of a Crayon.
“It’s all of our lives matter and that’s why I am out here today standing for that cause and for all good.
“For the people that are doing wrong, they need to be accountable for their actions no matter if you are black, white, Puerto Rican, Chinese or Mexican. We all need to be accountable for our actions.”