Together for justice
Several hundred people flocked to the New Milford Village Green Sunday for a Black Lives Matter protest, “Let Us Breathe.”
The event was organized by a group of residents from New Milford and surrounding towns who met on social media and, in just over 72 hours, coordinated the protest after they said they felt called to come together to call for justice.
The protest was organized following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
One of the organizers, Jennifer Ramey, said she and others felt they had “to do something.”
“If strangers can do this in 72 hours, imagine what we can do in the future for justice,” Ramey related.
Josie Pereira, Heather Fabrega, Pamela Ortega, Chantel Pereira, Jennifer Ray, Christine Mitch and Savannah Hastey joined Ramey in pulling the protest together.
Several speakers, including the organizers, as well as Mayor Pete Bass, Police Chief Spencer Cerruto, made comments and Pastor Frank Santora and Pastor Brandon Dumas of Faith Church in town offered a prayer.
Those in attendance then walked five laps in downtown New Milford, going from Main Street onto Bridge, Railroad and Bennitt streets before heading back down Main Street.
Ramey said they chose the number five because Floyd said he can’t breathe 16 times in five minutes and because the word “unity” has five letters.
The event concluded with guest speaker Wayne Reid, whose older brother Franklyn Reid was shot and killed in 1998 by then-Police Officer Scott Smith, one of several police officers trying to take Reid into custody.
Smith became the first policeman in Connecticut to be tried for murder in connection with actions taken in 1998 while on duty.