As President Trump holds a rally in Oklahoma, here in the city protesters showed up to Trump Tower to voice their support for Black Lives Matter and demand his removal from office.
Just before 7 P.M., a group of more than three hundred protesters marched down Fifth Avenue until until they reached Trump Tower.
There message was loud and clear, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have to be voted out of office come November.
Since it was also a Black Lives Matter protest, demonstrators also demanded an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
“It started as a Black movement, but now it’s become a human rights movement,” said one protester in attendance. “You see people from all over, from all races, from all nationalities saying, ‘Hey! Enough is enough.’”
Though Times Square is nearly empty now, thousands of bicyclists took to the streets around 4:30 P.M., stopping traffic for more than an hour.
On 7th Avenue from 42nd Street to 49th Street, the protesters demonstrated peacefully, demanding a racial equality. New Yorkers who attended the rally said the issue is too big to be ignored any longer.
“Personally, for me, there has to be more change,” said one man. “We can’t let this die down … We’re learning a lot, but there still has to be systematic change. They want us to just go away, so we just got to keep going.”
Other protesters said much the same: that the protests can’t, and won’t, end any time soon.
“I think this has to be done for the foreseeable future,” another local said.
This all comes after thousands of New Yorkers participated in protests, marches, and celebrations to mark Juneteenth on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it will become an official city and school holiday next year.
Around 6 p.m. Friday, thousands were marching over the Brooklyn Bridge. They started at Grand Army Plaza and are heading for City Hall in Manhattan.
Children and their parents marched to Gracie Mansion this afternoon, calling on Mayor De Blasio to continue to defund the NYPD.
Hundreds made their way from Central Park to the mansion, holding signs demanding money for schools instead of the police departments.
“It was really important for my kids to experience this and be a part of history. The world is changing, we need to be on the right sign of it,” said a parent.
“It’s about the justice, you know? We have to get justice in our community. How are the ones who are supposed to be protecting us doing the opposite?” said one kid.
Mayor de Blasio didn’t make an appearance or address the crowd but protesters said they hope he understands their message.
Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission
Meanwhile, during his daily briefing Friday, the mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray also announced the formation of a new commission: the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Commission.
“Racism has been a pervasive and consequential force throughout the city’s history and we cannot go back to the status quo,” de Blasio said. "We must use the past to inform and inspire the present, to promote the dignity and well-being of all New Yorkers, and their full inclusion in the life of our city.”
The exact role and power of this commission is a bit unclear. McCray said it would identify where racism exists in city history.
NY1 asked City Hall for a list of members and was told the city is in the process of identifying the chair and membership.
Officials did say the commission will work over the next year to create a historical record of racial discrimination for the five boroughs. It will also provide a platform for New Yorkers to share their personal experiences with racism and discrimination.
Black Lives Matter Murals on Streets
The commission was clearly inspired by the groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement seen in massive protests across the city earlier this month. To “commemorate” that movement, the city will be painting five additional Black Lives Matter murals on streets — one in each borough.
The streets getting the murals are Centre Street in Manhattan, Richmond Terrace on Staten Island, Joralemon Street in Brooklyn, 153rd Street in Queens, and Morris Avenue in the Bronx.
Brooklyn-based artists painted the words "Black Lives Matter" along part of Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
At each end, yellow blocks are filled with the names of black people who have been killed by police.
Staten Island Councilwoman Debi Rose said the location of the borough’s mural, Richmond Terrace, is designed to make people take notice, whether they live on Staten Island or just come to visit.
“This is our front door,” she said, “and when tourists visit Staten Island, they will see that black lives matter here on Staten Island, and everybody that comes to Staten Island or leaves Staten Island will be reminded of the role black people have here on Staten Island.”
Richmond Terrace has also been renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza.
The parks department also announced it is renaming parks across the five boroughs in an effort to honor African American history. The first park to be renamed is Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, now known as Juneteenth Grove.
Several park names will be announced November 2.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
This story includes reporting by Rocco Vertuccio, Ron Lee, Michael Herzenberg, Angi Gonzalez, and Ruschell Boone.