Movement

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York

Formation:

2016

Founder and President:

Hank Newsome

For the national movement, see Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York is a direct-action protest organization that claims to support the liberation of the black community from racist oppression. The organization is not affiliated with the official Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and instead operates as an independent path from the national movement. Its leaders have been frequently profiled in the media and have reached out to constituencies as different as supporters of President Donald Trump[1] to chapters of the far-left Democratic Socialists of America.

Activism

Black Lives Matter of Greater New York became active in 2016. It has a reputation for being more direct-action and confrontation-oriented than other BLM chapters and organizations.

Trump Administration Travel Ban

In February 2017, New York City Police Department officers arrested Newsome while he was protesting against the Trump administration’s travel ban on several predominately Muslim countries. Newsome claims that he was nearly killed during the arrest. All charges were dropped.[2]

Police

In June 2017, Newsome and his organization protested the verdict acquitting Jeronimo Yanez, a Minnesota police officer who shot black concealed carry holder Philando Castile to death. During the march, Newsome told a reporter at the New York Observer that the United States “lynched another black man.”[3]

In June 2018, Newsome was arrested in a scuffle with New York City police during a protest. He claims that an officer hit him with a bicycle.[4]

Charlottesville, Virginia Counter-Protest

In July 2017, organization members were involved in a counter-protest of a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville.[5] In September 2017, Newsome and members protested a pro-Trump rally on the National Mall in Washington D.C. In a twist of events, rally organizers allowed Newsome and some members of his organization to take the stage and address attendees. Newsome and his organization were denounced by the official Black Lives Matter organization for accepting the invitation.[6]

March for Our Lives

In March 2018, Newsome and the group took part in the New York City March For Our Lives anti-gun rights rally alongside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D).[7]

2020 Protests

On June 24, 2020, Newsome remarked in an interview with Fox News that “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. All right? And I could be speaking figuratively. I could be speaking literally. It’s a matter of interpretation.”[8]

Carmine’s Restaurant Vaccination Mandate Protest

In September 2021, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York organized protests outside the Italian restaurant, Carmine’s, over an alleged incident of racial profiling by restaurant staff. [9] According to protestors, a hostess removed three black women, who were visiting New York from Texas, from the restaurant after accusing them of having fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination became required for entry into any restaurant in New York City during 2021 as a result of a highly controversial policy implemented by Mayor Bill DeBlasio. [10]

The confrontation led to a brawl between the women and staff outside the restaurant. Surveillance footage released by the restaurant following the protests revealed that it was one of the women that had instigated the fight by throwing the first punch. [11] One of the female diners also alleged that the hostess used a racial slur against the women, which the restaurant’s owner “unequivocally denied.” [12]

At the protests, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York’s co-founder, Chivona Newsom argued that the hostess had used the vaccine card as an excuse for racial prejudice, saying “We’re putting this city on notice, that your mandate will not be another racist social-distance practice. Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat; that is a promise. The vaccination passport is not a free passport to racism.” [13]

Chivona Newsome, also made broader statements against the policy of vaccination mandates, saying “Seventy-two percent of black people in this city from ages 18 to 44 are unvaccinated. So what is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up black people, from snatching them off the train, off the bus?” [14]

References

  1. Cawood, Jeffrey. 2017. “Black Lives Matter-D.C. Condemns ‘Fake’ BLM Group That Shared Stage With Trump Supporters”. Daily Wire. https://www.dailywire.com/news/21404/black-lives-matter-dc-condemns-fake-blm-group-jeffrey-cawood. ^
  2.   Perez, Maria. 2017. “New York Police Nearly Killed A Black Lives Matter Leader, A New Lawsuit Claims”. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/black-lives-matter-leader-suing-nypd-being-slammed-during-anti-trump-protest-724376. ^
  3. Toure, Madina. 2017. “‘March For Philando Castile’ Takes Black Lives Matter From Harlem To Trump Tower”. Observer. http://observer.com/2017/06/philando-castile-black-lives-matter-harlem-trump-tower/. ^
  4. McShane, Larry. 2018. “Black Lives Matter Protester Charges NYPD Smashed Him With Bicycle”. Nydailynews.Com. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-assaulted-man-sues-20180613-story.html#. ^
  5.   Kirst, Seamus. 2018. “18-Year-Old Nupol Kiazolu Is The Activist We Need Right Now”. Teen Vogue. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/nupol-kiazolu-of-black-lives-matter-of-greater-new-york-explains-her-journey-into-activism. ^
  6. Cawood, Jeffrey. 2017. “Black Lives Matter-D.C. Condemns ‘Fake’ BLM Group That Shared Stage With Trump Supporters”. Daily Wire. https://www.dailywire.com/news/21404/black-lives-matter-dc-condemns-fake-blm-group-jeffrey-cawood. ^
  7. Brown, Daniel. 2018. “‘NRA Sashay Away’: 175,000 People Took To The Streets For New York City’s ‘March For Our Lives’ Rally”. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-nyc-march-for-our-lives-protest-gun-violence-parkland-florida-2018-3#the-uncle-of-one-of-the-parkland-victims-gina-rose-montalto-was-marching-as-well-14. ^
  8. Garcia, Victor. “Black Lives Matter leader states if US ‘doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system'” Fox News. June 24, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2020. Available at: https://www.foxnews.com/media/black-lives-matter-leader-burn-down-system ^
  9. Chastain, Mary. “Black Lives Matter to NYC: Covid Vaccine ‘Mandate Will Not Be Another Racist Social-Distance Practice’.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion |, September 21, 2021. https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/09/black-lives-matter-to-nyc-covid-vaccine-mandate-will-not-be-another-racist-social-distance-practice/. ^
  10. “After Altercation at Restaurant, Black Lives Matter Claims Nyc Vaccine Mandate Is Being Weaponized.” Yahoo! Yahoo! Accessed October 6, 2021. https://www.yahoo.com/now/altercation-restaurant-black-lives-matter-025931111.html. ^
  11. Downey, Caroline. “After Altercation at Restaurant, Black Lives Matter Claims Nyc Vaccine Mandate Is Being Weaponized.” National Review. National Review, October 5, 2021. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/after-altercation-at-restaurant-black-lives-matter-claims-nyc-vaccine-mandate-is-being-weaponized/. ^
  12. Downey, Caroline. “After Altercation at Restaurant, Black Lives Matter Claims Nyc Vaccine Mandate Is Being Weaponized.” National Review. National Review, October 5, 2021. https://www.nationalreview.com/news/after-altercation-at-restaurant-black-lives-matter-claims-nyc-vaccine-mandate-is-being-weaponized/. ^
  13. Chastain, Mary. “Black Lives Matter to NYC: Covid Vaccine ‘Mandate Will Not Be Another Racist Social-Distance Practice’.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion |, September 21, 2021. https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/09/black-lives-matter-to-nyc-covid-vaccine-mandate-will-not-be-another-racist-social-distance-practice/. ^
  14. Chastain, Mary. “Black Lives Matter to NYC: Covid Vaccine ‘Mandate Will Not Be Another Racist Social-Distance Practice’.” Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion |, September 21, 2021. https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/09/black-lives-matter-to-nyc-covid-vaccine-mandate-will-not-be-another-racist-social-distance-practice/. ^
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