Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators flooded downtown Oak Bluffs Sunday in a march against systemic racism and police brutality. The march began at Waban Park, continued along the waterfront to Nancy’s and headed up Circuit avenue, filling the streets with signs, chants and calls for change.

All along the way people joined in, some leaping up from their towels on the beach. Business owners walked out of their stores and people reclining on porches rose to their feet. The crowds cheered, chanted and held up fists in solidarity.

March began at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. — Ray Ewing

The march was organized by the Young Activists for Social Justice for Martha’s Vineyard. The group formed two weeks ago, leaders said, to maintain momentum and keep pressure on enacting political change.

“We will march today for education, ending police brutality, for mass incarceration, for public health, for ending drug and gang violence, for creating a new and better world for all,” Diamond Araujo, a founder of the group, told the crowd gathered at Waban Park.

“Our group of young individuals is looking for change, not just on this Island but in America. We hope that you continue to fight against the racism and anti-blackness that underlies and is a part of the many systems and institutions in this nation,” said Danielle Hopkins, another founder of the group.

The procession became so long that different chants echoed from different sections: “No Justice, No Peace”; “Silence Is Violence.” Marchers also called out the names of the black men and women who have been killed by police across the country.

As marchers walked by the waterfront, beachgoers joined the procession. — Ray Ewing

A man named Eugene wore an American flag T-shirt and held a sign that read: “I can’t breathe! But I will vote!”

“I’m tired,” he said. “I’m tired of the same thing over and over again. I’m tired of a failing system. I’m tired of hundred of thousands of people unrepresented.”

He continued: “I’m just plain tired.”

Maj. Sterling Bishop of the Duke’s County sheriff’s department marched with his family.

“Having the youth in our community step up to do this, it puts in perspective where we are headed,” he said.

Major Bishop’s son, Kai Rose, is also a member of the Young Activist or Social Justice for Martha’s Vineyard.

“I feel like it’s going to keep people’s eyes open,” Kai said, of the march. “I don’t think we will stop until there are standards for equality that are met.”

March continued up Circuit avenue. — Ray Ewing

March leaders said they had coordinated with the Oak Bluffs police department to ensure it was carried out peacefully and safely. Police officers blocked off traffic and a police motorcycle led the procession.

“We support their right to march,” said Oak Bluffs police Chief Erik Blake, who was present at the protest. “We want to be an ally.”

The march began with a drum ceremony, called a traveling song, played by members of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

“It’s usually a song we sing at the end of a journey,” a drummer named James said, who identified himself as a member of the tribe. “But this is just the beginning.”

More pictures.