GREENE COUNTY, N.Y.—I knew about the June 4 march in Catskill to protest the murder of George Floyd only because I read about it that morning on a community Facebook page. So I expected to see a few dozen people at most, given not just the limited advance information but also the fact that Greene County (of which Catskill is the main town) is 90 percent white and went overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. There are only 47,000 people in this entire county, but by my estimate, about 1,000 people turned out for the event. The crowd included significant numbers of black, white, and Latino protesters, mostly young, but with a fair number of older people, too. I had the feeling from the looks on many people’s faces that they were as surprised as I was by the turnout.
Call-and-response shouts of “No justice, no peace” rang out as we walked across the historic bridge that spans the Catskill Creek and continued up to Main Street, which looks like the back lot for a movie set in the 19th century. Many marchers wore “I can’t breathe” T-shirts, and I saw two white people carrying signs that read, “White silence equals violence.” Everyone took a knee at the police station.