Hundreds gather to say that  ‘Black Lives Matter’ in Millbrook
From left, Kathy Havards and Todd Feitelson were at the Black Lives Matter protest in Millbrook on Sunday, June 7, getting their message out to the public. Peaceful protests were held in Millbrook over the weekend. 
Photo by Judith O’Hara Balfe​

Hundreds gather to say that ‘Black Lives Matter’ in Millbrook

MILLBROOK — More than 225 peaceful protesters lined the part of Franklin Avenue that curves from the bus stop and goes along the Tribute Garden property on Sunday, June 7. This included men, women and children of all ages, mostly local residents, holding signs, wearing masks and enjoying the beautiful weather. The event, in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM), which had its existence fraught with controversy at the start, turned out to be a friendly and fruitful happening, with no trouble reported.

Although social distancing was largely non-existent, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, masks were worn and several elbow bumps took place, while others agreed, “We’ll hug later,” when it is safe to do so.

Protest signs ranged from very large to very small, and from elaborate tie-dyed signs to smaller signs done on cardboard with magic marker. What they had in common was their message: Black Lives Matter, and that people are looking for changes in the criminal justice system and of systemic racial bias. The death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man killed by a White ex-cop, was not taken lightly here, mirroring feelings from around the country and around the world.

The protest was put together by Larissa Nordone, a five-year resident of Millbrook who has some experience organizing protests. Nordone reports that she suffered a great deal of resistance from the town and village before the rally got off the ground.    

While many found out about the event via social media, originally it was meant to be a small gathering of roughly 50 people responding via private messaging.

Some Millbrook teenagers had planned a protest for Monday, June 8, but another teen reportedly sabotaged it. A counter protest focusing on All Lives Matter was announced, but later postponed. Those organizers asked if they could attend Sunday’s protest. 

As Sunday neared, the event grew larger and organizers worried about people coming from out of town starting trouble; organizers and officials wanted to know about permits and law enforcement. It was noted that permits are required for marches that may block traffic or pedestrian walkways, require sound amplifying devices, are especially large or cause street closures.  

Nordone was told she might be given an appearance ticket by the Village Police at the close of the event if she violated any of the village’s ordinances. That did not occur, she said, as she helped disperse attendees at the end of the event and she and friends made sure the Village Green was free of debris and garbage.

Nordone said all of her fears were put to rest on Sunday as the gathering began, grew and remained peaceful. Millbrook Police Officer Jared Witt moved easily among the crowd, greeting protesters and being greeted by those present. Although there was a “Defund the Police” sign, few signs were anti-police, though they did state the country should do better in its police practices. At least two village trustees were among the crowd, making sure it remained a peaceful event. The demonstration began at 1 p.m. and by 2 p.m. the crowd started to disburse. 

Many families attended, using the event as a teaching moment; some were multi-generational. Some of the signs the youngsters clearly made themselves, while others were more sophisticated. Many families were passionate about the cause, and it was an opportunity for some to witness first hand for the first time how America works, and why the First Amendment is so important. 

Early on, a Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office car went past, as did a New York State Trooper’s vehicle, but mostly there were cars and trucks passing by, waving and beeping their horns in support. Afterward, protesters said they felt that their message got out, that Millbrook held a peaceful protest while taking an important stance on improving the criminal justice system, the need to address racial inequality, about Black Lives Matter, about how the country must move forward, and, not to be forgotten, about the importance of caring for one another.

Latest News

Walking among the ‘Herd’

Michel Negreponte

Submitted

‘Herd,” a film by Michel Negreponte, will be screening at The Norfolk Library on Saturday April 13 at 5:30 p.m. This mesmerizing documentary investigates the relationship between humans and other sentient beings by following a herd of shaggy Belted Galloway cattle through a little more than a year of their lives.

Negreponte and his wife have had a second home just outside of Livingston Manor, in the southwest corner of the Catskills, for many years. Like many during the pandemic, they moved up north for what they thought would be a few weeks, and now seldom return to their city dwelling. Adjacent to their property is a privately owned farm and when a herd of Belted Galloways arrived, Negreponte realized the subject of his new film.

Keep ReadingShow less
Fresh perspectives in Norfolk Library film series

Diego Ongaro

Photo submitted

Parisian filmmaker Diego Ongaro, who has been living in Norfolk for the past 20 years, has composed a collection of films for viewing based on his unique taste.

The series, titled “Visions of Europe,” began over the winter at the Norfolk Library with a focus on under-the-radar contemporary films with unique voices, highlighting the creative richness and vitality of the European film landscape.

Keep ReadingShow less
New ground to cover and plenty of groundcover

Young native pachysandra from Lindera Nursery shows a variety of color and delicate flowers.

Dee Salomon

It is still too early to sow seeds outside, except for peas, both the edible and floral kind. I have transplanted a few shrubs and a dogwood tree that was root pruned in the fall. I have also moved a few hellebores that seeded in the near woods back into their garden beds near the house; they seem not to mind the few frosty mornings we have recently had. In years past I would have been cleaning up the plant beds but I now know better and will wait at least six weeks more. I have instead found the most perfect time-consuming activity for early spring: teasing out Vinca minor, also known as periwinkle and myrtle, from the ground in places it was never meant to be.

Planting the stuff in the first place is my biggest ever garden regret. It was recommended to me as a groundcover that would hold together a hillside, bare after a removal of invasive plants save for a dozen or so trees. And here we are, twelve years later; there is vinca everywhere. It blankets the hillside and has crept over the top into the woods. It has made its way left and right. I am convinced that vinca is the plastic of the plant world. The stuff won’t die. (The name Vinca comes from the Latin ‘vincire’ which means ‘to bind or fetter.’) Last year I pulled a bunch and left it strewn on the roof of the root cellar for 6 months and the leaves were still green.

Keep ReadingShow less
Matza Lasagne by 'The Cook and the Rabbi'

Culinary craftsmanship intersects with spiritual insights in the wonderfully collaborative book, “The Cook and the Rabbi.” On April 14 at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck (6422 Montgomery Street), the cook, Susan Simon, and the rabbi, Zoe B. Zak, will lead a conversation about food, tradition, holidays, resilience and what to cook this Passover.

Passover, marked by the traditional seder meal, holds profound significance within Jewish culture and for many carries extra meaning this year at a time of great conflict. The word seder, meaning “order” in Hebrew, unfolds in a 15-step progression intertwining prayers, blessings, stories, and songs that narrate the ancient saga of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. It’s a narrative that has endured for over two millennia, evolving with time yet retaining its essence, a theme echoed beautifully in “The Cook and the Rabbi.”

Keep ReadingShow less