‘Late Show’ Musical Director Jon Batiste Uses Music To Unite Crowds On 16th Day Of Protests In NYC

Protesters took to the streets for the 16th day in a row on Friday, demanding police reform and racial justice.

Protesters have been demanding police reform every day in every borough for more than two weeks. Their collective voice caused the state Legislature to fast track nearly a dozen reform bills, answering some of their demands.

But their fight for systemic change persists.

A large protest was held at the Barclays Center, where crowds kept the peace with music and positivity.

Jon Batiste, the musical director of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” teamed up with the Sing For Hope organization to perform.

The event, called “We Are A Revival,” was a celebration of black lives through live music.

Watch: Jon Batiste Performs For Protesters At Barclays Center 


Batiste says it’s in response to the deep-rooted systemic injustice across the U.S.

He hopes his music can help inspire and heal.

“We have to touch every aspect of this community during this time, and music is one of those things that when it’s in the political conversation, it can change people’s heart, it change people’s mind and give them endurance to continue forward,” Batiste said.

“It’s weird if it’s not important to you, you know? Like, I feel it’s a responsibility, especially being white, that I should be here,” one protester told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

“A sense of solidarity. I want to show up for our black neighbors here in Brooklyn, which is the majority, the black population, so I just want to show solidarity,” another protester said.

This was the second protest Batiste has led in recent weeks.

In Manhattan, a sea of people made their way up Fifth Avenue on Friday.

It was the first day of protesting for 3-year-old Desmena.

“I thought it was appropriate that she be out here and that she protest and that her voice be heard because she has questions,” mom Linda Dugue said.

Passersby honked and cheered in support at every block.

“It feels good to stand up for what’s right,” protester Tatiana Hernandez said.

Hours earlier, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the “Say Their Name” reform agenda package, which includes the repeal of 50-A, a decades-old law that kept police officers’ personnel records confidential.

“We are at a moment of reckoning,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.

Also law, the Eric Garner anti-chokehold act, making the use of a chokehold by police a felony.

“It was a long time coming, but it came. And thank you. Thank you all very much,” Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, said.

The governor issued an executive order, as well, requiring local governments and police develop a plan to modernize police strategy with community input, or risk their state funding.

“We’re not going to be, as a state government, subsidizing improper police tactics. We’re not doing it,” Cuomo said. 

Protesters say they are proud of the progress, but are still marching for more reform.

“Every single step is encouraging, but it’s not over. That’s just the beginning,” protester Caroline Gombe said.

The police union denounced the reform legislation Friday, saying in a statement officers will “be permanently frozen, stripped of all resources and unable to do the job.”