Protesting during Coronavirus in Syracuse Syracuse Protest under Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —Today is the 10th day of protest in Central New York. The large rallies sparked by killing George Floyd remained mostly peaceful during the weekend, with more than 2,000 people showing up on June 6. 

Many protesters wore masks to protect themselves, but there wasn’t enough space for social distancing.

Amy Pento has been worried about the pandemic among the protests. She didn’t show up for the earlier rallies.

“I was very nervous about COVID. We’ve been quarantining. We’ve been very safe as a family,” said Pento.

However, Amy Pento has been very vocal about the Black Lives Matter issue. Though still concerning about the virus, she decided to step forward on Saturday. “I felt like I was letting other people take the risk for me,” said Pento.

But she has made some compromises with her family.

“I said how about if we go, we stay at the edge to distance and bring water to support in a small way. I would love to be in the middle, but I’m just too nervous about the pandemic. It’s still here. It’s still real.”

And her family has been very supportive. Her daughter Julie Pento has marched for women’s rights. She advocated for those who have participated in the women’s march to join the Black Live Matters movement.

“It doesn’t mean much if you protest for things that specifically affect you. If you are in a minority group, you got to stand out for other minority groups too,” Julie Pento said.

In the middle of the crowd, district captain of BLM Abraham Israel excitedly expressed his passion right in front of the podium. His mask was down on his jaw, which seemed riskier for him under the virus, but easier to chant for what he believes. He said he wanted to be in this racial revolution and was happy to see the solitary in the community.

“We have white brothers and white sisters, and people are standing in alliance with the black Americans to address this issue, to show the support and black love. I’m happy the fact that we have so much support,” said Israel.

Through the whole weekend, in Syracuse, there were no reports of damage, no arrests, and no injuries caused by the protests. The marches so far were organized by “Last Chance for Change.” Their goal is to demand racial justice over the next 40 days.

Reported by

Yuhan Zhao

Yuhan Zhao (Jaynee) is a graduate studying Broadcast & Digital Journalism at Syracuse University.

Other stories by Yuhan Zhao

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