North country lawmakers, Black Lives Matter issue statements on Massena noose incident

North country lawmakers, Black Lives Matter issue statements on Massena noose incident
Black Lives Matter Potsdam released a photo of the noose found at a Massena home. (Source: Black Lives Matter Potsdam)

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Several north country politicians have released a joint statement on reports of a noose found in a Black family’s yard in Massena.

The statement, which is below, comes from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, St. Lawrence County Legislature Chair Joe Lightfoot, state Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, and state senators Patty Ritchie and Joe Griffo.

“This disgusting display of racism must be thoroughly investigated, and the criminals found responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This hateful display has no place in the North Country – or anywhere in our nation – and we condemn it in the strongest terms. This is a pivotal moment in our country where we must come together to work against this abhorrent behavior to ensure it never happens again in our communities. We call for a full investigation until the criminals are found and prosecuted, and we stand with the affected family in Massena and grieve with them.”

Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter Potsdam issued its own statement Tuesday. It’s planning a peaceful march this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. starting from the Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ at 39 West Orvis Street in Massena. Social distancing and masks will be required.

The following is the full statement:

Black Lives Matter Potsdam is condemning the recent crime of leaving a noose at a Black family’s home in Massena, New York, on Saturday, July 25. They plan a peaceful march to protest this action on Saturday, August 1 at 2:30 p.m. The organization has led the community in speaking out for racial justice since June 1, 2020 when they began holding rallies to protest the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, including an initial event that attracted nearly 1,000 participants. Jennifer Baxtron, the leader of Black Lives Matter Potsdam, stated: “Leaving a noose in the yard of a Black family is a clear and dangerous threat. It is a hate crime, and an act of the ongoing racism here. It’s past time for this hate that is being exposed daily to stop.” She added, “We will not be silent, we will speak up. We will fight against this ignorance and we need the White people of St. Lawrence County to join us, to step up for their Black neighbors. Your silence is not acceptable.” To date, Black Lives Matter Potsdam has held over 70 peaceful and socially-distanced events, including daily vigils in the village, a Juneteenth picnic, five marches and rallies, and a community meeting. The ‘BLM Protect Black Lives March’ to protest this act of hate will be held on August 1, 2020 at 2:30 p.m., starting from the Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ at 39 W. Orvis St., Massena NY. Organizers state that all peaceful protesters are welcomed and that social distancing and masks are required. It will be held immediately following a previously scheduled Forum on Racial and Economic Justice, hosted by the North Country Poor People’s Campaign, to be held just prior to the march, from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m., at the church the march will depart from. BLM Potsdam can be reached at blm.noco@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, Massena police said Tuesday the case is still under investigation.

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