Black Lives Matters rallies a show of unity in Merrimack and Londonderry

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Several speakers took the stage in the parking lot of Mack’s Apples in Londonderry. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Two peaceful Black Lives Matters rallies Friday – in Londonderry and Merrimack – drew hundreds of supporters in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

An estimated 300 people gathered at Mack’s Apples in Londonderry around noon. The peaceful rally was attended by people of all ages who gathered in the orchard parking lot.

Londonderry Police Chief Bill Hart was one of the first to speak to the crowd. He said changes need to be made to improve policing and acknowledged the mission of Black Lives Matters and the role they’ve been taking on in organizing similar rallies around the state.

Londonderry Police Chief Bill Hart speaks to group gathered for a Black Lives Matter rally Friday. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

At one point the crowd knelt together for a moment of silence remembering those who have lost their lives to police brutality.

Londonderry Police, NH State Police, Rockingham County Sheriff units, and area towns stood by on area roads to assure safety for all.

The rally lasted about 90 minutes and was peaceful.

At 6:30 p.m. another peaceful crowd gathered at Abbie Griffin Park. Merrimack resident Samantha Searles organized a rally to bring people together to share messages of hope and advocate for change. Hundreds came together and listened as some of their fellow Merrimack residents of color shared personal stories about racism they had experienced in town and at school.

A peaceful demonstration at Abbie Griffin Park in Merrimack June 12. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Some noted the negative comments which have been shared on various Merrimack social media forums about the calls for racial justice.

State Sen. Melanie Levesque, D-Nashua, spoke about progress she’s seen in New Hampshire and the need to keep moving forward.

No police officers were visible in the immediate area, but Merrimack Police assisted with traffic for the event. The rallies were among many planned across New Hampshire this week.

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Jeffrey Hastings

Jeffrey Hastings is a freelance photojournalist and runs Manchester Information community Facebook page.