Several hundred people marched from Five Points (the center of New Bern’s black community) to Union Point Park, near where the city was founded in 1710, in a continuing and so far peaceful demonstration against racism in the United States.

Like others around the world, the demonstration in New Bern was in response to the slaying of George Floyd by Minneapolis, MN, police on May 25. If you don’t know who George Floyd is by now, you seriously need to get out more often. And if you don’t think racism is a problem in the United States, then you probably are one.

Another demonstration the week prior started at Five Points and ended in front of City Hall in Downtown New Bern.

Both protests drew hundreds of protesters, but the Sunday, June 7 protest appeared to be double in size or more.

Though the event was organized by both blacks and non-blacks, blacks led the protest Sunday, while most of the protesters were not black.

In a way, it represented the movement across the nation, where whites are speaking out against the systemic and societal racism that has plagued the nation since 150 years before it declared independence.

Important to note: All protests in the United States over the George Floyd slaying have been peaceful, unless provoked by law enforcement or by President Trump himself. Riots and looting have also occurred, and while they may be due to anger welled up over lifetimes because of (or in some cases in defense of) racism, they have nothing to do with the protests that have taken place.

Here is a New Bern Post video of the June 7 protest at Union Point:


 

And here are some pictures (Credit: Mark Foster):

 

8 Comments

  1. I have always enjoyed your work and talking to you at various events over the 6 years we have been here in New Bern. But you just lost me completely with the “Important to Note”.

    ALL protests… I don’t think so. A broad clearly incorrect generalization like that throws everything else you write into the highly suspect pile.

    Peaceful unless provoked by Trump? No. The demonstrators are weak minded enough that worthless blather from the President sends them into fits of rioting and looting? Ridiculous.

    Rioting and looting due to anger that welled up over a lifetime…. Preposterous. The rioters and looters, are local opportunists who are disgracing the cause and the memory, and death, of George Floyd. With no respect for society. Very, very, sad.

    If you want to write an editorial, by all means do so. Don’t slip it into what was an otherwise interesting, factual, and informative news article that reflects on a lot of what is positive in this town.

  2. Mark Eckert hit the nail on the head.

  3. Mr. Eckert,

    To the issue of who is responsible for the violence, there is ample video footage, as well as arrest records, and plenty of social media content (e.g. Trump’s own twitter account) to support the notion that the vast majority (maybe not every, single incident) was initiated by the police and incited by white people (from the right and the left).

    Piles of bricks are being placed in the middle of urban areas (this has also happened in Hong Kong), to attempt to create a context for protestors’ violence and to justify the use of more violence by the police. Black leaders and other leaders are posting about this AND asking people to PLEASE refrain from violent or aggressive actions.

    There is tons of footage of people standing there with their hands up and getting shot, point blank in the face with mace by police in riot gear. They are macing, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds with children in them.

    Trump clear the lawn of the Episcopal Church in D.C. of protestors with tear gas and riot police SO THAT HE COULD GET A PHOTO OP of himself holding a Bible. The Church leaders have spoken out strongly in opposition to this violence.

    Perhaps it is not accurate to say “ALL” (rarely is that ever the case in my experience, regardless of the matter at hand), but to deny the responsibility and give a total pass to Trump and the police is most definitely not an accurate assessment of the situation.

    Also calling “the demonstrators” “weak minded” or suggesting that they are having “fits of rioting and looting” is certainly not based in fact. The police are having fits of rioting on peaceful protesters all around our nation. The police (and, sorry, but also the military) have been looting, violently around the globe and here at home for centuries.

    How can you, or anyone else, demand respect for society from people who are being murdered, denied access to a living wage, affordable healthcare, nutrition, education (that doesn’t just replicate the race and class structure, except for a few examples of individual achievement propped up to support the meritocratic myth of living in America), and have toxic waste dumped in their communities, and land plus other resources constantly being stripped away from those communities?

    Respect has to be earned. It has to be deserved. And to pretend that this only applies to one segment of society (that some people are automatically deserving of respect and others are automatically demanded to demonstrate it) well this is a huge double standard, and it is also a big part of the cultural framework that supports structural racism and white supremacy.

    And I mean you no disrespect.

    Thank you for covering and writing this piece, Randy.

  4. Also, I would like to amend what I said about respect. I think that everyone is deserving of respect, literally everyone – even other than human beings. So, I would be more accurate to say that respect has to be mutual, and earned through demonstrating that – which is not what we have seen happening in our country since its before its inception.

  5. I disagree, Mr. Eckert. All protests HAVE been peaceful and come from a place of concern for the community as a whole. The problem Starts with the semantics (words are important) of your reply. Protesters and rioters are 2 very different things. In my research and experience, Mr. Foster is correct. Those demonstrating to end police violence and racism as a whole HAVE arrived with good intentions and do not tend to violence until provoked.
    Luckily, our police force in New Bern has been supportive of the walks and demonstrations and rally’s. But this is not the case in many places, where they are gassed and violently pushed back in state sanctioned attempts to squash the first amendment right to free speech and protest they are attempting to execute. Bear in mind that the president of the United States has encouraged violence from his constituency on several occasions in the past, the most recent his ‘liberate’ tweets to reopen America folks.
    Reporting these facts does not alter the tenor of Mr. Foster’s article, and in no way shifts the focus from news to editorial.
    It makes me sad that a report on a positive example of the use of the above mentioned American rights is rejected out of hand because of blind allegiance to a man in a bunker.

  6. Mr. Eckert,

    To the issue of who is responsible for the violence, there is ample video footage, as well as arrest records, and plenty of social media content (including Trump’s own twitter account), to support the notion that the vast majority of the violence (maybe not every, single incident) was initiated by the police and/or incited by white people (from the right and the left). Off-duty and under-cover cops are being paid to initiated violence.

    Piles of bricks are being placed in the middle of urban areas (this has also been documented in Honk Kong), to attempt to create a context for protesters’ violence, thereby justifying MORE violence by the police. Black leaders and other leaders are posting about this AND asking people to PLEASE refrain from violent or aggressive actions.

    There is tons of footage of people standing there with their hands up and getting shot, point blank in the face with mace – by police in riot gear. They are macing people, shooting tear gas and rubber bullets into crowds with children in them. Of people exercising their Constitutional rights. Oh, and have you seen a rubber bullet? I have seen pictures of them posted online. Take a look?

    Trump cleared the lawn of the Episcopal Church in D.C. of peacful protestors, with tear gas and riot police SO THAT HE COULD GET A PHOTO OP of himself standing at the church and holding a Bible. The Church leaders have condemned this action and spoken out, more broadly, in opposition against this violence.

    Perhaps it is not accurate to say “ALL” (rarely is that ever the case in my experience, regardless of the matter at hand), but to deny the responsibility that is very clear, here, and give a total pass to Trump and the police is, most definitely, not an accurate assessment of the situation.

    Also calling the “demonstrators” “weak minded,” or suggesting that they are having “fits of rioting and looting, is certainly not based in fact. The police are having fits of rioting on peaceful protestors all around our nation. The police (and, sorry, but also the military) have been looting, violently, around the globe and here at home for centuries.

    How can you, or anyone else, demand respect for society from people who are being murdered, denied access to a living wage, affordable healthcare, nutrition, education (that doesn’t just replicate the race and class structure, except for a few examples of individual achievement that prop up and are propped up by the meritocratic myth that is such a part of American culture), and have toxic waste dumped in their communities, and land plus other resources constantly being stripped away from those communities? These things affect Black people, Indigenous people, and other people of color the most, BY FAR. They also affect a lot of White people, too.

    Respect has to be earned and deserved….and to pretend that this only applies to one segment of society (that some people are automatically deserving of respect and others are automatically required to demonstrate it)? Well, this is a huge double standard, and it is also a big part of the cultural framework that supports structural racism/white supremacy.

    And I mean you no disrespect.

    Thank you for covering and writing this piece, Randy.

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