Black lives matter forum and march held in Massena

Black lives matter forum and march held in Massena

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Residents in St. Lawrence County came together on the streets of Massena to voice their concerns with racial injustice, in response to two incidents in St. Lawrence County.

An educational forum started this morning outside of Emmanuel Congregational United Church of Christ, hosted by the North Country’s Poor People’s Campaign

Reverend Judith VanKennen says the event fell into her lap, but she was excited to use her church as a safe space.

“We didn’t know if it would be possible or not, but due to the restrictions with COVID-19 they said would we be able to host that on the lawn of your church. We are happy to provide space for people,” she said.

The forum topic today was solidarity in black lives.

“What we are trying to do is focus on solidarity between folks from coming from different types of marginalized identities and thinking about how this oppression is connected,” said Jamey Merkel, organizer for the North Country Poor People Campaign.

After the forum, Black Lives Matter organized a peaceful march through town.

Potsdam Black Lives Matter organizer Jennifer Baxtron came forward and spoke to everyone before they marched.

“It’s more about feelings than thoughts. it hurts. And you know we are tired of it and more people to need to stand up to change this,” she said.

They began marching from the church with flags and signs, went all the way down to the school district in Massena, and then turned back to head for the police department headquarters.

Baxtron is asking the public to listen to what they have to say, and come together to have more conversations.

“People got to stand up and talk to their coworkers, their teachers, their family members, whoever it is, stand up to them and teach them,” she said.

Saturday’s organizers say this is a good step in the right direction.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.