ITHACA, N.Y. – At Ithaca’s Southside Community Center Friday evening, a palpable sense of anger, fear and sadness emanated from a group of hundreds of people as they mourned black men and women who’ve been killed by police or white supremacy.

The rally and march to the Commons was sparked by the killing of two black men by police this week: Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.

During the Southside rally, people standing in the rain listened to organizers call for change through radical revolution, rather than complacency or trying to make political or police systems work on behalf of equity for black people, people of color and other marginalized groups.

“No more reforms! No more waiting until tomorrow! No more empty statements from politicians like Mayor Svante (Myrick)!” said Dubian Ade, an organizer affiliated with Black Lives Matter: Ithaca.

Cornell professor Russell Rickford echoed this sentiment, saying that he was tired of waiting for reforms of police departments and small concessions from elected leaders on the issue of police brutality.

“We charge genocide,” said Rickford, rattling off the United Nations’ definition of genocide and accusing the United States political establishment of complicity in police shootings.

When one demonstrator suggested that community members write letters to national law enforcement organizations about the Black Lives Matter movement, Rickford countered that “the fraternal order of police is a terrorist organization” and that more radical action must be taken.

The crowd dispersed toward the Ithaca Commons reading the names of people who’d been killed, many recently, by police.

After each name was read, they demanded, “Say his name….Say her name!”

This is a developing story. More will be posted on the second rally at the Commons, along with post-rally interviews. 

All photos by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice.