Updated: Jan 25, 2021
On June 3, protesters gathered at Northwood High School to have their voices heard.
by Kate Valentine
On Wednesday, June 3, people gathered at Northwood High School to protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, motivated by the recent murder of George Floyd.
At 6:30, approximately 400 students, parents, teachers, and other members of the community gathered to hold signs, listen to speakers, and participate in chants in order to demand justice for those killed due to police brutality.
Alex Miller, one of the event’s key organizers and a 2015 graduate of Northwood, says she was “very happy” with the turnout.
“This started out as my mom and I coming to hang up that sign and take a knee all by ourselves,” she said. “I only invited like 30 people and somehow 500 ended up coming.”
Protesters listened as students and members of the community gave testimonials. Photo: Kate Valentine.
The protest lasted until around 9:00 PM. Throughout the event, police remained in the area, but refrained from interfering with protestors.
“They were literally like, you know, just being quiet, like they should. . . we can only be so lucky. ‘Cause it’s not like that in other cities,” said Trey Branch, referencing violent responses from police forces in other parts of the country.
Branch, a recent graduate of Salisbury University, was instrumental in organizing the protest.
Reflecting on the energy of the crowd, he said, “I feel comfortable being in this community because I can speak my mind as a Black man, and I can feel comfortable talking about my struggles with white people, you know? So that’s a beautiful thing.”
Miller and Branch both emphasized their intention to keep the momentum going with further protests, as well as other forms of action.
“The next step is meeting with lawmakers, legislators, lawyers, and seeing if we can get some sustainable legislation passed in the area,” said Miller.
Miller is right to think that these protests will effect change; the murder charges against Derek Chauvin, the police officer responsible for Floyd’s death, were recently upped to second degree, a change largely credited to the protests taking place across the United States.
Protesters chant along University Boulevard. Photo: Kate Valentine.
But not all change comes from legislation. Branch highlighted the importance of people making changes in their personal lives.
“We talk about this all the time, we talk about race equity. . . but like, what are you really doing? Like if you see somebody like me on the street and they're getting racially profiled, are you actually stepping up and doing something?” he said. “It's all about stepping up for people in your community.”
For young people like Branch and Miller, the time to act is now. “We definitely want to change our community for the better and really make an impact,” says Branch. “It really starts with our generation.”
Miller agreed. “This is going to take a lot of fighting. This isn't just a one and done thing. This is for life.”