ITHACA, N.Y. — In response to national outage about the deadly officer involved shooting of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this this week, local Black Lives Matter organizers have planned a march and rally Friday in Ithaca.
People are being asked to gather around 4:15 p.m. at the Southside Community Center, located at 305 S. Plain St. Speeches and chants will happen around 4:30 p.m.and a march to the Bernie Milton Pavilion Stage in the Ithaca Commons will happen around 4:45 p.m. A rally is then expected to take place with more speakers and music at the rally. Nerd-core rapper Sammus is scheduled to perform during the event, as well.
Jhakeem Haltom, Congo Square Market co-founder, said market organizers are working in collaboration with the Black Lives Matter leaders to help with the rally.
When he first heard about the shootings, he said he was felt hurt at the loss of a life at the hands of police, which was furthered by the fact that the victims were black men.
“I think that it’s par for the course and that’s the saddest part, is that there’s a, you know, a kind of numb reality that a historical change that has been promised in many idealistic statements by many people throughout our country’s history (which) has not really hit the road of reality,” he said.
The teaming up of the market with the Black Lives Matters movement was a natural thing to happen in this instance.
Haltom said the market, which celebrated its ninth year this summer, was always meant to counter the typical negative media coverage of the black people and people of color. It’s meant to showcase the talented and positive aspects of marginalized communities. But it’s also meant to allow the rest of the community to interface with groups and services provided from people of color.
“It combats, I think, a lot of negative stereotypes for us to overcome as a people,” he said. That’s where the market’s goals and the BLM goals are the same.
“If people of color develop and get strong, everybody benefits,” he said, including Caucasian people.
Haltom said he can’t speak to exactly what people should expect from the entire event — he expects there will be people there with a lot of different emotions. But he can say that the market organizers will do what they does best: create a positive, festive space featuring the best their community has to offer.
A local Black Lives Matter leader was unavailable for comment before publication.