After leading a caravan of vehicles into the former Walmart parking lot in Riverhead Sunday evening, Robert Ray popped the trunk to his car, pulled out a speaker and gathered the crowd together.
Mr. Ray, the social justice director for the the African-American Educational and Cultural Festival based in Riverhead, urged the crowd to give themselves a round of applause.
“We are not terrorists, we are not rioters, we are not looters,” he said. “We are successful Black and Brown kings and queens. All we want is equality for all.”
The parade of vehicles to protest police brutality was dubbed “Strong Island Caravan for Justice” and began in Bay Shore. The first group then proceeded through Patchogue and Shirley before arriving in Riverhead around 6 p.m. The caravan then continued east, with a brief stop in Mattituck before arriving in Greenport.
The caravan followed several that have occurred from supporters of President Trump, including a massive gathering dubbed “Maga-Gras II” in September.
Sunday’s caravan featured a few dozen vehicles.
Mr. Ray encouraged everyone to remain active.
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said.
By about 7:30 p.m., the caravan arrived at Fifth Street in Greenport, announcing their arrival with horns honking and Black Lives Matter banners waving from their cars. In the parking lot, an organizer, Margarita Ferebee of Riverhead, took to a bullhorn as a crowd of about 30 to 35 people gathered around her. “We all stand for future generations,” she said.
She said that police officers “cannot continue to abuse people — how dare they?” Her speech was followed by chants of “no justice, no peace,” and “I can’t breathe.”
When she finished, she said in an interview she had hoped to have a candlelight vigil “for the people killed by police.” She said it was colder and windier than she expected.
“We stand for the people who have been killed,” she said.
Standing in the crowd, Franklin Robinson of Riverhead said that, while he disagreed with some of the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement, he came to the Sunday night vigil to show his support.
“I am here in support, but I do disagree with some of the things that are said,” he said. “I have children to raise, and I want a better world for them.”
Raniya Lee Jimenez, who stood by her car, which was covered with BLM slogans, said, “We are here for all that has gone wrong that we want to see made right.”