On Saturday morning at 9am, there will be a Black Lives Matter “Protest and Memorial” in Cruz Bay. The Facebook event states “This protest is to stand in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters in the US. We are speaking up and speaking out against racially motivated crimes and hate against African American communities.”
The gathering will begin with nine minutes of silence in the field near the National Park Dock.
The organizer, Jalayne Jones, urges participants to wear their masks and bring sunscreen and water. The temperature is rising as we enter hurricane season here on St. John. But we are confident everyone will keep their cool and come together in a peaceful way this weekend. “I want to make sure this is peaceful,” she stressed. “Absolutely peaceful.”
Jalayne has worked, with the support of her long time employers at Skinny Legs, to ensure everything is set for Saturday’s gathering. Skinny Legs, like many other St. John businesses, will be opening a little later in the day so their staff is able to attend if they choose to do so.
The National Park Service will be opening their restrooms to the public for the first time since April from 9AM-3PM that day. She has spoken with the VI Department of Health and wants to stress to everyone that masks are not optional and keeping the crowd as distanced from one another as possible is important as well. Irie Pops has volunteered free water at their storefront across the street from the NPS dock throughout the morning.
Earlier this week, the Virgin Islands Police Department delivered an emotional message via video on their Facebook page. In reference to George Floyd’s death, St. Croix police chief Sydney Elscoe said, “The video demonstrates a long-term culture of wrongdoing practiced by some members of that agency.” And it reached a level in which the officers felt comfortable with their actions. “These actions are clearly excessive and cannot be justified,“ he concluded.
With a nod to the peaceful protests being organized on St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix, the police chief extends VIPD’s support of the rights of citizens to gather in memorial and peaceful demonstration.
Jalayne has also spoken directly to VIPD on St. John and they ensured that they would be at the gathering in support and to ensure everything goes smoothly. There are no roadblocks arranged so, if you are in the Cruz Bay area Saturday morning, please avoid driving through town. If you must, please be aware of the event going on that may cause some delays.
If you are in town for the walk tomorrow, please consider stopping by some locally owned businesses for lunch! Uncle Joe’s BBQ, located across from the Post Office has amazing BBQ chicken and ribs with sides!
OR, grab yourself a frozen treat from Philomen at Cool Desires! She will be making up some fresh fruit smoothies after she participates in the peaceful protest. She is directly across from the National Park Dock and next to Margarita Phil’s! Stay safe and hydrated tomorrow everyone!