The weather was unpredictable in Mount Vernon, New York but that did not stop concerned citizens to speak out. Jesse Van Lew is consistent with his three words “Save Mount Vernon”. The darkness of his health did not stop Jesse as he stood in the rain chanting “Save Mount Vernon! Save Mount Vernon!”
It’s been 47 days since George Floyd, a 46 year old Black man was suffocated by the knee of an officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest. This 8 minutes was viewed by the world as it was captured by a citizen and uploaded on Facebook. Travel 1,196 miles from Minneapolis to the 4.4 square mile city of Mount Vernon. Two elderly women were stripped searched for allegedly purchasing drugs. Two women shared that they are traumatized after Mount Vernon Police treated them unfairly. Dorothy Barnes, 75 and Linda McNair, 65 were taken to the precint for an alleged purchase of drugs. Both were handcuffed and strip searched.
The search resulted in nothing found.
City Hall is located across from the Mount Vernon Police station. This gave those frustrated the ability to speak out for justice. Voices of many were heard. Jamaal Bowman former middle school principal who unseated Eliot Engel in New York was present. He stood in the rain addressing what it feels like to be afraid of police officers at the age of 11 years old.
Nazarene Duncan mother of murdered Wilbert “Junior” Francis spoke out about cases being unsolved in Mount Vernon. Officers getting paid and not doing their job. On Saturday, July 10, 2016, Wilbert was gunned downed 13 times on the streets of Mount Vernon. His case has yet to be solved. His daughter was introduced to the crowd and became emotional. Carlee was three years old at the time of her fathers death.
Community members present in support of Save Mount Vernon: Pastor Stephen Pogue, Cynthia Turnquest-Jones, Lauren Raysor, Erica Peterson, Jeff Redd, Andom Ghebreghiorgis, Naz Duncan, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jr. and Geoff Munroe.
Jesse Van Lew, goal for the day was met which sets the tone for the next step in helping move Mount Vernon Forward. “SAVE MT.VERNON”.