Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin, and John.
- Dick Holler
ORLEANS — As Summer Bates started walking up over the hill to the middle school parking lot Saturday, tears came to her eyes. A torrent of people was pouring down to the village green to join a protest march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
“We hoped maybe there would be 100 people,” Bates, a Harwich resident who attends Nauset High, said of the students who organized the event. But more than 1,000 folks of all ages turned out wearing masks and holding handmade signs. One read, “If you think your mask makes it hard to breathe imagine being black in America.”
Route 28 was shut down from the green to the Jonathan Young Windmill. Three motorcycle officers — one each from Chatham, Harwich, and Orleans — cleared the route ahead and bicycle officers rode alongside the protesters. Orleans Chief Scott MacDonald exchanged texts with Bates as the event began.
“He was checking in to make sure everything was good,” she said.
The marchers filled the street from side to side. “Stop Killing Black People” was the message on one banner, and another with a drawing of a mother and child responded to George Floyd’s last words: “All mothers were summoned when he called out for his mama.”
At the windmill, speaker Tamara Israel urged the crowd to continue the struggle.
“It does not stop here,” she said. “Keep this same energy in November… Ask your local representatives if they have a black agenda. If not, ask why. The only way forward is together.”
“Our community showed just how really strong they are,” Bates said the day after the march. “I definitely want to continue supporting the cause. I don’t want this movement to slip people’s minds.”