BLOUNTSTOWN, Fla. (WMBB) — Residents in both Blountstown and Marianna spent Saturday afternoon peacefully protesting, following the death of George Floyd and other protests that have gone on throughout the country.
In Blountstown, the demonstration took place at Magnolia Square Gazebo Park.
Dozens of residents came out to show their support for the black community, joining together to denounce the police officers involved in Floyd’s death as well as racism throughout the country, which protestors say is still very much alive.
Blountstown resident and protest organizer, James Ivory, said it’s an issue that must be brought to center-stage in order to create a better future for younger generations, like his son.
“I don’t want him to have to grow up wondering about whether he’s going to get killed if he’s stopped by the police or anything like that,” said Ivory. “I don’t want him to have to go through that so I want to explain that and I want him to see it. I want him to see diversity, I want him to see black people, I want him to see white people getting along.”
Another Blountstown resident and protest organizer, Destiny Williams, said the local community and law enforcement has been extremely supportive of them and the best way forward is through spreading positivity and embracing each others’ differences.
“We all can do a little bit just to understand one another because even though we don’t live in each others’ shoes, we can understand,” said Williams. “We should see the differences in each other and embrace that and spread love because that’s what Jesus would want and that’s what we should do.”
Protestors in Blountstown were able to peacefully assemble for a little over an hour before the weekend’s forecasted rain arrived.
In Jackson County, another peaceful protest took place on Saturday at Madison Street Park in Marianna.
A large crowd assembled there for the “Justice Now Peace March,” which started at the park and wrapped around six blocks.
Demonstrators were there from all walks of life; they denounced the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd as well as what many are calling systematic racism in America.
“We may look different, we may have different ages but we’re all Americans and we have more things in common than we have that are different,” said Travis Ephriam, the newly-chosen Mayor of Marianna, who walked alongside protestors. “It’s very powerful that so many have united behind this cause again not to cause a problem or a ruckus or even be a part of destroying property but just to bring attention to this issue in our country.”
One demonstrator, Devin Baker, came back to his hometown of Marianna from Tallahassee to take part in the event. He said it’s encouraging to see so many people coming out to support the cause and that it’s equally important that people vote for the change they want to see happen in their communities and country.
“Make sure that you go register to vote,” said Baker. “Make sure that you are going out to the polls, do not stay at home. Do not talk about change, be the change that you want to see.”
The marchers were able to beat the incoming rain by seconds and joined together once again at the end to hear from speakers and rally support for the movement.