WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The names George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others rang through the streets in the heart of Williamsburg Saturday afternoon.
The diverse group of demonstrators carried their message of peace and justice for more than a mile. Signs read, “Hate is not patriotic” and “Heal America.”
“It’s no longer okay to sit on the sidelines,” said demonstrator Shana Gist. “I feel as adults it is our duty to stand by our youth. They are concerned. They are rightfully afraid.”
Gist was standing shoulder to shoulder with her 17-year-old daughter Linda. The mother of three said the ongoing issue of police brutality is troubling.
“There’s not a moment that goes by when they walk out of the door that I’m not afraid for their safety,” said Gist.
Linda said these protests will help bring about change. She wants more people from her generation to speak out against systemic racism.
“I don’t want anyone to feel ashamed of their skin color or be afraid to be alive because of their skin color,” said Linda Gist.
For many of the demonstrators, the march was personal. Breonna Taylor was killed by officers in Louisville while they were executing a search warrant on March 13, 2020. Friday would have been her 27th birthday.
“Breonna Taylor is the same exact age as my oldest daughter,” said Shana Gist. “That could’ve been her.”
Hundreds marched with purpose. Before they started, they stopped to read the names of those killed at the hands of police and those enslaved in the city.
Johnette Gordon-Weaver remains hopeful they’re moving in the direction of justice.
“Although we haven’t gone to where we’re supposed to be, as a unit, black and white Williamsburg is working together, together,” said Gordon-Weaver.
The demonstration lasted about an hour.