A year ago yesterday, June 3, 2020,
a group of young Roosevelt Island activists were among the organizers of an
Roosevelt Island March For Justice
from the Cornell Tech campus to Good Shepherd Plaza protesting the murder of
George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
On Tuesday, May 25,2021 the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA)
Public Safety Committee (PSC) together with two of the young March For Justice
activists, Joie St. Hubert and Zoe Lopez, held a vigil and program at the
Meditation Steps in memory of George Floyd’s murder one year ago.
Roosevelt Island residents taking a knee tonight at Mediation Steps
commemorating 1 year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.
— Roosevelt Islander (@Rooseveltisland)
May 25, 2021
After the program, I asked the organizers, Joie St. Hubert, Zoe Lopez, Erin
Feeley-Nahem, Ike Nahem, Frank Farance and another young resident, Dleanna H.
what the Roosevelt Island George Floyd remembrance meant to them.
According to Joie St Hubert:
As a young black person in America, honestly, it gives me hope that these
conversations are starting to be had and as much as we have not made as much
progress as we wanted, the fact that conversations are slowly starting to
happen, it encourages me.
And Zoe Lopez:
We’re hopeful, we’ve made progress since last year. We’ll make progress next
The only thing about being on the Island is you don’t see these things
happening. Obviously, being here we’re a lot more sheltered which is why we
need to have these conversations but it doesn’t happen as much here. We’re
relatively safe in our little two mile radius and as soon as you go across
the Tram it changes.
Joie St Hubert added:
I think it’s beautiful that as a community we were able to come together and
recognize that you know these awful things are going on and these injustices.
We’re able to as a community come together. To me that was really powerful.
Erin Feely-Nahem said:
… We need to keep the pressure on. For us today, inspired by the
actions that they had done last year, which we were unable to attend, we
wanted to do something in conjunction together. Almost like handing over to
the next activist the way forward. Being part of that and sharing that
experience, it meant that our community was not only able to acknowledge
that this is a reality but start to work together to fight against it.
It’s also RIRA coming back….
And Ike Nahem:
…I’ve been involved in struggles like this since I was a teenager, since I
was the age of some of these young activists so it it certainly gives me
great satisfaction to see a new generation of young people becoming
conscious and engaging in a struggle.
The fact that we have a community here, that as these two young sisters just
said, the fact that we are on Roosevelt Island have been able to push back
because of the past struggles that took place seven years ago, now eight
years ago, to win some advances that create more space and constitutional
policing but it’s a constant struggle…
And Frank Farance:
… Roosevelt Island should be an examplar for all of the things that have
happened here, both bad and good. This is a model community for how it’s
… As someone who’s grown up in the civil rights movement, I’ll just say I
thought we were making progress for many years. I feel like in the past
year, past couple years, I didn’t realize how fragile all the progress was
that we made in the past 50 years, but I’m glad to be here on Roosevelt
Island because this really is a model for elsewhere. …
Zoe Lopez added:
Absolutely, like what you were saying, public safety works because it wasn’t
built on racism….
And Dleanna H:
It meant a lot to me because I went to the first protest that happened last
year and now I’m at this one today and I just wanted to reflect on this past
It really does mean a lot to see what changes, if there were changes, if
there weren’t changes, just evaluate and think about what has happened over
the past year.
But think about these moments, these people who have died because of what is
going on and just keep them in our hearts and in our heads and just think
about and pray about them for the rest of our lives. This is a time to
remember, especially for people of color, and just people out there, just to
think about what has happened
Watch the full interview
and Joie St Hubert ending the program with a beautiful performance of Lift
Every Voice, often referred to as the Black National Anthem.
Here’s the entire May 25, 2021 Roosevelt Island Vigil and Program in Memory of