The technology boom continues to have a lasting affect on our society. During the crisis of a pandemic and incidents creating outrage over racial injustice, Americans young, old, black, and white, unite on social media. Citizens are turning to Apple powered iOS and Google android devices and apps to make their voices heard.
In one of the most memorable moments in American history since the 1968 murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., protests and riots honoring Minnesota resident George Floyd have been organized in large numbers nationwide. There has been numerous peaceful protests across the country and in New York City. Among the largest peaceful demonstrations in the city were in Harlem and Times Square.
Since the death of George Floyd, caused by police brutality on May 25, protesters are using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to express themselves and organize large protests and riots. During the weekend of May 31, After successful organizing via Twitter, New Yorkers flooded Harlem and Times Square to prove that peaceful protests were possible.
The Harlem and Times Square protests were different in culture, but the same in message. The Harlem protest, made up of a predominately African-American crowd, respected the police presence by remaining peaceful, marching, taking a knee and chanting with guest speakers to condemn police brutality and racial injustice.
The Times Square crowd was a mix of city residents and those who support New York City from suburban areas. This group, with a minority of African-American, but comprised of many cultures, also respected police authority, marched and also took a knee. The behavior of both groups stood out, but were not alone. There were more peaceful protests that were not mentioned across the five boroughs that make up New York City
The protests have been a tale of two groups, the first group is peaceful, diverse with a high concentration of African-Americans. The second group, a more cultural mix with a minority of African-Americans, causing civil unrest with an excessive amount of violence. According to New York City Police Department Commissioner Dermot Shea, an estimated one in seven people were from outside the New York City area, attending protests to cause violence and looting.
The violent group continues to get the most media attention. They pretend to use violent actions to falsely represent the views and actions of African-American people. Real New Yorkers care about this great city and do not seek to destroy it. Harlem and Times Square was left in good condition by the peaceful protests while Soho, midtown and the shopping districts near West 14th street in Manhattan were vandalized with trash left in the streets. There were also large protests in Brooklyn during the day by peaceful protesters. The violent group started chaos at night starting fights with police, throwing molotov cocktails into police cars, fireworks and looting retail stores.
As I conducted research for New York City Wired, I found that most New Yorkers want peace and prosperity in the city. The New York City Police Department, who is currently under review for inappropriate and violent exchanges with protesters over the weekend, were inspired to take a knee to ease tensions with the crowds.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged the real protesters who love the city and want an end to injustice. Mayor de Blasio also had strong words for the people who seek to destroy the reputation of the protests and New York City.
Watch video of the protests and public opinion below and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s address to the city.