Demanding an end to police brutality in U.S.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, second from left, spoke to the protestors from the steps of the Circuit Courthouse. On the steps with her were City Commissioners Steve Rideout and LaShon Foster, as well as community organizer Dion Banks.

CAMBRIDGE — The March on Groove civil rights demonstration took place in Cambridge on Sunday afternoon. From the Harriett Tubman park at Washington Street and Route 50, about 200 individuals marched and chanted to the Circuit Courthouse, where they heard prayers and a speech from Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley.

The diverse group — comprising different races, young and old — was protesting police brutality around the nation in the killing of unarmed black men. The killing of George Floyd May 25 by Minneapolis police officers sparked a wave of protests across the nation that is continuing.

Last week, the first demonstrations occurred in Cambridge. One was on U.S. 50, and another took place downtown, organized by Mya Woods.

Ms. Woods and her friend Alondria organized Sunday’s event as well.
“We need to litigate, legislate and agitate,” Ms. Woods said, and vote in November “as if your freedom depends on it.”

She was pleased with the numbers and the makeup of the demonstration, which was peaceful throughout.

“It’s a lot more people than I thought,” she said. “It just makes my soul smile.”

Ms. Woods, who is African American, said she is concerned for the safety of her son, who was born prematurely recently. “I’m more worried about him growing up in this nation” than about any health problems from his early birth, she said.

The protest was promoted as a “March on Groove,” using the term for Cambridge — Groove City — popularized years ago by African-Americans who saw the town as being in the forefront of the arts. The march started at the Harriett Tubman park at U.S. 50 and Washington Street, and continued through town to the courthouse.

Led by Ms. Woods, the demonstrators held signs demanding justice and chanted slogans. Once they reached the courthouse lawn, Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley stood on the steps and spoke to the crowd, saying she expected residents to stand up for what’s right.

“We’re Cambridge!” she said to applause, alluding to the city’s famous role in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s.

She said rules of the use of force by city police are set down in policy. “I am serous about protecting our community,” Mayor Jackson-Stanley said.

She also urged the demonstrators to engage the white community in the struggle. “We’re all in this together,” she said.