A diverse group of more than 90 people marched from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs Saturday morning in a peaceful protest to call attention to the recent deaths of African American men by police officers during traffic stops, pedestrian stops, or while in police custody.

Marchers of all ages gathered at Ocean Park. — Steve Myrick

The marchers ranged in age from infants in strollers to those approaching 80 years old. Many in the crowd held signs and chanted “black lives matter,” as they marched under a broiling sun, and received honks of appreciation from passing motorists. The Lagoon Pond bridge tender offered a horn blast as the group marched across the drawbridge.

It took the group about an hour and 20 minutes to reach the bandstand in Ocean Park.

Mathea Morais of Chilmark carried a sign that said “White Silence Equals Violence.” She helped organize the march, mostly through social media.

“I was looking at a lot of Facebook posts, people were really upset,” she said. “A lot of people expressed outrage. I reached out to a group of moms. I am the mother of three mixed children. I grew up in St. Louis, where Michael Brown was killed. All this feels very close to home.” Mr. Brown was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. in 2014, an incident that sparked widespread protests and a U.S. Justice Department investigation.

Marchers said they participated to show their frustration, and support. — Steve Myrick

Several marchers Saturday expressed frustration and said they marched because they felt a need to demonstrate their concern.

“Being that I am a black male, and being able to benefit from the privilege of living in an environment where black lives are not at risk, it’s my obligation to do something,” said Zion Morris, who grew up in Edgartown and now lives in New York. He carried a sign that said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Another marcher, a seasonal resident of Oak Bluffs, said she was concerned about her three teenaged nephews staying safe.

“I truly think that all lives matter,” she said. “But when you shine the light on what has been happening for decades in the black community, you can’t really say all lives matter. What we’ve been dealing with is historical, it happens all the time.”

She added that social media has brought the issue to the forefront in recent years because of the proliferation of mobile phone cameras.

“There’s always two sides to the story, but at least you get to see the other side,” she said.

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