‘Speak up for what is right’

Black Lives Matter march shows unity and pride on Main Street.



A group of protesters marched down Main Street in Edgartown Saturday, demanding racial equity, defunding of the police, and justice for the African Americans and minorities who have died at the hands of law enforcement officers.

The Black Lives Matter march proceeded into downtown Edgartown at around 10:30 am, with about 15 people holding signs, banners, and playing reggae music. Many people stopped to clap, cheer, or raise their fist high in the air. After arriving at Memorial Wharf, the participants walked up the stairs to the balcony and waved their signs so that boaters in Edgartown Harbor could read their messages. 

One sign said “Love thy neighbor,” while another said, “There’s a difference between the concept of freedom and the reality of equality.”

Eugene Langston-Jemison, one of the co-organizers of the march, said that dismantling systemic racism in America is a “huge challenge,” and where to start on that journey is a tough question to answer. “If you want to kill a snake, you have to cut off the head. We need to be rid of these racist people in positions of power and change the way things work, change the way people see each other,” Langston-Jemison said. “We need to get rid of this old-school traditional mindset where customs are what drive our actions today.”

He said the most important thing for people to do (especially young people) is to educate themselves on racial issues and the plight of African Americans and minorities that is ongoing in this country, and then vote. “You have a say, you have a voice, you need to use it to speak up for what is right,” Langston-Jemison said.

Co-organizer Carla Cooper said voter access needs to be increased, and gerrymandering needs to end for good. She advocated for oppressed populations, and said that their voices need to be heard. 

“We need more mail-in ballots, we need more absentee ballots, we need people who might not normally vote or be able to vote to turn out this year,” Cooper said.

When asked what vision she has for a better America, Cooper pointed to Langston-Jemison and Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee, who helped escort the procession and blocked off traffic.

“I see these two guys [Langston-Jemison and McNamee] joking with each other and being friends, I see their understanding in one another, and I think that is really the key to all this. We need to come together for a common good,” Cooper said. 

Cooper said that qualified immunity needs to end for police officers, and there needs to be more accountability when there is misconduct within a department. “If you are a doctor, you can get sued for medical malpractice. Why shouldn’t the police be treated in the same way?” Cooper asked.

She said that peer intervention in a situation where a police officer is exhibiting misconduct could make a big difference. 

“The blue code of silence needs to end,” said marcher Amy Cuzzupoli. “Who is policing the police?”

But on Martha’s Vineyard, Langston-Jemison said that out of all the places he has lived, he has never felt so secure and confident in the public and the police.

“Nowhere else where I have lived could I feel so easily the hope. You can feel it, you can see it, and you know that this is a good place to be. We are thankful for this community and the people in it,” Langston-Jemison said. “For the first time today, my young son reached out to a policeman and grabbed his hand — that is humanity in one accord.”


  1. I am a fairly far left leaning liberal. I believe that there has been systemic and systematic discrimination of people of color by the “thin blue line” and the courts for decades.
    In the most widely publicized cases. there is often glaring racism at play.
    But I am against defunding police departments. They provide vital services ranging from rescuing cats to stopping mass murderers. Big cities have a range of issues we don’t. I have interacted with most of the departments here , on issues relating to me being approached by a drunk racist with an axe. (He called my friend the “N” and I stood up to him. ) Hitting a deer at night, or finding help for an obviously lost and frightened dog, among other things.
    Every time, the police professional, courteous and reasonable. Yes, I am a white male, aged 68–I am not worried about being shot, but I fully understand why some people are. I was a hippie in the 70’s with a red white and blue star studded van– Even then , if i showed respect, they showed respect. That van was searched no less than 100 times. I am at an advantage here not only because I am white, but because I have learned to show respect. In my mind, the people on that ‘thin blue line’ have earned that respect.
    yes , we have a problem— but we need not take a sledge hammer to it. We need a rational, comprehensive and effective approach.
    I think it would be better to actually fund auxiliary services to work in conjunction with the police.
    Like having a social worker be the first to knock on the door of a house where a domestic dispute is occurring, and have the police just keep a low profile and be back up in case anything goes seriously wrong.

    • I agree with social workers working with police 100 percent, however, in the situation you presented regarding domestic violence situations, keep in mind those can be very dangerous calls and can put police in harfmul situations (as im sure people already know). Many officers are killed each year at domestic dispute calls and a lot of the time they are ambushed and shot as soon as they arrive on scene and never stand a chance unfortunately. That being said, I would be hesitant to send a social worker up to be the first to knock on the door where a domestic violence situation is taking place before police secure the scene and make sure it is safe and medical care is provided if needed. A lot of the time EMS has to standby in the area of a domestic dispute and wait to respond until police secure the scene and declare it safe for EMS. This could be said for a lot of other situations as well. Again I do agree, however there are many things that need to be taken into account before just sending a social worker up to a door to handle a situation. Just food for thought!

      • They are not and have not even logically thought about it!
        They are just seeking payback for their own problems blaming others and the dems are seeking power and continued control over them!!

        • Tisbury, when you say “they are just seeking payback for their own problems blaming others”, who is “they” and what are their problems?

          • You must be ALOT younger than me! Actually you have to be as some of us old times never heard the word aquinnah until they changed the town’s name fro Gay Head.

          • Tisbury Native, what does age have to do with my request that you clarify a confusing comment?

            I have no idea if I am younger or older than you are. I don’t know your age. Nor does it matter. Racism is the topic.

            My user name is not a direct reference to the town. It’s just a real-life nickname. Some used to call me Aquinnah or, more often, Quinn. Guess I was feeling lazy when signing up.

            The word predates the renaming of the town. The full history of the Island is pretty cool. You should look into it.

      • 13 generations– If someone is having a bad enough time with a family member to have the police intervene, they are often not thinking rationally. The sudden appearance of an armed police officer may make them feel threatened and they may view that as an escalation. An unarmed social worker is much less threatening, and may have a calming influence that de escalates the situation.
        it’s easier to feel threatened by and shoot an armed person than an unarmed one. Just food for thought.

  2. I am a fairly right leaning conservative. But I agree with everything dondondon12 says! This proves that we can all get along! Jesus advised, Love your enemy. So if you are not friendly with someone, do something nice for that person. Love changes things.

  3. The term African American is racist. Either you are an American or not. Any division beyond that is just a racial divide.

    • myob–
      Native American ?
      Mexican American ?
      Asian American ?
      Yeah, we all know what you would like to call those groups of people —anything but American , I am sure.

      I often hear the right wing nut cases talk about how the protesters, or poor people or liberals aren’t “real Americans” as defined by people like trump and his cronies.
      Even people who were born here are referred to as “anchor babies” by “dumb Americans” as they wave the flag and hail the constitution while ignoring the 14 th amendment.
      Some Americans are proud of their ethnic heritage, you know.

      • They are all American, if they are citizens.
        You should get yourself a flashlight and a road map. And also read the oath that new citizens must take to become American.
        If people want to end “systematic racisim” it starts with all Americans being equal.

        It is the content of character, not skin color btw.

        Both Antifa and it’s counterpart orginization BLM are both under the same umbrella. Follow their funding and you will figure it out.

        • Myob– Just last month I had a close friend take that oath– He is “Jamaican American”
          And the oath :
          “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”
          Nothing about renouncing your ethnicity..
          Doesn’t all money for all liberal causes come from George Sorros ?
          There have been many posts here about where the money comes from.
          So what am I supposed to figure out.

        • MYOB, do you have the same objections to ‘Black’ when used as a label?

          I agree that all American citizens should just be thought of as American in some contexts. The law is one. Shouldn’t we be as outraged to see minorities denied their rights as if it happened to anyone else? But some are not. That is very clear.

    • Like Trump I am a German/American.
      Our grandfathers got here ast about the same time.

      Do you find the term African American to be unpatriotic?
      How about Native American.
      How about Native Islander?
      How about Wash Ashore Islander.

  4. The defund the police sign is just pandering 101. This woman will be the first person to call the police if someone breaks into her house tonight.

    • Yes she will and she will also be the first person to call out a White cop who chokes an unarmed Black Man to death with his knee.
      Were you by any chance outraged by what that White cop did?

    • That’s probably because she understands what defund the police means. Apparently you don’t. Education has been defunded are there no schools?

  5. Please if you are going to post a quote such as the part about doctors being able to be sued for malpractice please explain what qualified immunity actually means. If a doctor is acting in good faith to save someone they will not be sued for malpractice. Similar to a police officer who can not be sued if he or she is performing a legal duty. Qualified immunity does not make the police untouchable. If a cop screws up they can and will be sued. Please use your platform as the island paper to educate not create more confusion on what qualified immunity means.

    • When was the last time a cop was sued, personally, for his ‘malpractice’?
      Doctors always get sued directly for their malpractice.
      Why not cops?
      When was the last time a cop, or his very own insurance company, paid a settlement?.

      Everyone is always talking about taking responsibility for their actions.
      It is time for cops to take responsibility for their professional behaviour.
      Just like Doctors.

    • Anyone can sue anyone, except the police. Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate “clearly established” law. – If it didn’t shield the police from personal liability, the police unions wouldn’t be fighting so hard to keep it in place.

      • But relief for those agrieved comes when successfully suing the city or town which employs those police. The mechanism for relief is there.

        • Seaman you are absolutely right.
          How much does it cost to successfully sue the city or town which employs those police.
          The mechanism for relief is very expensive.
          Suing the police often leads to out of channel ‘push back’.
          That can be very expensive in both time and money.

  6. Im not big on defunding police either but there does need to be some changes to the way funds are used.
    Using them to buy their way out of lawsuits is a big one. The cops that are creating the lawsuits need to be held accountable and not bailed out so they can continue on with bad behavior. I love Dons idea of bring in someone that may be able to help in a domestic dispute with law enforcement as back up. This could help resolve a lot of problems in many ways.
    To move on to the get out and vote portion of this. It’s the most important thing you need to do in life. You must vote! Personally I’m not a big political person and I don’t hang tight to either side but rather vote for who sounds to be doing good for the world. The last election left us with not good choice but in this case I had to go with the lesser of two evils and Trump lost my vote. Not by much but I didn’t believe he was a good choice then and certainly don’t now. Would things be different if Hillary won? Who know but I don’t see how they could be any worse. Get out and vote people even if you don’t like any of your choices please find just one thing that makes one better than the other and vote for them. The survival of this country depends on it. I kinda think that a lot of people didn’t vote due to the lack of good choice and that is partially how Trump made his way in to office.
    I pray it doesn’t happen again.

    • The last election was a choice between worse and worser.
      This time it is between way to old and even older.
      (Yup, I am an agesist, I have my limits.)
      A failure of democracy.

  7. When people say they want to defund the police what they want to do is defund the militarization of police.
    Things like tanks and armored personnel carriers, assault helicopters, assault rifles, flash bangs, rubber bullets, tear gas, that kind of defunding.

  8. Great title “Speak up for what is right”.

    ”Say His Name” “Where is the outrage” Why no mention of him”?
    He must be given some equal time in here!

    I had to dig hard to find this info and absolutely No mention of his Name;

    *** David Dorn, 77, Retired St. Louis Police Captain***;
    “This man was a great man”!
    ***Man charged in slaying of retired St. Louis police captain***;

    3rd man charged in pawn shop looting on night David Dorn was killed.


    • Tisbury Native, I don’t understand how you could’ve had to dig for this information. I have seen David Dorn talked about repeatedly. He has been exploited online by racists.

        • Tisbury Native, if you’ve read the comments on Yahoo, you should know that there are endless proud racists who do not deny or try to hide it. They go out of their way to illustrate these vile beliefs, in fact. Those are the posts I’m referring to. If you’re not familiar, look under almost any article pertaining to race. Turns my stomach. I don’t use Yahoo as a news source but every once in a while will click on something through my email. Always a regret.

          At the end of these racist diatribes, I’ve seen many smugly mention David Dorn. To the tune of “gotcha, liberals.” I don’t believe their calls for concern are genuine. How can they be when they’ve just trashed the entire Black community? They’re using a tragic case to prove a political point. And his death is indeed tragic and worthy of respect, just like everything else we are tackling. It doesn’t need to be an either-or competition.

          Yes, racism is old. If you find it tiring just hearing about it, please imagine being the target. If you don’t want it to require any more of our focus, work towards its elimination.

        • TN, I’m not sure how hard you had to dig. I went to Google David Form, and before I got to the second D in David, his name came up. And then there were about 30 articles about his shooting.
          And speaking of racist stuff, isn’t it about time for you to post that ten year old Fox News story about unlicensed Brazilian drivers on the island? We haven’t seen that for awhile…

    • Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!
      Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!
      Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!
      Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight!

    • David Dorn was a great man. And few even know his name. And what he did. And who murdered him and in what context. How many of the billions – yes, billions of dollars BLM has extorted from industry and academia will be given to David Dorn’s mourning family. Nothing, I would say. What will the career criminal George Floyd’s family contribute from the $14 million GoFundMe account to the Dorn family? Nothing, I would say.

  9. Why are people so focused on the police? They don’t make the laws. They are not the ones who decided what actions, or behavior should result in a traffic stop or other police interaction. WE DID! WE elected representatives who decided for us that the speed limit should be 25mph and that driving under the influence should be against the law. The police officers, who go to work everyday and do what WE told them to do are the last people we should be focusing on right now. The first questions WE should ask ourselves about any interaction with law enforcement is “what prompted the interaction?” and “What law was being enforced?” Addressing those two questions would single-handedly address every issue regarding injustice because if you get ride of the law, you get ride of the interaction.

    Start with the politicians, especially the ones that are so quick to blame the police. They’re the real problem.

    • CGVet, the entire point of the movement is that some officers are not enforcing the law. They are doing as they please by breaking it and are very much the problem. You seem to believe that if someone just “stays out of trouble”, there won’t be a problem. False. Innocent people are profiled and mistreated. Sometimes the answer to “what prompted the interaction?” is race.

      • Where did I say “stays out of trouble”? What I actually said was that our elected officials are responsible for what we ask our police departments to do.

        • CGVet, I apologize for being unclear. It did read like I was putting words in your mouth, which was not my intention. The quote marks around “stays out of trouble” were meant to identify that phrase as a common mantra for taking focus off of bad officers and putting it on their targets. You did not say that, but I took your comment to be along those lines because you mentioned looking at what prompted the interaction. I thought you were claiming that these problems can be avoided with better behavior from the public. Maybe I misunderstood. Again, sometimes all it takes is being Black, good behavior be damned.

          Yes, there has been biased legislation passed in this country, and many politicians have failed to help the situation. Or they’ve made it worse. I agree that we should address why we even allow such leadership. But it will not solve the problem of aggressive, law-breaking officers who choose to do the wrong thing. When someone crushes a man’s neck, it’s not an attempt to enforce anything on the books. It’s not on behalf of a politician. It’s a product of mentalities that are found and excused within police departments.

          Skipping down the street while happy is legal, but if you’re Black, it can still lead to having a gun drawn on you.


    • The problem is just a very few bad apples.
      All the cops know just who the bad apples.
      That is the problem.

    • Take responsibility for your actions.
      We the People elected the politicians.
      Politicians pass laws that the people who elected them want passed.
      If they do not they do not get reelected.

  10. Great idea! Fortunately we live in a country where everyone can have their own idea of “right”. The problems arise when one group of like minded people think their vision of right is correct and everyone else is wrong.

    • When a white cop kneels on the neck of an immobilized and unarmed black man who says he can’t breathe, and other cops stand by and don’t stop it, that’s wrong, no matter the political affiliation or group think. Unless, of course, one happens to be a racist who thinks Black lives do not matter.

        • Under an article about speaking up for what is right, did you want to say there is nothing wrong with white cops brutalizing, torturing and murdering unarmed, restrained Black people who are crying, calling for their mother, and telling the brutalizers they can’t breathe? On what planet do you live that you cannot recognize the systemic racism where the life of a Black man does not matter enough to the cops killing him so that the murderer would stop, and the other cops would not step in to stop it? Really, tell us in your own words how this is not racist.

          • Jackie, I would suspect that Officer Chauvin would have acted with the same amount of force with a 6′ 7′ belligerent, white career criminal with a history of violence who was high on something and knew he was heading back to prison for a long time.

        • Seaman, Derek Chauvin and George Floyd worked at the same place. Their former boss gave an interview that indicated Chauvin had issues with race. Then there are the previous complaints filed against him. I don’t have time for links, but it’s worth looking up. More will surely come out in court. And the reaction from half the public has unquestionably been racist, too. The blame-the-victim tactic is everywhere.

          I just learned that one of the other officers involved has a history of violence and once punched a Black handcuffed suspect so hard that he broke all of his teeth. This is not simply a legislative/political problem. There is a history of violence and aggression that is accepted among officers. The ones who behave like this are nothing more than thugs in blue shirts, yet they don’t have to wear that label. They get a pass.

          • Aquinnah, I am not sure where you are getting your data about “Millions of these interactions keep racism alive.” Please document them. Literally billions of interactions occur every day among Americans of all skin colors. How do you quantify and qualify these and distill it down to “systemic racism?” I would love to see that spreadsheet. There are some 60 million encounters each year between police and the public resulting in some 10 million arrests. When compared with these vast numbers, the amount of incidences resembling what happened with the violent, career criminal George Floyd are negligible. Sure, a conversation about “systemic racism” may be warranted as a hypothesis to test – not as a conclusion to which a nation must literally get on its knees.

          • Seaman, my remark about millions of racist interactions was under a different article and framed within a social, not institutional, context. Though systemic racism can be proven, that comment did not mention the term or police, etc.

            You claimed that the best way to stop racism is to stop talking about it. I referenced a real situation to highlight why that is not an option. When one party, even if it’s a civilian, acts on racist impulse, innocent people are encroached upon. Sometimes they’re at risk for physical harm or legal consequences. There are many examples on video of white folks targeting minorities. Some of these racists bring in the law. Some hurl slurs, leaving no question as to motive. A few commit murder. Skeptics write this off as media hype. I have seen it firsthand. Public acknowledgement of the problem is a necessary step towards resolution.

            Black people are often singled out and followed while shopping, too. Several national stores have been outed by their own workers for promoting racist policies. Ulta. Nordstrom Rack. Anthropologie. Urban Outfitters admitted this occurs. It can lead to false charges.


            Speaking of profiling, it extends to traffic stops, among other things.


            Drugs still aren’t handled without bias. “Black people in 21 states were arrested at a rate at least three times higher than white people for narcotics and cocaine offenses combined in 2016.”


            Nor are prison stays. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, Black men receive longer sentences for the same crimes. “These disparities were observed after controlling for a wide variety of sentencing factors, including age, education, citizenship, weapon possession, and prior criminal history.”


            Which is especially scary because being Black already means one has a greater chance of being wrongfully convicted of murder.


            Then there’s Simpson’s paradox and how it applies to the police and race. The following is a vital read.


            Systemic racism obviously isn’t limited to crime. Healthcare is a biased system. That alone has negatively impacted millions.


            Women of color are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. The CDC is looking to “address implicit bias in healthcare that would likely improve” these outcomes. A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health director explicitly admits part of the problem is that Black women “are not monitored as carefully as white women are [by medical professionals]. When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.” Racism costs lives in quiet ways, so we have to listen carefully.


            Though exhausting, this list is nowhere close to exhaustive. Since businesses and institutions have confirmed racial bias, there is no justification for denying it any longer. Imagine what is still being hidden. I would gladly kneel to put a stop to it. A physical gesture is nothing compared to the suffering chronicled here.

            Andrew, I don’t know if you will see this, but you also stated that there is no such thing as systemic racism. Please consider this information.

    • It’s the democrats who are wrong. As President Reagan said, “It’s not that my Democrat friends don’t know anything; It’s just that every they know isn’t true,” or something close to that.

  11. 15 years as police chief in Edgartown working for racial harmony. 15 people with good intentions erased my my good intentions within seconds. Their message for tourist? Beware of Edgartown PD. Knowledge of the turf was absent without dialog, only demands. MVI ain’t USA. We’re much bettah. Support your local cops and get to know them before stereotyping.

    • Did Sergeant Craig Edwards have good intentions in his placement of a shell casing?
      Was Craig one of your good intentions?
      Did you let the tourists know about Craig?
      Local cops knew all about Craig.
      How long was he a rotten apple.

    • Read the article, Paul. No one stereotyped a damn thing. No one made the Edgartown PD look bad. They look supportive and were given credit. Why act like police are being victimized here when that is explicitly not the case?

      “When asked what vision she has for a better America, Cooper pointed to Langston-Jemison and Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee, who helped escort the procession and blocked off traffic.

      “I see these two guys [Langston-Jemison and McNamee] joking with each other and being friends, I see their understanding in one another, and I think that is really the key to all this. We need to come together for a common good,” Cooper said.”

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