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Groton — It was a small however spirited group that gathered on Saturday exterior a Groton procuring heart on Lengthy Hill Highway, waving to passing automobiles and holding Black Lives Matter banners whereas huddling collectively to remain heat.

It was a reminder, individuals mentioned, that the motion is alive and nicely and that the problems of systemic racism delivered to the nationwide highlight following the demise of George Floyd and different Black people are nonetheless round.

“Don’t neglect, as a result of we haven’t,” mentioned Nanayaa Ali, 18, a senior at Fitch Excessive College.

Ali is a member of the Groton Youth Collective, a fledgling youth activist group that helped spearhead a protest last summer in Groton that drew near 1,000 folks in protest of police brutality and racism.

Ali mentioned the group claims about 30 core members and plans a sequence of peaceable protests and fundraisers targeted on social justice points and causes.

The beeping from passing automobiles was a close to fixed on Saturday however Leah Richardson, 17, mentioned it’s not all the time so welcoming. There may be the occasional commuter who will flip the chicken as they drive by.

“Why? Some folks actually don’t perceive the motion, truthfully,” Richardson mentioned. “Sure, all lives matter. However what we’re making an attempt to say is Black lives matter, too. There’s a distinction in how our race is handled.”

Groton Metropolis Councilor Aundre Bumgardner stood in assist with the group on Saturday and mentioned he was “blown away by their enthusiasm, by their dedication to highlighting systemic racism not solely in inside our neighborhood however in surrounding communities, as nicely, the place this dialogue has by no means taken place.”

Bumgardner, who’s planning to problem the sitting mayor in Groton Metropolis in a major in March, mentioned that in stark distinction to the violent mob that descended on Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to desecrate the U.S. Capitol, “what you’ve right here is younger folks protesting and singing songs of unity and inclusion.”

“This can be a peaceable protest,” he mentioned. “If any individual took the chance to have a dialog with these younger folks, you’ll perceive they’re protesting to avoid wasting Black lives and spotlight systemic racism that persists in each type of authorities.”

“They present as much as converse their minds and so they’re right here to pay attention as nicely and prepared to have interaction in a respectful dialog concerning the points they care about. I respect that,” he mentioned.

g.smith@theday.com

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