ATLANTIC CITY — Local activist Steve Young said Thursday he will accept Mayor Marty Small Sr.’s invitation to join the city’s Black Lives Matter event in front of the Civil Rights Garden on Friday.
The city is currently attempting to remove Young from two appointed positions he holds after a July 4 rally ended with Young and six others arrested for attempting to block the entrance to the Atlantic City Expressway. Young has another rally planned for 1 p.m. Friday in front of Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.
Young had sought permission from the state to paint the Boardwalk there with “Black Lives Matter,” a move that would violate local laws. He said on his 88.7 WEHA-FM radio program Thursday evening he and other organizers waited weeks for a response but none has come, so they will hold the rally but won’t paint anything.
“The mayor offered an olive branch,” Young said. “We just want to say today we welcome that, and we will be there.”
Small welcomed Young’s participation in the event.
“Confrontation or anything isn’t good for the city or the region,” the mayor said. “We look forward to this day of unity, coming together for a common cause.”
Young said his rally is at Boardwalk Hall because that’s where civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer famously stated at the 1964 Democratic National Convention that she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
“We will have a great and joyous and unified time saying Black Lives Matter,” Young said.
Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died from a police chokehold while being arrested in New York in 2014, will be a speaker at Young’s rally, and he said she will attend the city’s rally as well. Young previously said Terrence Floyd, brother of George, who died May 25 in Minneapolis police custody, would be a guest at the rally.
On Thursday, Young visited the site on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard where painters had begun to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street for the city’s 2:30 p.m. rally Friday.
“We want to thank those brothers and sisters that are painting it right now, and we will be there tomorrow,” Young said. “Let’s stay together after with the commitment to make Black lives matter. Let’s work together in a unified manner.”