Scores of Indian-Americans marched on Oak Tree Road in Edison, New Jersey to register their support for Black Lives Matter and against systemic racism.
Holding up placards saying Black Lives Matter, organizers said they wanted to express their solidarity with what Blacks face day in and day out. While the crowd in the march was racially mixed, the majority were Indian-American.
Edison is one of the most multicultural townships, and the dominant ethnicity there over the years, has become the Indian community whose presence is ubiquitous. It is akin to a Little India with shops and businesses owned by Indians predominant.
While many placards had words like Black Lives Matter there were a few telling ones relating to the Indian experience.
“Aunty, Uncle, Log Kya Kahenge If You’re Racist” said one of the placards carried by a young man, roughly meaning – “Aunty, Uncle, what will people say if you are a racist”; Another placard said “Unfair & Lovely, Black Lives Matter,” a reference to the penchant whitening creams among some Indians, and words used in matrimonial sections of Indian newspapers.
Riya, last name not known, one of the organizers told ITV Gold,. … We wanted to organize this march and vigil for the Black lives that have been lost because of police brutality and just white violence. “The Edison community is majorly Indian and South Asian community and this was the best way to show our solidarity.”
Another Indian-American participant in the march, who was not identified by name in the ITV Gold video, said Edison had also dealt with police violence 15 to 20 years ago and today was a model for other townships and America.
Three young women who were part of the march spoke out against the violence. “Everyone should be treated equally and no one should be considered less,” said Neha. Another said, am proud to be from Oak Tree. They all stand for every community. We stand for all communities. We are always open to equality for all especially for Black Lives – that’s something we are stressing today.”
Dr. Santosh Mukherji said, “We really condemned what has happened to Black people. We want equal treatment for Black and White people in America because America is for everyone, it is an immigrant country, so it should be for all.”
Several young Black activists also spoke at the rally. A large cardboard plaque carried the pictures of all those killed in the recent past as a result of police use of force, to pay homage to them.