The Queens Memory Project brings you the fourth episode of season two of the Queens Memory Podcast. This season we have collected documented experiences of Queens residents during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In this episode, we hear first-hand accounts of our Queens neighbors who have participated in the Black Lives Matter movement, their experiences at protests, and what we can do to keep the movement going.
Black Lives Matter protests have swept across the country in the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, with many demonstrations taking place in Queens.
Krystal Padilla of Woodside talks about getting involved in protests for the first time, describing herself as a “quiet and shy person,” and how she felt particularly passionate about supporting BLM as she has faced harassment as a Latina woman. Padilla, like so many others, followed the call to action.
Born and raised Queens, resident and community activist Ty Hankerson spoke at and helped organize several demonstrations this summer. Hankerson emphasizes the importance of protesting but also the necessity of doing work beyond the day of a march, including getting out to vote.
Organizer Tunisia Morrison from South Jamaica talks about her efforts to get a Black Lives Matter mural in Queens. Morrison was distinct about her desire for every person who works on it to be black and to come from the local area. When she voiced this opinion to community leaders, she says it served as a “big spark” for everyone involved. Morrison was instrumental in the placement of the Black Lives Matter mural now on the street along Rufus King Park, and outside Queens Family Courthouse.
Lawyer, activist, and organizer Khaair Morrison (Tunisia’s brother) talks about his connection to the community and the work he has done, which includes holding an Instagram live session with his mentor, Congressman Gregory Meeks which drew over 100 viewers, to talk about police reform in Congress.
Queens Memory Podcast staff member Anna Williams attended a Street Riders NYC ride and included a recording of her experience. The activist group began its rides on June 6, and has drawn over 10,000 cyclists. The route Williams followed traveled from Flushing Meadows, Corona Park, across the Queensboro Bridge, and into Manhattan.
Lulu White of Ridgewood used her embroidery talents to raise funds for the Pittsburgh Black Business Relief Fund. Her piece includes the James Baldwin quote: “You're talking about the people who have the power, who intend to keep the power. And all they can think of are things like swimming pools, you know, in the summertime, and sort of made up jobs to simply protect peace and the public property. But they show no sign whatsoever of understanding what the root of the problem really is, what the dangers really are.”
Queens Memory Podcast producer Giulia Hjort and White discuss learning about the Black Lives Matter movement, taking part in protests, and their continued self-education on racism.
“Vigil” by Queens Memory Podcast composer Elias Ravin plays at the end of the episode, which was composed in honor of George Floyd.
This season of Queens Memory was produced by Jordan Gass-Poore in conjunction with: Anna Williams, Syreeta Gates, Giulia Hjort, Theresa Gaffney, Jo-Ann Wong, and Natalie Milbrodt. Editing was done by Anna Williams with mixing by Briana Stodden and music by Elias Ravin and the Blue Dot Sessions. Special thanks for funding support from the New York Community Trust. Queens Memory is an ongoing community archiving program by the Queens Public Library and Queens College, CUNY.