Demonstrations planned around the area

Events are scheduled for Thursdays and Sundays

La Shawn Hawkins, left, holds a proclamation following being honored by Gloversville Common Council on June 9. (Source: City of Gloversville Facebook page)

GLOVERSVILLE — With a mission to seek justice and equality for all races across the United States, and to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement, the organization I Can Breathe and I Will Speak has been formed and a documentary will be filmed on a series of peaceful demonstrations planned for this month.

LaShawn Hawkins, the Gloversville woman who organized several peaceful protests in June, and the creator of I Can Breathe and I Will Speak, a non-profit organization, has a series of peaceful demonstrations planned for every Thursday and Sunday this month, starting with one today at the four corners in Gloversville at 5 p.m.

Demonstrations will then be held on Sunday in Amsterdam at 5 p.m. in front of the Amsterdam Fire Department on Route 5; on Aug. 13 in Palatine Bridge at 4 p.m. in front of the Palatine Bridge Office Building on Main Street; on Aug. 16 in Fonda at 5 p.m. in front of Cumberland Farms on the corner of Main Street; on Aug. 20 at5 p.m. in Johnstown in front of the Johnstown Police Department on Main Street and on Aug. 23 at 5 p.m. in Mayfield on Main Street.

Hawkins said she hopes to then have a march to the Capitol in Albany on Aug. 28. She said she hopes to have groups from Amsterdam, Schenectady and Troy to join the I Can Breathe And I Will Speak organization and march from the Albany Police Department on Morton Avenue to the Capitol Building where she plans to give a speech in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. titled “I’m Woke So His Dream Isn’t Dead After All.”

“Hopefully it will be a nice turnout,” Hawkins said.

She said continuing the demonstrations is important and would like for each demonstration planned to be peaceful just like the demonstrations that were held in June.

It is important the demonstrations stay peaceful, “so we can get our message across, be heard and taken seriously, “ Hawkins said. She said yelling just wastes time.

Hawkins plans to film each of the peaceful demonstrations and turn it into a documentary that she hopes to get the message out of “how it can really happen” and that protests, rallies and demonstrations can happen peacefully while still getting their message across. She would like to have a grand premiere of the documentary outside somewhere in Gloversville and is planning to go on an eight-city tour.

Hawkins said the change she would like to see from these demonstrations and from showing the documentary is “respect.”

“Respect is a big thing needed,” she said. “A lot of it is misunderstanding and misjudgement, and we need to create that dialogue with the community. We can’t be heard with the police departments if we can’t work together.”

The demonstrations are open to the community and are not meant to be political or religious, Hawkins said.

“If you believe all lives matter, and back the blue, come out and prove that,” Hawkins said. “If we’re all equal, come on out.”

To raise funding for the documentary, the I Can Breathe and I Will Speak organization made of 15 people, held a flea market earlier this week in which Hawkins said they raised about $200. She said people can also make donations to the organization.

People can follow “I Can Breathe and I Will Speak” on multiple social media platforms including Facebook at “icanbreatheandiwillspeak;” on Instagram at “icanbreatheandiwill;” on Twitter at “@icanbreatheand1;” on Tik Tok at “icanbreathandiwillspeak” and there will be website coming soon.

To make donations to the organization, they have a donation page set up on Facebook as well as a gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/f/black-lives-matter-i-can-breathe-and-i-will-speak.

The organization also has a merchandise shop at spreadshirt at http://shop.spreadshirt.com/i-can-breathe-and-i-will-speak-/.

Her idea behind the I Can Breathe and I Will Speak came from the younger generation. Seeing so many young people coming together, having their voices heard, “really intrigued me,” Hawkins said.


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