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Approximately 100 members of the Bloomfield community gathered on Sunday to march in remembrance of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a White police officer in Minneapolis one week ago.
The peaceful gathering and march that delayed some Sunday afternoon traffic on and around Bloomfield Ave was organized by residents of the township and led by Tsu Surf, a rapper from neighboring Newark. “What we’re not going to do is we’re not going to fuck anybody’s shit up,” Surf said. “We’re not being messy because that’s not what it’s about…It’s about love first.”
Organizers said the march was intended to build solidarity between different racial and ethnic communities in Essex County while protesting racist policing. “We had White people, African Americans, Spanish, gang members, priests, children, females, males. You name it. We had it and formed to be ONE!” Dominic Campione, one of the organizers, shared on Instagram. “This was for sure a protest that we need to stand up and fix what has been going on lately. BUT it was also a message!! A message that not everyone is bad despite where they come from or their skin color!! People can not control where they come from or what they look like. A place you come from or the color of your skin does NOT make you a bad person. We need to wake up and realize that everyone has different stories and paths.”
“It’s okay here to tell somebody that’s White, ‘I love you,'” Surf said in his comments towards the end of the event. “I do not know a white person that I’ve met in real life that I hate.”
The event occurred a day after largely peaceful protests in Newark saw thousands of people come out to march against racist policing and amid similar protests across the country and around the world. Some of those protests have turned violent as police departments escalated their use of force and Amnesty International, a human rights group, called for an end to the “excessive militarized” response to protests.
In response to the local protest, Bloomfield Police appeared in their regular uniforms and had little interaction with those in attendance outside an initial dialogue about the marchers’ plans. Instead, police cars were seen mostly racing to close off streets throughout the township as the march made its way from the Church on the Green to Watsessing Ave and back.
See more from the event below.