Hundreds Of Protestors March Peacefully In Township For Racial Justice, Equality

Franklin native Jasmin Bonner leads hundreds of protest marchers through the streets of Franklin in a Black Lives Matter-sponsored event on May 31.

Hundreds of protesters – possibly up to 1,000 – took to the streets of Franklin on May 31 to call for for an end to institutionalized violence against African-Americans.

Organized by Black Lives Matter, the protestors gathered at Franklin Middle School – Hamilton Street campus – before marching down Hamilton Street and turning onto Franklin Boulevard.

Chanting “Black Lives Matter,” “No Peace, No Justice,” “I Can’t Breathe,” among others, the protestors walked without incident to the parking lot of St. Sharbel Church, Franklin Boulevard and Easton Avenue, where a short rally was held.

The march was triggered by the murder of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, who video shows died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

All four officers involved in the incident have been fired and one, Derek Chauvin, was charged with 3rd Degree Murder and Manslaughter. Charges for the other three have not yet been announced.

Release of the video has sparked days of uprising in at least 100 cities across the country, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., Los Angeles and New York City.

Many of those protests in the larger cities turned violent, with buildings and automobiles being burned and stores being looted.

Reports say that at least some of the damage has been caused by white supremacist provocateurs – known as the “Boogaloo Boys” for their wish for a new civil war, or ‘boogaloo” – who are trying to discredit the Black Lives Matter movement.

Tune in to the Franklin Reporter & Advocate’s Facebook page at 7 p.m. June 1 for the Franklin Reporter & Advocate News Hour live broadcast. We’ll be speaking with Jasmin Bonner and Braun Wright, the organizers of the May 31 march, and Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a longtime fascist-fighter.

But none of that was in evidence May 31st as the mass of protesters made their way through the township.

From St. Sharbel’s church, the group marched up Easton Avenue, at times taking up two lanes of traffic, as they meandered their way through residential streets before eventually returning to Hamilton Street and the FMS campus.

Police presence was light during the march; the most they were seen was on the way back to the school, when they blocked traffic to help the marchers make their way down streets.

Prior to the march, organizer Jasmin Bonner of Black Lives Matter said that while the Floyd murder triggered the protest, it was not the only reason she wanted to take to the streets.

“It’s also because of Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, many other people,” she said. “It’s not just him. The last straw was him. The conversations need to be had, very uncomfortable conversations need to be had on both sides.”

Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American from Miami Gardens, Florida, who was killed by George Zimmerman, who said he was defending himself from an attack. Zimmerman was eventually acquitted of a murder charge.

Eric Garner was killed on July 17, 2014, after he was put in a choke hold by New York City patrolman Daniel Pantaleo while Garner was being arrested for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island. A Grand Jury declined to indict Pantaleo for the death, but New York City later settled with the Garner family for $5.9 million. Pantaleo was fired in 2019 after an administrative judge recommended the action.

“It’s time for a change, it’s time for acknowledgement, it’s time for accountability,” she said. “It needs to start today.”

Braun Wright, a co-organizer of the event and founder of the group Melanated Minds of New Jersey, said, “We lived in Frankin, I still live in Franklin. This is a bout all of us, if it can happen to him (Floyd), it can happen to me, it can happen to any of us.”

“And if it can happen to the black community, it can happen to any community,” she said. “It takes a toll on all of us.”

The Franklin Reporter & Advocate live-streamed the entire May 31 march:

BLACK LIVES MATTER…. .The March in its entirety ….Franklin Township passionate, peaceful protesting….so proud to have been a part of this tremendous outpouring…

Posted by The Franklin Reporter & Advocate on Sunday, May 31, 2020

Here are some scenes from the day:

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