Students taking grad photos at Newport News City Center join in on protest

Grads join in on protest at Newport News City Center
Posted at 9:55 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-03 23:35:21-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - While a protest was going on, a group of people wearing caps and gowns decided to join in.

Five Bethel High School graduates were taking their senior pictures by the water fountain at City Center in Newport News when they noticed the “no justice, no peace” chants and decided to make sure their voices were heard, too.

They say as young African Americans, they are concerned about their future - even when they're doing everything they're asked to do, like going to college.

“We noticed the Black Lives Matter protest and we wanted to take pictures in front of it because it’s something important to us. We feel like the cause is worth protesting,” said Sania Heckstall, who’s going to William & Mary in the fall.

“I feel that the protest is needed because of what is going on in our society with police officers attacking us,” added Isaiah Tyler, who will be attending Virginia Commonwealth University.

Related: Foot washing ceremony at Virginia Beach church promotes healing, racial reconciliation

“A lot of us - our parents, grandpas, everybody - went through so much in the past, and we just want to make a difference in this world,” said Emmanuel Williams, who’s going to Old Dominion University.

“We have to use our voices. We have to branch out. We need to come together as a unit,” said Tommy Jackson, who will be going to Virginia Military Institute.

“How is it going to change? What are they going to do make us feel safe? It feels like every time a police officer is behind us, around us, we're gonna die, and that’s not how it’s supposed to feel. Hopefully they can make some changes,” said Trey Jackson, who will also be attending ODU.

All of the students will be going to college in the fall. Congrats again to these grads, and we can’t wait to see how your pictures turned out - send them to us!

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