It was less a demonstration and more of a reminder of the Black Lives Matter movement in Montauk this past weekend, the reminder being that the movement is not going away any time soon.
On both Saturday and Sunday, Tanish Lindsay, a newly minted activist, stood on the green at Carl Fisher Plaza, along with several like-minded Montauk residents, waving signs to passersby and chanting.
Lindsay has previously organized two demonstrations in Montauk, each of which drew between 150 to 225 people. This past weekend’s event was much more subtle and personal.
A major impetus for the small demonstration was to show solidarity with the protestors in Portland. Activists across the country encouraged BLM supporters to act over the weekend to demonstrate that solidarity.
Lindsay, armed with a miniature bullhorn, led the group in various chants, such as “Black lives matter,” or “No justice, no peace,” or repeating the names of victims of police violence. She asked passersby why there has yet to be an arrest made in the Breonna Taylor case. Taylor was an emergency medical technician who was shot and killed in her own home by three Louisville Metro Police Department plain clothes officers on March 13 as they were executing a no-knock search warrant.
“Breonna Taylor,” Lindsay said into her megaphone, “she was shot eight times, and still, no one has been arrested. That is your sister. Your mother. Your friend.”
The reaction of pedestrians and motorists going by was varied. Some simply stared straight ahead, avoiding eye contact. Some motorists honked their horns in support, and waved. Two motorcyclists raised their right hands and gave the peace sign as they turned off of Main Street onto the circle.
There were a couple of groups that heckled the protesters by saying “Trump 2020, Trump 2020.”
The protestors found that response confusing. One woman said, “People can vote for who they want. They can’t argue that black lives don’t matter.”
Lindsay then commented, “We’re saying ‘Black lives matter,’ and they are saying ‘Trump 2020?’ What does that mean?”
After Saturday’s protest, Lindsay took part in a Zoom call with other activists on the East End. “My Zoom call was very impactful,” she said later Sunday. “The older people that were on were very impressed by the amount of young people on, and how dedicated they are to making change.”
“We are working on a major protest for August. We are still working on the details and the message behind it,” she said. With the November election approaching, activists are also focused on Rep. Lee Zeldin.
“We need to get people to register to vote. Zeldin is our main focus right now, trying to get him out, and get Nancy (Goroff), the scientist, in. The system is biased towards black and brown people. We all know it. It is not a secret. It is not just healthcare, or the school system, or just jobs, really.”
“Look at the restaurants around here. There are no black people serving tables, or brown people serving tables. They are all in the kitchen. It is not just a language barrier I have seen them hire Europeans who barely speak English and they put them on the floor.”
Waiters make substantially more money than kitchen employees, Lindsay said.