Middletown Students Protest in Asbury Park

On Monday, June 1, 2020, a protest to seek justice for George Floyd who was horrifically killed by a police officer last week in Minnesota, was held in Asbury Park, NJ. This protest was one of many that have been seen across the country in recent days, and showcased speakers, including Rutgers Professor, Kerry Butch and CEO of Help not Handcuffs, Randy Thompson and a march through the streets of Asbury Park. (Several protesters were arrested late in the day for violating the town’s emergency curfew.) Several South students attended the event; here, they share their experiences.

“The Asbury Park protest was definitely extremely positive and hopeful,” explains senior Charlotte Behrend. “The speakers really shed light on their experiences as Asbury Park residents. There was absolutely no violence on the protesters’ side. That is something that I really want to stress because I know we’re being fed this narrative of violent looters, but that’s not the case and it certainly wasn’t here.” 

Senior Bridie Howlett emphasizes the peacefulness of the day: “I got there right at 5, so I was primarily in the back, but there were countless signs and beautiful speeches being given, and it was 100% peaceful. A lot of chants ranged from ‘no justice, no peace’ to ‘I can’t breathe.’ You could honestly hear a pin drop whenever it was someone’s turn to speak.”

Cameron Gillen, who stood directly near the speakers, states, “It was great to hear from the speakers and to stand in solidarity with so many people.”

Laura Durante agrees with the feeling of power she experienced, surrounded by fellow protesters: “It felt very powerful to see so many people protesting a corrupt and unjust system, chanting things such as ‘enough is enough’ and ‘no justice, no peace.’ This is definitely not a time to stay silent, especially if you are white.” 

Liz Reavey explains that to prevent the spread of COVID-19, “they all were trying to social distance as much as possible.” Aside from this, Durante notes “almost everyone was wearing a mask.”

For information about any future protests in the area, visit https://jerseyblacklivesmatter.carrd.co/#njprotests.