HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- Jonathan Berger and his classmates were very aware of the reports of the issues of racism and civil unrest unfolding throughout the country after the lack of an indictment of the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner.
The 17-year-old Hastings-on-Hudson High School senior says he and his friends were upset and decided to orchestrate a protest in their own community, as many others have done throughout the country.
“People definitely took into account that our school is most Caucasian,” said Berger. “We weren’t trying to ourselves seem like victims, but we wanted to raise awareness about this issue and show that we care about this issue and we want change.”
On Friday, Dec. 5, 15 minutes before school was to end Berger says he and almost 400 of his fellow classmates walked out of school in protest about 2:40 p.m. Berger says students got permission from school administration to leave early for the protest.
Students first held a “lie-in” or “ die-in ” where they laid down in silence for 25 minutes in front of the school near the school’s the Mount Hope Boulevard entrance.
Then about 150 students made their way over to the island in front of the First Reformed Church and in between Farragut Avenue and South Broadway, where they chanting slogans like “I can’t breathe,” “no justice, no police” and “no police brutality.”
Some students stood and held signs, while others lay down. The protest then moved down to Warburton Avenue near the VFW and ended around 4 p.m.
In addition to issue of police brutality, Berger says he’d like to bring awareness to the importance of discussing current events in the classroom.
The HHS senior says he and his classmates didn’t talk about it in school, and were left to rely on the news and social media to make sense of what was happening in the country.
“We hope this discussion leads to a discussion about this issue in classes or have an assembly,” said Berger. “School sis a place where we should learn about things in an unbiased manner and I think hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
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