Video of first-grader marching in Merrick against police brutality goes viral
Amid the legion of demonstrators marching through Merrick streets Wednesday, it was 7-year-old Wynta-Amor Rogers’ fierce expressions on her cherubic face that won hearts and imaginations the world over when she was captured on camera chanting “No justice, no peace.”
A 15-second video tweeted Wednesday evening by LI Herald Executive Editor Scott Brinton is all it took for the pint-size activist from Uniondale to catapult to internet fame. Brinton’s tweet featuring the first-grader garnered more than 15.6 million views as of late Thursday afternoon.
The little Long Islander spoke to Newsday earlier Thursday.
She deftly explained, with wisdom beyond her years, why she took to the streets and joined protesters nationwide who are fighting police brutality after the death of George Floyd. Floyd died last week after a Minneapolis police officer was video recorded kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.
“I just want everybody to get along. I want us to be a good New York community,” Wynta-Amor said, while raising up her arms and then bringing them together in front of her. “If we get through with this, we can fight this, you know? And we can come into a big group in one piece — just one piece.”
Unlike some of the corrosive, partisan politics plaguing Washington, D.C., and the country, Wynta-Amor added, the goal is racial unity. “I was marching because I want black people and white people to be together,” she said. “For my message for people, I just want God to be strong. We can get through this.”
Wynta-Amor’s mom, Lakyia Jackson, said Thursday that rain almost kept her and her daughter from the protest in Merrick. But Wynta-Amor wasn’t having any of it, Jackson said.
“She was like, ‘No, mommy, I want to go.’ ”
Jackson said her daughter, who attends the Roosevelt Children’s Academy, understands equality. But she may be too young to grasp some other dynamics of the current racial strife in the country, such as violence and looting.
“I just have to explain to her, everyone is not peaceful,” Jackson said. “She understands the reason why we dropped on our knee was because the police, you know, killed George Floyd. … She understands that there are good cops and there are bad cops.”
When Jackson went to bed Wednesday night, her daughter’s video generated several thousand views. But Thursday morning, when she woke up, Jackson learned her little girl was a newly minted celebrity.
“I was like, ‘Wow, look what my daughter has done.’ She has been heard.”
Jackson said she is not listening to any critics who argue her daughter is too young to be protesting.
“To the negative comments, God bless ya’ll. … I just hope that they can come to peace,” Jackson said.
Much like her mother, Wynta-Amor is elated by her recent fame. In fact, she reverts to speaking like someone her age, instead of a seasoned, political activist, while explaining her glee.
“I’m like — OMG,” a beaming Wynta-Amor said. “This is like my dream come true.”