On Friday, June 19, NJ Student Blackout, a group of student leaders from Essex County schools, hosted a rally to stand in solidarity with those who have lost their lives to police brutality and celebrate Juneteenth. The rally began with messages from student speakers Jordan McCray Robinson (Newark Academy ’21), Kelsey Freeman (MKA ’21), Janyia McGainey Rodgers (Montclair High School ’21), Clay Hudson (MKA ’23), and Julian Hudson (Seton Hall Prep ’21). Zellie Imani (activist and organizer from Black Lives Matter – Paterson) and Petal Robinson (Montclair Education Association) also spoke to the crowd that gathered on 6 Lloyd Road.
Students read a list of demands in front of the Montclair Municipal Building that included: a more accurate depiction of Black history in education, monthly school discussions targeting racism, and established lines of communication between Black students and school administrators. The rally concluded in Rand Park with a liberation celebration of student performances.