Dozens of people participated in the “Independence Day March” against injustice, a July 4 protest at Gloucester’s waterfront, organized by a group of college and high school students called Demilitarize Gloucester.
The event began with speeches at the Stage Fort Park gazebo, then marched down the Boulevard to the Cut Bridge, where the group lay silently on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in memorial to George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25.
“On July 4th at 5:00pm (Independence Day) we will be coming together in Stage Fort Park, Gloucester MA (at the gazebo) to engage in a protest/march to show the people of Gloucester and other communities that we will not celebrate a holiday that celebrates an oppressive country,” organizers wrote on Instagram. “As long as there is racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and all other kinds of discrimination and oppression in America, we will not celebrate this country.”
• “We are demanding reform for the curriculum of the Gloucester Public Schools education system to include the important teachings of racial injustice that is found in both the law enforcement system and in America as a whole. We also demand that students be more properly educated on the truths of American society, both the good and the bad. Finally, we demand that Glouceter Public Schools be granted a larger budget in order to facilitate a healthy and impactful learning environment. Together, we can create change, and although any change we make as individuals seems small, it becomes much bigger when we all put the effort in together.”
• “We demand the initiative to create safe spaces for Black and Brown people in public and private schools, as well as other public domains.”
• “We demand that all teachers or people in positions of leadership are required to take racial education training, de-escalation training, mediation training.”
• “We demand all teachers educating students about Black history, Native American history, or any subjects that necessitate a non-white lense be taught by Black, Indigenous, or other Non-Black people of color.”
• “We demand consequences for acts of bigotry in Gloucester so inappropriate behaviors can be corrected in instances of discrimination concerning race, gender, sexuality, and disability. We will not tolerate discrimination and prejudice.”
• “We demand that American symbols of racism and colonialism be prohibited and replaced with true heroes of America.”
• “We demand that we replace all 4th of July festivities with events for mourning, critical thought such as educational workshops, a celebration of black, indigenous, and other Non-Black people of color’s culture, and initiatives for supporting BIPOC mental health.”
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