(Photos: Ali Tufan Koc)

“I’m here, because… black is made from all the colors of windows.”

“I’m here, because… I don’t want to see my mom crying while watching the news.”

“I’m here, because… I want to protect my friends from the police.”

“I’m here, because… I want to help others.”

Oscar (11), Elijah (5), Caroline (8), Josh (7) and many more kids who joined the Black Lives Matter family protest with their parents last Sunday at Prospect Park knew why they were there, and were experienced enough to know how to make a difference. 

This was Josh’s fourth demonstration in two years. He was one of the thousands of kids protesting climate change last September in Lower Manhattan. He’s now a professional at making his own protest sign and delivering the message he wants to share in a simple form, his mother Catherine says. 

Oscar holds a sign that says “Deborah Danner,” was fatally shot by NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry on October 18, 2016, in her home in the Bronx. (Police said she was armed with a pair of scissors and then a baseball bat). Oscar is here today not just to protest the death of George Floyd but also remind people of Deborah and others who were shot by the police.  

Caroline wore emoji socks and a rainbow-color mask and held a sign she made on her own using her favorite color, purple. She didn’t want to go back home yet. She intended to stay longer. 

Part of a diverse mix of more than 500 people at the Black Lives Matter family protest, the kids were aware that it was more than just another Sunday inthe park. They were there to raise their voices. They intended to stay longer and get louder. Despite the widespread concern about “fake” protests and disclaimed meeting points, the crowd successfully united at Grand Army Plaza.  

Some were there to support the protestors and were ready to provide anything parents and kids might need. A young Brooklyn couple carried two large IKEA bags filled with protein bars, snacks and bottled waters to be shared with the crowd. Respect, appreciation, and kindness among kids and strangers spread out as the crowd got louder. 

Behind the crowd, a four-year-old black boy tried to teach his baby brother how to clap hands. He held his hands and moved them towards as the crowd loudly clapped and shouted: “I can’t breathe.” 

Moving his body with excitement and fear, the baby started to clap his hands on his own, perhaps for the first time. Staring at his brother, he smiled again with a bigger clap. 

“Look, ma! I made it. He’s doing it. Now say with me: Black… Lives… Matter!”