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Democracy in Action: Blue Lives, Black Lives, All Lives Matter in Queens & NYC

A Blue Lives Matter Parade Met by a Black Lives Matter Protest

blue lives matter parade sunnyside queens blue lives matter meets black lives matter protesters in sunnyside queens nycAugust 23, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Social Issues NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC.

On Saturday morning around 11 am a Blue Lives Matter parade began on Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Street in Sunnyside Queens. I arrived shortly after it began and followed it up to Joseph Sabba Park where several people were to give speeches to the parade participants and attendees.

 

As the parade arrived at Joseph Sabba Park they were met by a group of Black Lives Matter protesters who were kneeling on the sidewalk holding placards making Black Lives Matter statements. The Blue Lives Matter parade participants paused as they came in direct contact. As I sat there video recording the ‘confrontation’ I wondered whether things might take a turn for the worse and go badly.

 

Blue Lives Matter Parade & Speakers Queens NYC

Whoever was leading the Blue Lives Matter parade, wisely led the Blue Lives Matter parade around the Black Lives Matter protesters - rather than risking walking through them - where someone on one side or another might have escalated the tension to a higher level.

The Blue Lives Matter parade participants and attendees settled in the middle of Joseph Sabba Park and the speeches began. The first speaker, whose name I didn’t catch, spoke supportively of the police and the important work they do in the community. He struck a human chord, noting that the men and women who serve in the police force are dedicated to serving the community, among whom are their own families and children. He ended saying we’re all human.

The second speaker struck a more passionate Blue Lives Matter tone, remarking that the ‘Diaphragm’ Law hindered police from doing their jobs. The Diaphragm Law allows police officers to be subject to a misdemeanor if they constrict a person’s diaphragm in the process of making an arrest.

What I recorded of both of these speeches will be shown in the video.

The signs of the Blue Lives Matter parade participants also showed a range of thoughts and emotions, ranging from striking a supportive and yet harmonious chord, while others were defiantly in support of the police - seeming to ignore the validity of the Black Lives Matter social unrest. They included Enough with the hate, respect goes both ways, to Reform is for criminals, drug addicts and sex offenders.


Democracy in Action: Blue Lives, Black Lives, All Lives Matter in Queens & NYC

A Blue Lives Matter Parade Met by a Black Lives Matter Protest

blue lives matter parade sunnyside queens blue lives matter meets black lives matter protesters in sunnyside queens nycAugust 23, 2020 / NYC Neighborhoods / Social Issues NYC / News Analysis & Opinion / Gotham Buzz NYC. Continued.

 

Black Lives Matter Protesters Attend Blue Lives Matter Gathering in Sunnyside Queens NYC

The Black Lives Matter protesters, also seemed to exemplify the same range of sentiments for the Black Lives Matter side. The sentiments ranged from expressing concern about the loss of Black Lives, comparing the serving of prison time to slavery, All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter, There comes a time when silence is betrayal,

FINISH ADDING SIGNAGE LINES

When one of the Blue Lives Matter speakers veered into passionate, rhetorical phrases that seemed to ignore the essence of the claims made by Black Lives Matter protesters, one of the BLM protesters would play a sound track of a speech made by one of the civil rights leaders in the 1960’s [Malcolm X or Martin Luther King?]. But in spite of the tension, generally both sides struck me as being more or less respectful.

 

NYC is a Microcosm - So We Must be Careful to Distinguish the Acts of Individual(s) versus a Whole Group

blue lives matter parade sunnyside queens blue lives matter meets black lives matter protesters in sunnyside queens nycThis parade and protest are a microcosm of what’s playing out around the nation and contains some lessons. For example in a moment of irony, I photographed a woman of color who was kneeling with a placard asking "What happened to White people" - even as she was surrounded by white people. The reason I point this out is that as I was growing up, my mother repeatedly told me that “all generalizations are false - including this one”.

I think that oftentimes not heeding this sage advice is what leads to people misunderstanding one another. A person of an ethnic, cultural or organizational group is not responsible, per se, for the actions of another person of the same ethnic, cultural or organizational group. Too often someone who has had nothing to do with some tragedy, is victimized because they are from the same ethnic, cultural or organizational identity group. This applies to both members of the police being attacked, as well as African Americans being attacked - neither of whom may have done anything at all to provoke such attacks. In both cases that is misplaced energy - not just because it's targeted at the wrong person(s), but because it's the wrong way to go about making change.

For example someone may have been victimized by a policeman or a person of color, and the victim, their family, friends or identity group may react by attacking someone from the victimizer’s group. The policeman who knelt on George Floyd’s neck is responsible for Floyd’s death - not the rest of the police in the Minneapolis police department nor the police in departments in the rest of the nation. Blaming all of the police for this tragedy just plainly isn’t right (the role of the police on site at the incident is a separate matter), as it’s wrongly laying blame - in many cases - on innocent members of the police department. So blaming the entire group, doesn’t right anything, and likely only makes things worse by escalating the failure of one or a few people to encompass an entire group.

 

Identifying the Decision Makers & those Responsible for Toxic Culture

Now, that said, there are also many cases where the silence of the other members of the police department, regarding these injustices, in some manner makes them complicit. But again, it’s not the entire police department, but rather some key decision makers / influencers. There can be a culture that looks the other way, in which case the organizational leadership must shoulder some of the responsibility. Recently the spotlight has shifted toward looking at the role of the police union leadership in protecting police officers with complaint records, that indicate the officers are not faithfully executing their fiduciary responsibilities in the community.

For example last year NYPBA police union head, Pat Lynch, advocated that the NYPD retain Daniel Pantaleo of Staten Island on the NYPD. Pantaleo was the officer who held African American Eric Garner in a chokehold, which is believed to have been the cause Garner’s death. Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post Editorial Board supported NYPBA union head Lynch by joining him in advocating for retaining Pantaleo - and as seems the way with Rupert Murdoch’s media outlets - they failed to provide their audience with some of the key facts that would have soundly discredited their opinion. Click here to read our report on Murdoch’s NY Post fakes the news. The report also takes a brief look at Australian born billionaire Murdoch's prior use of the police in Britain to bust his printing unions, so he could grab a larger share of the pie.

It's worth noting that NYPBA union head Patrick Lynch also supported the release and return to work of the shooters in the cases of Abner Louima (1997) who was shot when he startled a police officer on patrol in Brooklyn, Amadou Diallo (1999) who the police shot 41 times because they thought his wallet was a gun in the Bronx, and Sean Bell (2006) who was shot 50 times because the police thought he was going to run them down [counter testimony said the plainclothes police didn't identify themselves and brandished their weapons so Bell tried to flee] in Queens - all unarmed African Americans who were shot down by the NYPD in what were questionably threatening situations.

Indirectly, the examples above indicate both Lynch and Murdoch may be obstacles to proper law enforcement and real justice. Lynch for supporting the retention of people who have failed to properly perform their jobs - many failing on repeated occasions - and Murdoch for failing to provide the public with ALL the key facts - not just those that support the OpEd of his NY Post and a narrative he can use to discredit or promote politicians / players who will bend to Murdoch’s will.

 

Free Expression is a Hallmark of our Society - but we Must Learn to Listen to One Another Too

The other thing that struck me was that both sides seemed to ignore listening to one another. One of the Blue Lives Matter speakers didn’t acknowledge that there are policeman who do go astray and do wrong. We know this is the case because we’ve seen it on video so many times just this year alone. But, the Black Lives Matter woman loudly played the civil rights leaders recordings to drown out the Blue Lives Matter speaker, when he was saying things she didn’t want to hear. And perhaps they are things she should acknowledge as well.

Free expression is all American’s right. But free expression only works if people are willing to listen to each other.

America has long been built on compromise, which oftentimes is the negotiation with the few who have much with the many who have little. Change invariable comes from the bottom, because those at the top are just fine with the way things are. President Kennedy said that,

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable."

One of the people who mentored me taught me that in any negotiation it’s always best to start by identifying some things upon which we agree, before moving the discussion onto things upon which we disagreed. The first Blue Lives Matter speaker seemed to do this by remarking that we are all human.

Our shared humanity is a good place to start, but I reckon our humanity is also part of the problem : )

I want to thank both the Blue Lives Matter parade participants and the Black Lives Matter protesters for showing restraint, civility and responsible behavior, as there weren't any physical confrontations.

More photos, video and some of the placard slogans to follow later today.








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