What does unity look like? It looks like several organizations coming together to collectively shut down a business due to its problematic beliefs. How is that done? It’s was accomplished by the combination of several organizations within the 518, led by All of Us and BLX.
Yesterday, the community of Schenectady collectively demonstrated outside of Bumpy’s ice cream shop after racists text messages and symbols were revealed by the owner of the establishment. In a collective fashion, the city of Schenectady effectively shut down the operation Of Bumpy’s for the day, showing that racism and bigotry would not be tolerated in the city.
For so often black unity was perceived to be an abstract concept, a taboo ideal. However, yesterday, between the hours of 4pm to 7 or 8 pm, that concept was a tangible energy that uplifted the spirits of many.
What was witnessed at this moment will be a historical landmark in Schenectady, and for the progression of black people.
Led by All of Us, and BLX, two grassroots organizations dedicated to eradicating white supremacy and its systems collectively marched and occupied space in the street and in the bumpy eating area to shut down the establishment for the day.
The 518 peacekeepers assisted by redirecting traffic and restraining agitators, along with save the city, and the wealth club assisting in the movement. more on that later.
” today was a good outcome, I believe we did what we came out here and accomplished what we set out to do. I believe that we as a community can come together let our voices be heard.” Aaliyah Johnson
Yesterday on June 28th, 2020, The young charismatic leader Mikayla foster of All of Us and the passionate leaders Aliyah Johnson and Khalifa Jackson of BLX led a public demonstration blocking off State street outside of Bumpy’s. A crowd of over a hundred people followed, showing their collective interest in defying bigotry.
The demonstration was in response to recent text messages arising from the owner of the establishment (not to be mistaken with the owner of the land) who stated he “doesn’t hire black people”.
The owner of Bumpys has been known for years to have been racist, as he told the children of Denise Robinson to ” get off my fence you m’fing n****rs”.
Denise has lived next to Bumpy’s for years and has stated that she’s had many run-ins with the Bumpy’s owner where he’s used multiple racial slurs at her and her family.
The owner also had blue lives matter flags displayed on the establishment along with pride flags, two entities that counter each other.
Protesting in marvelous fashion, the crowd covered the street in opposition to the establishment going against what it stood for. Chanting and speaking out against the racism being displayed in their city. Mikayla, Denise, Aaliyah, Khalia, and many others gave their testimony as the crowd shut down the street and peacekeepers deterred traffic, keeping demonstrators from harm.
As the day went on and the demonstration grew larger there were several attempts to agitate and derail the situation, including a strategic plan placed by the owner of the establishment. According to reports, many people had quit once they found the owner’s racists messages, and the owner strategically hired several young black men and put them on schedule during the day of the protest. They were placed there to agitate and entice the crowd, playing loud music to drown out the sounds of the protester’s chants.
However, young leaders galvanized the crowd and were able to drown out the music, moving to a public sit-in. Using the music to their advantage, they peacefully occupied the space of the eating area, chanting and showing their solidarity.
Then, Will Rivas of the Wealth club along with his wife Shantae helped organize a collective initiative in paying the young men who were working the establishment. And just as before, the collection of people pooled their money in to pay the 3 young men over a thousand dollars to split between them, along with jobs to quit the establishment.
The young men named Chase,Rashwan, and Jason who were working at Bumpy’s that day were each provided opportunity to work elsewhere, revealing the collective strategy that the community of Schenectady had provided in this demonstration.
The demonstration was concluded after the young men were paid and quit, with a powerful word by Jamaica Miles of All of Us, motivating the crowd and praising their efforts on this historic day.
Bumpy’s closed for the day, due to the collective effort of the protest. Later that day, after everyone left, the son of the owner came out from the establishment, attempting to incite violence with a cane, however, that was quickly quelled by the 518 peacekeepers who stayed to make sure people left safely.
The young men were paid and given opportunities elsewhere according to reports
This show of solidarity within the community was another addition to how people galvanized behind a cause, a cause that combats racial injustice and systematic oppression without folding under separated leadership as the establishment expects us to do.
Throughout the day, the demonstration showed solidarity as several groups coagulated to effectively shut down an establishment that promotes racism and bigotry. Along with being able to provide for the young men who were used by an owner who sees them as lesser beings.
Speaking to Damoni Farley of All of Us, he praised the unprecedented level of unity displayed by the people and organizations.
“What you see today is an awakening that’s happening across the nation. people are coming out and speaking out against racism-“
” it is a clear demonstration that people are willing to come together and put our differences aside for the greater ideology”
Today above all else was to highlight the brilliance of collective responsibility attacking racism and bigotry for a greater cause. Today was the revelation that people, when called upon can come together, in spite of their differences to combat those that wish to inflict the ideals supporting tyranny on others. By the leadership of All of Us and BLX, the crowd followed and demonstrated what a city can do when they are determined to create change in their community.
Once again, led by the young leadership of Mikayla foster, Aliyah johnson, and Khalifa Jackson a peaceful demonstration with immediate tangible action occurred in Schenectady. With the collective leadership of other groups forging a pact in one day to support and create change within the community.