Another Sunday protest drew another large crowd to downtown Ithaca as calls for police reform and community investment continued for a sixth week.
The rally, which has become a weekend staple over the last several weeks, was again well-attended and reiterated much of what the organizers have emphasized previously: that they want to defund the police, specifically Ithaca Police Department, and keeping the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, both recent victims of police violence, on the minds of those in attendance and those passing by.
Jordan Clemons again served as host and organizer, a role he has assumed at the Sunday rallies from the start. He pushed the Unbroken Promise Initiative's message, the group that has manifested from the rallies and is primarily focused on addressing racial inequalities in Ithaca's West End. Clemons has gotten more specific about the goals of the group recently, laying out plans for a West End-based diner that would house some sort of program to feed school students to fight food insecurity, hoping to inspire "healthy living and eating habits" among kids. An additional recreation center was also mentioned, as he pointed out that some city residents aren't able to access the Greater Ithaca Activities Center or the Southside Community Center because of where they live.
Beyond that, Clemons called for universal daycare programs, commending people that have already been trying to help with childcare needs that have arisen during the several months of quarantine. He also said the group would be meeting with an architect this week in order to solidify the physical plans.
The rally then took to the streets, as the crowd marched from the Commons to Ithaca Police Department, pausing and chanting for a few minutes as cars stopped in the street. They then continued to Aurora Street, pausing again as Clemons urged the crowd to be peaceful disrupters. After a few minutes the crowd returned to the Bernie Milton Pavilion.
"We don't need to be rescued, we don't need to be pitied, we don't need to be looked at as incapable," Clemons said. "All we are doing is shining a light on that you have a whole demographic that has been left behind. We've been able to inform you of what those damages are [through the rallies]."