By Jeremy Baratta
“Black Lives Matter” has become a popular protest slogan, from Union Square to the Mall of America. Today, after the unprovoked shooting of two NYPD officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn over the weekend, one woman started a protest movement of her own closer to home.
Amanda Bolvito, a married 24 year-old waitress with 2 small children, went to office depot, bought about $19 worth of supplies, and emblazoned a sign with the message “Blue Lives Matter.”
She took her sign to the corner of Route 27 and Main Street, outside of the Metuchen Borough Hall and Police Station. First spotted at around noon and interviewed at 1:30 pm, she reported being there since around 11 this morning. She plans to be out there until “[she] can’t take the cold.”
Behind her, on the traffic control box, were the signs of community support she had been receiving since setting up – including a cup of coffee, a hot chocolate and a bag from a local shop. While interviewing her, one woman on a cane brought some supportive words and a fresh hot chocolate from the nearby Friendly’s, while a man in a car stopped to do the exact same thing only minutes later. Earlier in the day, someone brought her hand warmers she said.
Bolvito, of Metuchen, comes from a law-enforcement family, including a sister at State Corrections as well as a brother-in-law, 3 uncles and a cousin – all working in law-enforcement. When asked why she was out there, she said she wanted “justice for them.” She went to say that “these men and women are out here protecting myself, my husband, my kids, and lately they have not been getting the respect they deserve. They are our heroes.”
Unlike the various ‘die-ins,” protest marches and other gatherings across the country that have been organized by different groups and advertised on social media, Bolvito said she just “woke up this morning, made the sign and came out.” She advertised her intentions on Facebook about 5 minutes before she left.
Speaking of the families of those in law-enforcement, she said “they leave the house and you don’t know if they’re gonna come home.” She added “I just want people to realize what these people do for us every single day.”
Having no specific goal in mind, she said her sign was meant more to be a conversation starter. “People pass by, they point, and then they talk to the person in the car that they’re with.” Towards the end of the interview, someone left turning onto Route 27 North rolled down their window, honked and shouted “thank you.” “I’ve gotten a lot of those” she mused.
Bolvito plans to be at the same location tomorrow at about the same time. She said no other reporters had interviewed her so far.
Editor’s Note: The author is a reporter for ‘The Stall‘, the official student newspaper of Brookdale Community College.