For nearly two months, demonstrators led by Dana Nunes, Awet Woldegebriel, and Amy Schumer have met daily at Beetlebung Corner to kneel in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Tomorrow’s demonstration, however, is expected to draw a larger crowd, as Island youth activists promote the event on social media.
According to Graysen Kirk, a BLM activist who has led various protests down-Island, anywhere from 200 to 300 demonstrators may participate in tomorrow’s event. Typically, the Beetlebung demonstrations have a crowd of 30 people.
To prepare for the increased crowd, Chilmark Police Chief Jonathan Klaren said officers will be placing “no parking” signs around the intersection to help with the flow of traffic. Street parking will not be available, but participants may park at various locations adjacent to the library. While Klaren does not expect many logistical issues, the police station is close enough to the event that officers will be readily available to help if necessary, Klaren said. “Dana’s been there since the very first day, going for two months now,” Klaren said. “We’ve had zero complaints from the public, zero issues with the police as far as the flow of traffic, and I anticipate this event will be along the same lines.”
While the daily demonstrations were previously held on the patch of grass in the intersection of Beetlebung Corner, they have since been moved to the fields of the Chilmark library after an incident with ground wasps. The new location will better accommodate the size of tomorrow’s demonstration, which starts at 10:30 am.
Youth activists Lisette Williams and Kiely Rigali, along with Kirk, decided to collaborate with Nunes to bring more attention to her work and maintain the movement’s momentum, Kirk said. The event has been promoted on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. “I think people want to get out again, so the numbers might be higher than we anticipate,” Kirk said.