Albany, NY— Hundreds of Capital District residents, civil rights advocates and community leaders rallied for Black Lives today at Townsend Park in Albany, and participated in a 2.23-mile walk and run to demand justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and so many others. 

“George Floyd was executed in broad daylight. Black people in this country witnessed yet another modern day lynching,” said Clyanna Lightbourn, Founder of Black Lives Matter Capital District and Statewide Civil Rights Organizer at Citizen Action. “We’re all here today to demand justice and show that we’re sick and tired of this. Being Black is not a death sentence. We want to show how racism affects us all and that the Capital District is against hate.” 

The event was held in solidarity with protests happening across the country, and highlighted stories of injustice in the Capital Region. Protestors also spoke about the police encounters that lead to injustices for Ellazar Williams, Armand Salazar, Edson Thevenin, Dahmeek McDonald, Denzel Morris and others

“We’re with Justice for Dahmeek, formed after the unjust shooting of my nephew, Dahmeek McDonald, by the Troy police department; a year after the Troy police murdered Edson Thevenin,” said Messiah Cooper, Dahmeek’s uncle. “This justice system, including the District Attorney’s offices, are failing us as Black people — not only in Troy and the Capital Region, but across the country. The silence by white people and those in positions of power and privilege in this country is shameful, and we need to rise and speak truth to the realities of what happens to Black people everywhere. The riots and rallies happening across the country are nothing new; they are expressions of rage from young people who have gone unheard for generations, and what’s truly shameful is that this country hasn’t heard them. That’s why these horrible murders keep happening.” 

“Our justice system enables violence against Black people, here in Albany and across the country. This is a public safety issue. Communities of color are not safe under the current justice system. I will stand with those demanding justice and not rest until it is achieved and guaranteed for all people,” said Matt Toporowski, candidate for Albany County District Attorney. 

“Racial injustice knows no border, neither can our fight against it,” said Shawn Young, Citizen Action community organizer.