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Protesters demand justice for Jacob Blake during Sunday rally in Nubian Square

Signs were passed out before the start of a vigil and rally in Nubian Square on Sunday.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

A crowd gathered in Roxbury’s Nubian Square on Sunday to call for the arrests of police officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was left paralyzed after he was shot by an officer in Kenosha, Wis.

Part rally, part vigil, the event organized by the Party for Socialism and Liberation was meant to demonstrate solidarity with those who have suffered brutality at the hands of police and demand justice for victims, according to Joe Tache, one of the organizers.

“Boston can’t claim to be a city that cares about racial justice when there are instances of police brutality here,” Tache said in an interview before the event.


About 150 people stood in the shady Justice Edward Gourdin Park around 6 p.m., wearing black and holding signs with phrases like “This is a revolt against racism.”

PSL member Nino Brown began the event with a moment of silence for Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer on Aug. 23. The father of five children was left paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting prompted rallies in the city of Kenosha, which turned violent on Wednesday as counterprotesters clashed with demonstrators. A 17-year-old Illinois resident, Kyle Rittenhouse, who is said to have idolized law enforcement, was charged with killing two people and seriously injuring a third.

“Don’t be sorrowful, because we are here to resist,” Brown said, inspiring applause.

Signs were passed out at the rally.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Brown encouraged protest-goers to be skeptical about the promises made by officials and companies to fight racial injustice.

“They say Black lives matter, but all we see is Black blood splatter in the street everyday,” he said.

An organizer named Gabby compared the shooting of Blake and his arrest with the arrest of Rittenhouse after he had killed two people.


“This is an incredibly accurate microcosm of the differential treatment white people receive from state security forces, particularly when armed and dangerous,” Gabby told the crowd.

Pheonix Printemps addressed the crowd. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

A man named JD also became emotional as he called on the state to prosecute cops involved in shootings.

“I’m sick and tired of crying,” he said into a microphone. “If they do the crime of killing us, they better do the time.”

Several people held signs that said “Baker: Troops out of our streets now!” objecting to Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to activate up to 1,000 members of the National Guard this week. The governor did not give information on why he made this decision.

Tache called the decision “unacceptable,” adding that it showed the governor’s priorities.

“As soon as there are a few hundred people in the streets, the state mobilized the National Guard to suppress protests,” he said before the rally. “They should be going door to door to make sure peoples’ needs are being met.”

After speeches in Nubian Square, the group started its march to Franklin Park. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Around 7:15 p.m., the crowd prepared to march to Franklin Park, beginning a chant of “How do you spell sexist? BPD! How do you spell racist? BPD!”

The marchers took to the streets as the sun began to set. No police led the walk through the streets. Instead, organizers wearing orange vests directed traffic, waving cars down side streets.

“Same story every time. Being Black is not a crime!” the crowd chanted.

At the end of their march, the group turned into Franklin Park.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Several pedestrians and bikers joined the march as protesters made their way down Washington Street. Cars blared their horns — some in solidarity, others in frustration — as the group crossed busy Columbia Avenue.


Around 8:30 p.m. the marchers arrived at Franklin Park, filing past the Boston Lights lantern show. Gathered around a small campfire, they joined in a drum performance led by the Jericho Movement, a group dedicated to raising awareness about political prisoners in the United States. Protesters clapped along to the rhythm, illuminated by the fire.