Black Lives Matter Potsdam calls on whites to step up, protect Black people

Black Lives Matter Potsdam calls on whites to step up, protect Black people
Black Lives Matter Potsdam released a photo of the noose found at a Massena home. (Source: Black Lives Matter Potsdam)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Black Lives Matter Potsdam is calling on white people in St. Lawrence County to step up and protect Black people.

BLM Potsdam issued a statement Thursday condemning the “recent hate crimes” in Massena and Canton.

On Wednesday, Canton Mayor Michael Dalton said two racist chalk messages were discovered on sidewalks in the village - one on Court Street and the other on Judson Street.

The message left in pink chalk on the sidewalk of Court Street said, “Die, N...a.”

In Massena, a Black family found a noose at their Massena home on Saturday.

“Leaving a noose in the yard of a Black family is a clear and dangerous threat. Writing “Die N**” on village streets is a clear statement of malice. These are just the latest acts of the ongoing racism that exists deeply here in St. Lawrence County. It is past time for this hate that is exposed daily to stop,” said BLM Potsdam.

The statement said Black lives need to be protected not only by law enforcement but also by the community.

“White people of St. Lawrence County, you have to step up and protect Black people. Stop passing over the racism and ignoring the discrimination, scare tactics, assaults, and harassment. Don’t be afraid to call out your racist friend, family member, co-worker, boss, teacher, or classmate. Your silence is not acceptable. Your silence is a big part of the problem,” said BLM Potsdam.

The group invites the community to participate in a march at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. It will begin at Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ at 39 West Orvis Street in Massena.

“Black Lives Matter Potsdam views silence as complicity, and each of us needs to help our community be a safe place for everyone who lives here, regardless of their skin tone,” the statement said.

Just prior to the march, there will be a forum on racial and economic justice, hosted by the North Country Poor People’s Campaign. It will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the church.

Black Lives Matter Potsdam also welcomes the community to join the group at its daily socially-distanced rally in front of the Post Office at 21 Elm Street in Potsdam every day of the week from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Read the full statement below:

Black Lives Matter Potsdam condemns the recent hate crimes in Massena and Canton. Leaving a noose in the yard of a Black family is a clear and dangerous threat. Writing “Die N**” on village streets is a clear statement of malice. These are just the latest acts of the ongoing racism that exists deeply here in St. Lawrence County. It is past time for this hate that is exposed daily to stop.

We will not be silent, we will speak up. We will fight against this ignorance. Black lives need to be protected not only by Law Enforcement but also by the community.

White people of St. Lawrence County, you have to step up and protect Black people. Stop passing over the racism and ignoring the discrimination, scare tactics, assaults, and harassment. Don’t be afraid to call out your racist friend, family member, co-worker, boss, teacher, or classmate. Your silence is not acceptable. Your silence is a big part of the problem.

We invite the good people of our community who condemn this act to join us at 2:30 this Saturday for the BLM Protect Black Lives March. We will march in peace, against the hate, and ask people to stand up as a community to reject all racism. Now is the time to stand and be counted, Massena.

Black Lives Matter Potsdam views silence as complicity, and each of us needs to help our community be a safe place for everyone who lives here, regardless of their skin tone.

Before the march, there will be a Forum on Racial and Economic Justice, hosted by the North Country Poor People’s Campaign, on August 1 from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ (39 W. Orvis St.) in Massena. The BLM Protect Black Lives March will depart the church following the Forum.

Black Lives Matter Potsdam also welcomes you and your family to join us at our daily socially-distanced rally in front of the Post Office at 21 Elm St. in Potsdam, every day of the week from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. for the foreseeable future. BLM Potsdam can be contacted at blm.noco@gmail.com.

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