People are Also Finding Other Ways to Protest on the Upper West Side


Sue Susman and other residents hold signs outside their doors. Photo by Frank Leonardo and Laura Koulish.

Protests have streamed through the Upper West Side in recent days, but people are also finding other ways to commemorate George Floyd and other victims of police violence.

Some are standing on their stoops at 8 p.m., the start of the citywide curfew, and staying silent for 9 minutes, the amount of time police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck. Sue Susman and other neighbors at 50 West 97th Street have been congregating at 8. She holds a sign that says “Black Lives Matter. Vote.”

And at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on 89th Street in Riverside Park, people are standing and holding signs in 20 minute shifts. It was organized by teens Tova Kleiner and Rebecca Klein. “Please bring signs in memory of victims of racial violence, with messages about love, justice, solidarity against hatred and racism, etc. Songs and chants are also encouraged,” the organizers say. The sign-up sheet is here.

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. Nicole B says:

      Love this! Just signed up for a few shifts!

    2. Timothy Cranston says:

      We need to take positive, supportive action:

      • Rename Columbus Avenue as George Floyd Boulevard
      • Rename Broadway as Barrack Obama Way
      • Disarm city police
      • Decarcerate prisons 10% to start every year

      • John says:

        Yes the west side will be the new skid row

      • gs says:

        While George Floyd’s death was heinous and the officers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, there is no epidemic of killing of unarmed black men by the police. According to statistics from the Washington Post, more unarmed white men were killed. The media only reports on/makes an issue of police on black crime to advance the false narrative of “systemic racism.” How about a little sympathy for police that are killed by black men!

        • UWSdr says:

          While you are correct that there is no statistical evidence that police violence disproportionately affects minorities, the murder of Mr. Floyd has become a symbol of the racism that pervades our entire society. For example, the average net worth of white families is about eight times that of non-white families. Generally speaking, black and brown people have faced bias from the day they were born in the US…education, getting jobs, obtaining mortgages, access to health care. There is no false narrative of systemic racism, it is staring us all in the face. And even if you don’t want to admit it or address racism, curbing police brutality will also benefit white people, which I am assuming is what you are…so please consider being on the right side of history and join the push to enact reforms.

          • Wijmlet says:

            UWSdr,

            Well said!

          • Non latte liberal says:

            This is a land of golden opportunity compared to any other country in the world. Why do you think all the folks of every shade have been immigrating here for the last fifty years? People have been voting with their feet!

        • nycityny says:

          What?! From the Washington Post article dated 6/5/20 linked below: “In Minneapolis, where George Floyd was horrifically killed by law enforcement, police officers use force against blacks seven times more often than against whites. Studies show that black men in America are up to 3.5 times more likely than whites to be killed by law enforcement; 1 in every 1,000 black men will die at the hands of police.”

          https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/police-violence-pandemic/2020/06/05/e1a2a1b0-a669-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html

          Facts matter.

        • Wijmlet says:

          GS,

          You’re missing something.

        • Michal says:

          GS,
          Respectfully, the list of unarmed people killed by cops is larger for white people, but disproportionately affects black people when the population rate is taken into account. That’s just basic math. But if your only metric to prove or disprove systemic racism in law enforcement is to count the murders, then no wonder you can’t see it.

          Police killing unarmed citizens is still the exception, rather than the rule (thankfully). But the problem doesn’t only rely on murders. Look at the rates for black people shot without being killed, being tazed, being thrown to the ground with enough force to break a jaw or some ribs, being suffocated. Factor in how many of those injuries started from just having a broken taillight or making a rolling stop — or just being in the wrong neighborhood (even the one they live in) at the wrong time. And factor in how many times they are arrested or jailed for petty crimes that you would only get a warning over.

          So long as the police consistently treat white and black suspects differently for the same incidents, there’s systemic racism.

          Honestly, if you can’t say that someone’s murder was heinous without simultaneously segueing into your own point, it doesn’t give a lot of weight to how heinous you actually consider it. Then again, with an end line of “How about a little sympathy for police that are killed by black men”, as if the race of the men doing the killing matters to you as much as the killing itself, I don’t think you’re coming to this discussion with anything resembling good faith.

      • dagwood says:

        thats why I love the WSR comments,its much better than readin the comics

    3. Bob Lamm says:

      With great respect for Sue Susman and her neighbors at 50 West 97th Street, for Tova Kleiner and Rebecca Klein’s leadership at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and for all residents of our neighborhood peacefully standing with and for Black Lives Matter in the streets, contacting legislators, posting on social media, donating to worthy political and humanitarian efforts, and in every other nonviolent way.

    4. Heidi says:

      Great ideas. Feeling a little more encouraged! Thanks for letting us know!

    5. Jesus PRIETO. says:

      To all the non Black involved in this effort I say: THANK U, THANK U, THANK U !!!
      It warms my heart, it touches me really hard and it gives me hope.
      I LOVE YOU PEOPLE. May your God always bless YOU and all of those around you !!! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾

      • Kathleen says:

        And blessing to you, Jesus PRIETO. Someone I know well recently wrote: No lives matter until Black Lives Matter. 🙏🏻

        • Jen says:

          People should stop abusing serious issues like losing lives. All lives matter, and there shouldn’t be any order in which they are more or less valuable. It is very sad and unjust that black lives seem to matter less in a lot of cases right now. However, whatever you are quoting is a pinnacle of pc with a heavy dose of idiocy.

    6. Abdoul Diagne says:

      Wow this is beautiful the West side cares

    7. Elizabeth Shackelfird says:

      Fantastic. We need new ways of protesting such as this. Aside from the violence, these Saul Alinsky tactics don’t work and are sooooooo retro. I remember these protests and National Guard issues from the 1960s.

      • LilsC says:

        Then suggest new ways, Elizabeth Shackelfird. Don’t just tear down. What are YOU doing to make things better. Thank you, Tova and Rebecca for leading toward change.

        • Jen says:

          She just supported the new way described above.

          Stop attacking people. Too many attack on people who dare to say something not mainstream.

          Democracy mutated into tyranny of the majority.

        • Bob Lamm says:

          Thank you, LilsC, for this great response. I’m 73 years old and have been involved in protests ever since the Vietnam War. There are always people who say it’s the wrong issue, or the wrong place, or the wrong time, or the wrong way. So easy to sit on the sidelines, do nothing, and offer criticism. It’s one of our favorite national sports!

      • Wijmlet says:

        Elizabeth,
        As I recall, the protests in the 1960s worked.

        • Bob Lamm says:

          Thank you, Wijmlet. I’m 73 years old, so I have vivid memories of the 1960s. The protests of that time obviously didn’t eliminate racism. But they accomplished a hell of a lot, including ending Jim Crow segregation in the South, the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and so much more. I didn’t become a political activist till about 1970, but I have enormous respect for everyone active in the protests of the 1960s and all that they achieved.

    8. ART says:

      I met a protester yesterday before this article was posted. I got the sign up sheet through him.

      And just did my shift this am. It was nice that others were there too. So please consider stopping by even if you don’t sign up.

      This is so important.
      “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

      ORGANIZERS: You are FANTASTIC for starting this. But I don’t think having our names and emails circulating on a public sign up list is ideal. Maybe a different way to do this? THANK YOU.

    9. Michael D. Skelly says:

      how soon we forget KENT STATE that was an american national guard MURDER of 4 young people yet no one ever was tried for that

      • Bob Lamm says:

        It’s great to remember the killings of students at Kent State. But equally important to remember the endlessly forgotten killings of students at Jackson State in Mississippi just weeks afterward. One more way in which Black Lives Don’t Matter in our country.

    10. Kathleen says:

      Thank you, WSR, for this information. Please keep it coming!

    11. SophiaG says:

      If we really cared, we would be having huge protests where UWSers — like you, me and those pictured — publicly pray for the day of their replacement. Let’s welcome the new heroes and role models — after all, it’s not only the right thing to do — it’s inevitable!

      • dad says:

        I am the father of one of the girls who organized. The event was initially circulated privately among local organizations, and even then, she was sensitive to having people’s emails public. So first, thank you to the WSR for publishing this and helping with publicity, second, thank you all for signing up, and third, you don’t have to leave your e-mail on the sign up sheet (but you could email the organizer to let her know; I know she has been communicating with volunteers on feedback, etc.). It is mr important that you just show up.

        • Bob Lamm says:

          Please tell your daughter and her friends that it’s wonderful what they’re doing. I greatly admire them and I thank them. My first protest was against the Vietnam War and I’ve continued ever since. With respect, support, and solidarity.

    12. Jerry says:

      How quaint! These folks are practicing social
      Distancing. I thought that ended this week with the first protest march.

    13. judith ackerman says:

      Right! That’s what I’m doing in my neighborhood because I don’t want to get sick.

    14. Geoff says:

      I participated today. Thank you to the organizers, and for WSR for informing us about it! It’s really great to have a way to protest while maintaining social distance for those of us who live with (or are) healthcare workers or people in vulnerable groups.

    15. UWSer says:

      Hey, we are not able to edit (i.e. sign up for a time) the sign-up sheet for the memorial at the Soldiers and Sailors monument. We will be there anyway but FYI.

    16. Joanne Silverman says:

      What about other minorities; Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian? Where’s the reporting on them?