Katama demonstrations: ‘Black lives always matter’

Group inspired by Dana Nunes meets at daily at 10 am.

Community members have been gathering each morning in Katama to kneel for 8 minutes. — Brian Dowd

Following suit with the various other protests and demonstrations across the Island this summer, a small group of demonstrators kneeled for eight minutes and 46 seconds Monday morning in Katama.

The Katama demonstrations were started by Liz Hervatic and Karen “Goldie” Goldberg after being inspired by Dana Nunes, an activist who has held daily demonstrations at Beetlebung Corner in Chilmark.

“It all started with Dana Nunes stepping out,” Goldberg said, adding that hundreds of people have participated in demonstrations around the Island. “All because one person felt she could make a difference.”

Hervatic said she and her wife Goldberg chose to hold their vigil in Katama at the intersection of Slough Cove Road and Herring Creek Road because of all the different community members they could reach.

Over the past few weeks that they’ve held their demonstrations, Hervatic said the majority of people driving by honk their horns and shout in support, but there’s been a fair amount of negativity.

“We’ve had people yell horrible things. One man told us to ‘get over it’…we’re getting a lot of love and a lot of rage,” she said as she held up her sign that read “Black lives always matter.”

Each morning at 10 am the group of 12 to 13 people gathers at the corner and holds up signs reading “Black Lives Matter” and “only you and I can end racism” before kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds in silence — the amount of time George Floyd was held down by Minneanapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee before he died.

“We meet people with compassion on this corner. Everyone’s hurting,” Hervatic said. “If you’re hurting, don’t hurt someone else.”

Hervatic and Goldberg both expressed their support for the Edgartown police department and said “everyone’s bubble needs to break” to allow for different perspectives and to help each other heal.

Along with inspiration from Nunes, Hervatic and Goldberg said they’ve been attending social justice salons in Chilmark to talk about racial injustice. One of the discussions they had was what kind of demonstration presence should there be in Edgartown. 

George Rivera, a member of the West Tisbury First Congregational Church racial justice team, who was invited to attend the demonstration Monday said the racial justice team has been doing educational outreach work. 

“All of this is important,” he said.

On her morning walks, Kim Hyman said she has seen Hervatic, Goldberg, and others standing with their signs at the corner and decided to join them.

“Everyone’s equal and we’re all in this together,” Hyman said. “It’s opening the eyes of the world…everything’s being brought to the forefront.”