Silence in the face of injustice is complicity

To the Editor:

What began as a six-person protest transformed into an entire community rallying in solidarity around the Black Lives Matter movement. Horrified by the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, my friends and I decided to do the only thing we could think of: protest.

We created handmade signs and gathered at the intersections of routes 155 and 20 at 5 p.m. on Friday June 5, what would have been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. We were unsure of how we would be received, but after several honks, waves, and many peace signs, we got the impression that our community of Guilderland might be just as horrified as we were.

Following that warm reception, we decided to peacefully protest again the next Friday, at the same time and place, but this time we wanted to invite anyone who wished to join in the fight against racial injustice. Much to our surprise and delight, Guilderland showed up, and in a big way! Over the course of the next week, more than 300 people expressed interest in attending the event.

On the day of the demonstration, I arrived to see well over a hundred peaceful protestors on that exact corner where only the six of us had been the week prior. The energy was palpable and I began to feel that there had been a longing for this type of movement locally for quite some time.

It was the largest peaceful protest we had seen in Guilderland and we were excited that our town came out in support of racial justice. Many took to the street to stage an impromptu kneel-in, which while unorganized by our rally served to highlight the passion of the protesters.

We apologize if small businesses were affected by the demonstration but are proud that our community pushed its boundaries to add its voice to the call for change. Silence in the face of injustice is complicity, and we must not be silent any longer.

Our mission for the peaceful protest was simple: We wanted to bring people together to amplify the Black Lives Matter movement in our community. Guilderland being a small and predominantly (86 percent) white town, the cause had not been publicly acknowledged in the same way that it had in the cities like Schenectady, Albany, and Troy.

We wanted to support the movement by educating our community on the Black Lives Matter platform through resources and materials. We also sought to show solidarity with our neighbors of color by opposing the horrific injustices perpetuated in this country as a result of systemic racism.

This starts with police reform but extends to addressing the social and economic inequalities that maintain BIPOC [Black and Indigenous People of Color] oppressed within our country. We wanted our neighbors to know that their lives matter to us.

Now more than ever it is time to use our voices to stand up for the Black women, men, and all people of color. Silence and inaction lead to complacency, which equates to the loss of human life.

Now is not the time to be discouraged; now is not the time to walk away from things that make you uncomfortable. We will continue to fight for social justice by amplifying the voices of the Black Lives Matter movement in our community and know there are many of you who will join us. This is certainly not the last you will see of us and we thank you all deeply for your support.

In solidarity,

Taylor Taranto and

Margaret Scatena


Editor’s note: On June 6, a peaceful march in support of Black Lives Matter was held in Altamont, a village in the town of Guilderland, which attracted about 100 people.


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