Queens community organizer inspiring new generation to attend protests

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QUEENS — One Queens community organizer has helped galvanize a new generation to attend rallies and protests against police brutality.

James Johnson, 29, wants to see change in his community. Johnson helped create the Let Us Breathe Movement and is the founder of Opportunities for Southeast Queens Millennials.

“There are a lot of first timers at these rallies and it was peaceful,” Johnson said about a protest Wednesday on Hollis Ave. he helped organize.

Johnson said there’s an energy and excitement he’s never seen before and he uses his social media platforms to help get his peers to attend rallies.

These protests are very personal to Johnson. It’s all about his relationship with the community and building on that trust.

David Sumpter, 27, came out to a protest for the first time and he said he’s glad he did.

“There’s a lot of power in social media. It’s a blessing and curse. We use it for good. It’s a gift,” said Sumpter.

Johnson said his next moves will be pushing for new legislation, voting drives and reaching out to local precincts to have critical conversations about community policing.

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