Dear GVCP Member,
SUNY Geneseo students have planned a march at 4:00 PM Tuesday, June 9th. This march will begin shortly after the 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM demonstration of solidarity ends.
It’s an independent event. Organizer Awab Shawkat has sent GVCP the following:
As students of color, we are really wary of institutionally-sanctioned acts of resistance that too often do little more than quell the guilt of privilege-perpetuating institutions like SUNY Geneseo. For this reason, we are planning our own socially-distanced march once the demonstration is over yet everyone is still convened. [See below.]
[It is extremely important for] GVCP members to join students of color when we mobilize and march. . . .
GVCP’s presence would be invaluable in legitimizing the agency of minority students, as sad a reality as that is, and it would sway Geneseo’s community consciousness visibly towards radical action.
March route will begin at the Village Park and march through the campus green and Wadsworth St to Court St. . . . At Court St, we will make a right and stop at the county courthouse. Once we reach the county seat, we will begin chants and rallies that will hopefully reach the prisoners and guards behind the courthouse.
After rallying there, we will march [south] down Main St back to the Village Park. On the way, we will briefly stop at President Battle’s House (15 Main St). The march will only be three people wide at most and maintain a distance of 6 feet between each walking segment.
The Geneseo Police Department has told organizers it is impossible for them to close down Main Street. Main Street, however, has been closed for more trivial matters in the past than speaking out against the systemic oppression of Black lives. [For example, the opening of the Hunt Season. AHM] The urgency of this crisis necessitates civil disobedience and we are asking those safe to do so to join us in marching down Main Street against police orders. Police will be made aware of our intention to march against their wishes ahead of time.
Emma Mandella, Thasfia Chowdhury, and I plan to speak at the 2:00 p.m. demonstration stating our community demands, and alerting everyone at the demonstration about our intention to march afterward. The local organizers of the 2:00 p.m. demonstration are not affiliated with the march.
GVCP will support this march. We’ll be there with the banner and bullhorn. As Awab has told us, there may be civil disobedience when the march moves down Main Street from the courthouse. However, GVCP members can choose to remain on the sidewalk, which is legal. Others can walk down Main Street, which, in this case, may be considered illegal. If you are planning to participate in nonviolent civil disobedience, you’ll be supported by GVCP, but you should be aware that you could be arrested. I’ll send updates if something about this changes. It’s important to know that you can participate fully in the march and that you do not need to do anything illegal.
Many GVCP members—including Margaret Anne and I—may be too tired to be at the demonstration and then participate in the entire march. It will be perfectly honorable to leave at 3:30 PM. It would be better to wait until 4:00 PM to see the march begin, or participate but exit early. Or, of course, to participate from beginning to end. That’s up to each person.
The weather prediction is for sunny and 91 degree temperatures on Tuesday. Bring hats and suntan lotion. Bring water. Maybe bring chairs—it’s OK to sit down!
From Awab: Any water and snacks your members could bring would also be greatly appreciated! All donations can be dropped off at my house, 72 2nd St, Geneseo NY 14454 [side porch], and my house can serve as a rest stop for any protestors who need shade or sustenance. It is the yellow house directly behind the Geneseo Post Office and is close enough for protestors to easily access from the Village Park. The porches and basement will be open to all with supplies even if I am not there. Some students also plan to have multiple water bottles and snacks on them at the march too.
Everyone’s health is a priority during these demonstrations and we ask that you remind your members to please arrive with gloves, masks, and all the necessary PPE to keep the demonstrations safe. We also ask that your members not come within 6 feet of people who they were not already previously exposed to and to make their own signs. There is ample free parking on Second Street and the public lot behind the town hall.
For more information from Awab, contact him at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
This is the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to make our voices heard for racial justice and to show our solidarity with people of color!
See you there.
Arnie Matlin for GVCP