TARRYTOWN, NY — The organizers of the Black Women’s March anticipated arrests. In preparation, a GoFundMe page was set up to raise $15,000 in bail money for the marchers, who wanted to walk from Tarrytown to Nyack on Saturday, April 7, across the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which is still under construction.
Police from Tarrytown, Westchester County, and New York State were also prepared. Officers on foot, on horseback, and in helicopters were stationed along the march route, which started at the Tarrytown Shopping Center, at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 119.
The marchers, many of whom were white, rallied at the shopping center for an hour, starting at 11 a.m. The organizers were Vanessa Green of Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley and Tonia Conner of 100 Sistas, which prepares and serves free meals for the public at the Yonkers YMCA, among other activities.
On the website for BlackLine, a 24-hour crisis hotline for reporting negative contact with police and vigilantes, a broad range of 30 demands were posted prior to the march. The demands were gathered from black women in Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Ulster counties.
Despite the threat of arrests, the marchers headed east on 119 at noon, toward Exit 9 of the New York State Thruway. The exit was blocked by state plow trucks and by a line of state troopers who stood shoulder to shoulder.
The two sides were soon face to face. There were warnings by the troopers, taunts by the marchers, and a brief period of pushing and shoving. Half an hour later, the standoff subsided with neither arrests nor injuries.
The marchers returned to the shopping center, then crossed the bridge in a car caravan. The organizers vowed that there would be future marches at other bridges. “No more business as usual,” was the message from Green. In the meantime, the bail money continued to accumulate.
Tim Lamorte is an award-winning journalist who has spent almost two decades documenting life along the Hudson River.