Though huge protests in major cities around the world have grabbed most of the headlines, demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter and against racism have come to Main Streets nationwide. On June 6, some recent George School graduates brought the movement to the streets of Newtown.
Susan Robinson-Cloete ’20 promoted the protest through an event page on Facebook because she had come to realize “the danger of white silence.” In addition to the murders of George Floyd and many others, she was responding to a local incident earlier in the week. While hanging fliers along State Street, two other George School graduates, Soni Madnani ’16 and Rishi Madnani ’19, had been assailed by a couple who objected to their message. (The husband has since been charged with harassment and criminal mischief.)
“I organized this protest because we, Newtown, cannot be silent in the face of continued police brutality and systemic racism,” Susan explained. “Nor can we be silent when in Newtown, our town, our friends are accosted because they are exercising their freedom of speech or they have racial slurs directed at them.”
After seeing Susan’s poster, classmate Owen Buxton ’20 reached out to her, and together they got in touch with Rishi. Word spread. The well-attended protest drew a broad range of local residents and included speeches and an unplanned march. “I had never considered that many people would be there and it made me feel proud of Newtown,” Susan reflects. “It was peaceful and powerful.”