We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to gather and #March2Justice.
April 13 started with about 250 people in Staten Island to rally and motivate our marchers, including elected officials such as Senator Gustavo Rivera, NYS 79th District Assemblyman Michael Blake, former NYC Comptroller John Liu, NYC councilman Andy King, NYC Councilwoman Deb Rose (Staten Island), 1199SEIU President George Gresham, 45th NYC council member Jumaane Williams, Rev. Michael Livingston (Executive Minister at The Riverside Church), Executive Director of Life Camp Erica Ford, and many more.
— RYTF (@RockawayYouth) April 13, 2015
Fifty individuals were authorized to cross the Outerbridge Crossing and did so arm-in-arm with March2Justice director, Justice League co-founder, and Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice Carmen Perez, March2Justice co-chairs Tamika Mallory, and Linda Sarsour. The remaining marchers greeted the bridge crossers on the other side to begin their 18-mile journey to New Brunswick. Highlights from Day One included beautiful weather, high energy from all participants, and multiple points throughout the day where marchers sang songs of freedom, church hymnals and inspirational music. Assemblyman Michael Blake walked the entire way with marchers to New Brunswick, as did 1199 SEIU President George Gresham and NYC council member Jumaane Williams. We broke for lunch in a parking lot, and were treated to a delicious meal of maple grilled cheese sandwiches and quinoa salad donated to us by Snow Day Food Truck.
— #March2Justice (@LeslieMac) April 13, 2015
Snowday is run by Drive Change, a New York-based organization that trains and employs formerly incarcerated youth in hopes of helping them find work and keeping them out of prison. The food they serve is made with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. The team on the Snow Day truck stayed with us last night and will serve us lunch again today before heading back to New York City.
The communities the marchers walked through exuded mostly positive energy, including a man and his young daughter who came running outside to hand out water to marchers on the route. Several people throughout the day stopped their cars to ask what the marchers were doing and when they found out, most asked to either walk a portion of the way or took pictures, especially when they found out about the three-pronged Justice Package being delivered to Congress at the end of the march.
As expected, a lot of folks ended their day with blisters and sun-burned faces as a result of their nearly 6-hour journey on the roads, highways and through neighborhoods. The highlight of the day came in the form of a large welcome reception, dinner and rally at the Willing Heart Community Center in Newark, NJ where marchers were greeted by 250-275 people clapping and ready to welcome them with hugs, prayer, and words of encouragement. Dinner commenced and marchers were treated to a dance and musical tribute and words of support and encouragement from the father of Jordan Davis (Mr. Ron Davis) and Raymond Santana and Yusef Salaam (of the Central Park Five – also Justice League members), among many other community leaders.
For more information on the March2Justice, visit www.march2justice.com or follow Justice League NYC on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or the hashtags #March2Justice and #WhyWeMarch to keep up with the march in real-time.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty