UTICA, N.Y. – More than 70 people came together in Oneida Square for a Black Lives Matter rally Friday, starting at 4 p.m.
People came out to show support for the movement, holding signs that read “If all lives matter, why are we terrorizing Black lives?” and “’Good trouble’ is not a felony.”
‘Good trouble’ is a phrase that was used by the late congressman John Lewis, who was a civil rights activist for many years.
The rally was also held to show opposition for new laws, proposed by state sheriffs, that would make it a felony to resist arrest or approach a police officer within 25 feet when on the job.
Organizers say this would put peaceful protestors, and witnesses to police crimes, at risk of facing a felony in precarious situations.
"We want to make sure people can continue to protest and continue to stand up and speak their voice for their first amendment rights. Without worrying about a felony,” said Jill Farnham, of the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Utica.
The New York State Sheriffs' Association made the proposals last month, saying increased penalties to certain crimes would better protect law enforcement.
Friday's event was organized by Indivisible Mohawk Valley and Central New York Citizen Action.