Princeton resident Shariese Katrell didn’t feel the first two Black Lives Matter marches she organized properly conveyed her message, so she’s arranged a third.
BlackLivesMatter: Equality Coalition March will take place Aug. 1 in Princeton to raise community awareness for racism and funds to create an official nonprofit New Jersey Black Lives Matter chapter. The event will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Princeton Family YMCA parking lot, located at 159 Paul Robeson Place.
The march will feature speakers and performers from varying backgrounds to share in the march’s main objective: to bring diverse people together to learn why Black lives matter, lead organizer Katrell said.
The march is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the national protests held following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police in May after an officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest.
Katrell’s first BLM event was held June 13 as an assembly. The second was a march on July 12 organized with the support of Princeton University Athletics.
Organizing this third event came together because of a joint feeling between Katrell and her two co-organizers that the July 12 march did not fully encapsulate the main objective to educate and bring awareness to why the lives of people of color matter.
Katrell is working with co-organizers Nakeisha Holmes-Ammons, founder of Black Mothers Rising, and musician Ranjit Arapurakal.
“Along with my co organizers, I want to focus on how can we bring more African American and Black and Brown people to the community,” Katrell said. “How we can create more affordable housing, how we can create Black businesses in Princeton, and how we can educate individuals in the community about the history of Princeton when it comes to Black and Brown people.”
The team felt that the issues of racism and police brutality were not clearly established at the last event and that individual speakers were focused on rather than the overall message of Black Lives Matter.
“The message put out there was not about the community,” Katrell said.
They felt the focus of the event was on a Princeton athlete who spoke about his experiences relating to the Black Lives Matter movement. A video was posted by Princeton Athletics of sections of the march and the speaker.
“Individuals in this society should look beyond stereotypical stigmas of Black and Brown men and women; we are not just athletes, entertainers, and cooks; encouraging and embracing how Black and Brown people are intelligent, leaders, and helped build this country is important to educational history. I will continue to stand up for the violation of civil rights and injustices of Black and Brown people,” co-organizer Holmes-Ammons said in a press release. “Love doesn’t need to be taught, hatred needs to be unlearned.”
Other speakers at the July 12 event, not shown in the video, included assemblyman Andrew Zwicker and Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert.
The team decided to include additional speakers for the Aug. 1 event during a stop at Hinds Plaza. This is intended to incorporate more people in town in the event. Some speakers and performers will be from the past events while others, such as YWCA executive director Tay Walker, will bring new voices to the event.
There will be about five speakers at Hinds Plaza and five more at the final stop on the march at Princeton Family YMCA.
This event is the last one Katrell plans to organize at this time as she will be returning to studying her graduate degree in education.
The event will start at 1:30 p.m. at the Princeton Family YMCA parking lot, and will follow down Paul Robeson Place to Tulane Street, turn right on Nassau Street and then right on Witherspoon Street, where around 2:30 p.m. speakers will be featured at Hinds Plaza. The march will continue at 3:45 p.m. up Paul Robeson Place and end at Princeton Family YMCA. There at 4 p.m. additional speakers, music and performances will be held. The march is set to conclude at 5:30 p.m.
Attendees are asked to wear masks, maintain social distancing guidelines and bring water.
A Facebook event has been created for the BlackLivesMatter: Equality Coalition March.