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The Story Behind Nyack’s Long-Standing Protestor

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If you’ve been to the village of Nyack recently, you may have seen a man at Veteran’s Park holding a sign that says “Murder is Murder in God’s Eyes. Black Lives Matter.” This man is Andrew Minniefield, and when we spoke to him in early July, he’d been protesting every day for the past month.

Minniefield, whose family has lived in Nyack for generations, is no stranger to protesting. He used to picket outside of his union, and, even more recently, he protested the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012. When he saw the murder of George Floyd on television, he decided to pick up a sign again. He walked to Veteran’s Park and stood there protesting the murder of black people in America.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Minniefield

He stood there because he could “no longer just sit at home and not be active,” he says. At first, he was alone. He received honks and affirmations from passersby. Then, something beautiful happened. Minniefield was approached by artist Kristina Burns, who asked if she could join him. As time passed, more and more people joined in to protest for change.

“I’m retired, so I can be down there every day,” he says. “Young people have to work, but whatever time they can spend down there, that’s great, too.”

Ever since Burns and others joined in the protest, Minniefield has never stood alone. He and others usually congregate around 2 p.m. and stay to protest until about 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. each day. They choose to stop around that time because they don’t want to interfere with businesses making money during dinner hours, he says.

“It’s been nice to see Nyack awakening to the things that are going wrong in the country and around the world,” he says. “This is an incredible moment that we’re having.”

Minniefield says he is proud of the youth in Nyack for protesting and for other actions they have taken, like painting “Black Lives Matter” on Main Street. “I can only be the match,” he says. “It’s up to the young people to be the fire.”

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