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Nyack Responds to African American Parade Incident

On Sat June 3, downtown Nyack celebrated the 9th Annual African American parade, a non-political event. Unfortunately, the parade was marred by a series of incidents caused by several unlicensed vendors who antagonized marchers and refused to heed organizers’ requests to follow village rules.

by Mayor Jen Laird White
Nyack is a unique place where we respect our neighbors and thoroughly enjoy our diversity of ethnicity, religion, color, race, creed, sexual orientation, points of view and opinions.
Main Street, Nyack, Starbucks. Photo Credit: Dave ZornowAn environment of respect can only exist when people can freely express varying opinions, disagree or protest. Nyack’s street corners offer anyone with a soapbox the opportunity to express themselves. In our Village, that means not disrupting our local businesses or civic organizations that work hard to to lawfully promote a day of recognition, pride or message whether they choose to do so by parade, day of learning, sit-ins, etc.
Nyack families, visitors, and residents participated in the 9th Annual African American parade, a wonderful non-political event to celebrate our rich heritage on Sat June 3.
Unfortunately, the parade was marred by a series of incidents caused by several unlicensed vendors, who antagonized marchers and refused to heed organizers’ requests to follow village rules. Declining the opportunity to purchase a vending license, and in violation of Nyack code, these unlicensed vendors brazenly marched in the parade, causing an enormous amount of distress and even fear among the lawful parade participants and attendees. Ultimately, they provoked a physical altercation, adults were frightened, children cried, and the parade was, in fact disrupted. Once Orangetown police became involved, the men in question fled the area.
I should be clear about who these people were — and who they were not. They were not “vendors.” They were not licensed. And they were not members of local law enforcement. Rather, they were disruptive persons from outside the community, who seemingly came to the parade to disrespect the African American participants. Even worse, this incident was perpetrated by men who cynically and offensively shielded themselves behind a flag that was created to honor the ultimate sacrifice made by members of law enforcement. These men disgraced that flag with their conduct, and dishonored the brave members of our law enforcement community.

Nyack loves its police.

Our police have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving this community during the Brinks Massacre, which has been described as one the first acts of domestic terrorism against our nation back in 1981. We do not tolerate anyone stealing their valor under any circumstance, especially not by a group of racists coming here with the purpose of creating problems during a peaceful community event. The fact that these men used the guise of law enforcement support offends true supporters of the police greatly. Our support of the police includes not tolerating anyone suggesting that our police are racist.

We are a small, diverse and wonderful community.

We respect our neighbors and those who visit. We must protect each other and stand together whenever we see disrespect or hatred directed at anyone, whether African American residents, police officers, gay or trans residents, people of all faiths or any member of the rich cultures that make Nyack, Orangetown and Rockland the amazing places that they are.

This statement, posted on, was written by Jen Laird White, Mayor -Village of Nyack, and signed by Village Trustees Louise Parker, Marie Lorenzini, Donna Lightfoot-Cooper, Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.


Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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