After last Saturday’s Black Lives Matter march and protest in Rye that drew 1,000 people, the local Rye high school alum organizers Cristiana Villani and Amanda Yannett shared with MyRye.com thoughts about what’s next:
We are just starting. We need to keep the movement going and keep people involved and not go “back to normal”. We need people to now take action, to not just vote, but also communicate with local government about the legislation we want passed and the issues we are concerned about. We need to have the local school officials get on board with offering new curriculum that aligns with the petition recent alumni have been pushing. It is crucial that those who truly believe in the Black Lives Matter movement go beyond doing what they are doing now and push themselves, their family and their friends to do more.
I hope everyone felt the energy that radiated off our speakers. We need to use this energy to keep going and take tangible actions. Our speakers gave Rye residents a lot to think about. For example, why is it that the Port Chester/Rye NAACP has never been mentioned in our papers? Rye needs to start embracing diversity and acknowledging their implicit and explicit biases and prejudices. We need to be okay with having conversations that make us uncomfortable. We should encourage and embrace constructive criticism from our black community members. We need to educate ourselves and advocate for long overdue policy changes and police reform. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order – the ‘New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative’ positions Rye residents, the police department, and elected officials to truly start working together. Police forces have about 10 months to develop a reform plan but will Rye be able to keep up this momentum? I hope we will continue to come together and demand justice and change because this is just the beginning.