Thousands of protesters, sweaty and voices harsh from shouting rally cries into megaphones, march the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. It’s a humid day in June and the noise of police sirens and helicopters does not suppress their cries. Their voices reverberate throughout the city and would continue to do so in the ensuing months of mass protests.
The death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer on May 25, 2020, refreshed decades of despair, grief, and rage. His death sparked a global civil rights movement that confronted institutional racism in the justice system. In New York, restless protesters marched through rainstorms, city-wide curfews, and the COVID pandemic while risking violent arrests, tear gas, and rubber bullets.
As of December 2020, Black Lives Matter demonstrations have taken place in 76 countries. Since May 28, New York has held protests in over 100 neighborhoods. Below are photographs of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in New York City.
Protester Mykel James stood with a raised fist at Cadman Plaza on Juneteenth. Celebrated every July 19, it marked the official abolishment of slavery in 1865 and has now been recognized as a holiday in New York State.
Thousands of protesters crossed the Brooklyn Bridge on July 25, 2020. They marched from Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn to City Hall in Manhattan.
Seen on July 4, protestors at Washington Square Park shared a mic to lead a chant “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace!”
In Union Square, a man rode with an upside down flag, a distress signal adopted by protestors. U.S. Code Law states the flag be displayed upside down only as a distress signal in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
Activists held up a banner at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn on Juneteenth. Celebrated every July 19, it marks the anniversary of the official abolishment of slavery in America. It has now been recognized as a holiday in New York State.
Protesters Rodrick Covington and William Lex Ham were seen rallying the crowd at a demonstration in Washington Square Park on June 16, 2020.
Hundreds of cyclists gathered on Tillary Street to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge on July 25, 2020.
Outside of Washington Square Park, a woman held up a sign bearing the names of some of the many lives lost to police brutality.
Drummers played during a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on July 25, 2020. They marched from Cadman Plaza into lower Manhattan’s City Hall Park.
Local residents were always seen leaning out of their windows to cheer on passing protesters. Here, a man holds up a sign as protesters walked down Union Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Protesters knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd on June 13.
Cyclists played a crucial role at all marches. At the start every march, they gathered to discuss routes and logistics, then rode ahead to block off traffic to ensure a safe path for protesters. Here, they ride onto the Brooklyn Bridge to block the intersection at the exit.
A protest organizer rallied the crowd at Washington Square Park on July 4, 2020.
Across the city, violinists held vigils dedicated to Elijah McClain, 23 year old unarmed Black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by police. In his spare time he was known to play the violin for kittens at his local shelter.
Exiting Cadman Plaza on June 19, protesters carried a ‘No Justice, No Peace’ sign past NYPD officers. Under pressure from the protests, reforms in law enforcement took place and in New York, 50-A was repealed and chokeholds became criminalized.
Thousands of protesters attended a rally held in Washington Square Park on June 19.
On June 7, 2020, a protester sat on the Williamsburg Bridge overlooking Bedford Avenue, as a march passed below.
On June 6, protesters marched down Bedford Avenue, seen from the Williamsburg Bridge. Shortly after, the crowd of 3,000 poured onto the bridge to march to Manhattan’s Washington Square Park.
Protesters burned pages of an American History textbook on Independence Day. Earlier, an organizer read from the textbook and discussed the Trail of Tears. Organizers were on standby with fire extinguishers and water.
Smaller communities such as Skaters For Black Lives Matter came together to support the movement. The outpouring was overwhelming, as the sound of hundreds of wheels rumbled down South 3rd Street.
A man waited for a rally to start at Cadman Plaza on Juneteenth 2020.
Volunteer medics were at every protest. Some volunteers were trained professionals and others contributed with first aid kits and milk to reduce tear gas effects.
On June 12, Protesters held up a sign in reference to George Floyd, a Black man who died as a White police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck on May 25, 2020.
A man carried a flag down Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn on June 7. Shortly after the group marched onto the Williamsburg Bridge to join other protests in Manhattan.
Cover Image by Vanessa Hock for Bushwick Daily
For more news, sign up for Bushwick Daily’s newsletter.
Join the fight to save local journalism by becoming a paid subscriber.