Peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest walk to be held in Darien at 1 p.m. Sunday
A peaceful ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest walk is being organized in Darien on Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m. at Trader Joe’s at 436 Post Road in Darien and ending at the Darien Police Station on Hecker Avenue.
Darien residents Steven Gomez, 20 and Barak Mustafa, 19, both Middlesex and Darien High graduates, are co-organizers of the event. It was originally advertised under Gomez’s Instagram account. Currently, he said about 20 people have responded with interest, but it was only recently posted so he couldn’t estimate turn out.
Gomez emphasized what the flyer indicated — the protest is peaceful and due to the coronavirus pandemic, and said participants should definitely wear masks and whatever other PPE they are comfortable with.
“My co-organizer and I are two people of color who have been deeply affected by the recent events. We are two members of the Darien community. We both grew up in town, and were active members in the community,” Gomez said.
Gomez said they are “just two friends, who knew that this was a serious issue.”
As people of color in Darien, Gomez said he and Mustafa “have both faced many hardships and struggles”
“We sympathize with our brethren of the black community, and knew, we needed to do something,” Gomez said.
He reached out to another friend, a black man who lived in Darien for most of his life as well, and he explained how he was desensitized to much of the news, because he called it to be “the norm for cops and America.”
Gomez said this is when he and Mustafa realized there was an issue.
“This should not be a normal,” he said.
Gomez added that being a person of color in Darien was “never easy.”
He added that he has experienced racists in all parts of Darien life, which is a fact he and other minorities in Darien “can attest to.”
“Because of this, we knew that we needed to burst the bubble which is Darien. We wanted to make real change, and have our voices heard — and we believed the best way to do so was by having a protest on this issue, created and run by the people of color of this town,” Gomez said.
Gomez added that this is a serious issue that “many Darien people are unaware of, because they do not need to worry about it, have never experienced what it was like to be seen as an outsider, and will never have to experience it, because of their skin color.”
“Hopefully with this protest, and all the other protests around the nation, we can spark change,” Gomez said.
Darien Police Chief Donald Anderson said the department had “learned of this event just a few hours ago.
“we will quickly attempt to open a positive dialogue with the event organizer(s) and provide sufficient staffing as to ensure a peaceable and safe event, he said.
“I would hope that all attendees would mirror the ‘Walk of the Cross’ march we had last week. Again, we recognize the right of both peaceable assembly and protest and look to have all involved remain safe,” Anderson said.