‘Called to action’ for racial justice at Sunday demonstrations in Northfield

  • Demonstrators hold signs for racial justice in front of Northfield Town Hall every Sunday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2020 4:26:36 PM

NORTHFIELD — It has been four weeks now that demonstrations for racial justice have been happening in Franklin County. For some people in Northfield, it could still be many more weeks.

At 4 p.m. every Sunday afternoon, demonstrators appear on Main Street outside the Northfield Town Hall, carrying signs with slogans for racial justice. They are there for an hour, then disperse soon after 5.

Northfield resident Laura Kay originally sent a mass email encouraging others to demonstrate.

“I felt like it was really important now that people know that in every little town there are people who are concerned about what’s going on,” Kaye explained. “Just because this is a mostly white community doesn’t mean that people aren’t thinking about it and don’t care.”

That first Sunday, 11 people showed up. The next week there were 30. Then 70.

Last Sunday, the crowd was smaller. Probably because it was Father’s Day, Kaye said, and because this weekend was the hottest it has been yet.

Of those who were out Sunday afternoon, several said they had come to every demonstration so far, and expected to continue to do so.

“It’s about being concerned, being troubled, and being called to action because of that concern and that trouble,” said Anne-Marie Mallon, who lives in Bernardston and has been regularly coming to the demonstrations. “It’s not just about saying, ‘I’m concerned and troubled, and I’ll watch it on TV.’ No. It’s about standing in the hot sun. People have endured a lot worse, obviously.”

“It’s so important that we keep it in the forefront,” said Cate Woolner, who lives in Northfield and is also a regular participant in the demonstrations. “Our job as white people is to not be silent about racism.”

Responses to the demonstrations have mostly been positive, said Northfield resident John Cevasco, another regular demonstrator. Vehicles that drive by may beep to show support. A few express other opinions, he said.

“Last week we had people who were showing a lower level of intelligence,” Cevasco said Sunday. “But today in an entire hour I don’t think we’ve had one negative. So I’m impressed.”


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