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Teen brings Black Lives Matter movement to Manlius

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Leila Abdul-Malak has felt a combination of discontent and optimism recently.

Her feelings were represented in the poetry, music and speeches of “Funk the Police,” a musical speak-out and rally against police brutality and racism. Abdul-Malak traveled from Syracuse to Boston on Juneteenth to attend the event.

“It was really moving,” said Abdul-Malak, who is Black. “It was just a nice celebration of Black art and Black experiences.”

Abdul-Malak, a rising sophomore at Northeastern University from Manlius, New York, rediscovered her passion for activism after the alleged murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police. She’s since participated in local marches against police brutality and racism that have inspired her to bring the movement for racial equality to her hometown.

She assembled a team of activists June 7 for her first demonstration in Manlius. At first, she wasn’t sure the event would be as successful as similar ones held in large cities.

Manlius has a population of approximately 31,000 people, of which 90% are white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The movement resonated with more people than she expected, and the first …read more

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