NYACK, N.Y. -- More than 100 people turned out Monday in downtown Nayck to take part in a rally by Black Lives Matter to protest the recent shooting deaths of two black men by police in Minnesota and Louisiana and a new rally is planned for Wednesday in Middletown.
The chapter said the rallies are to protest "the execution" last week of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, said Weldon McWilliams IV, associate minister of the First Baptist Church in Spring Valley and a founding member of Black Lives Matter/Rockland & Orange Alliance.
Another rally, planned for Wednesday, July 13, in Middletown, comes on the heels of the death of five police officers by a sniper in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter rally.
"The incident in Dallas has no bearing on what we are trying to accomplish by bringing attention to the police brutality we have endured for years at the hands of police," McWilliams said. "We are sorry for their loss, and we always call for non-violence. ... But, it doesn't change our larger mission."
During the Nyack rally, protestors held a "lie-in" for the first time in front of Nyack Village Hall, before proceeding to Veterans Memorial Park, where McWilliams and chapter co-founder Vanessa Green, spoke about the issues facing the black community and their plans to move the issue forward.
"We plan to continue having rallies, but we also are working to come up with a plan that will help address the larger problem politically and through our communities" he said.
McWilliams said all people are welcome to join the rallies, including in Middletown, if they are interested in spreading the message of non-violence and that the police brutality and slaughter of black men has to stop.