Note: This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. June 11.
More than 1,000 people marched and protested in Oak Ridge last week, asking for equal treatment for black people.
They said the nation is obligated to fight systemic racism, racial inequality, and police brutality. They want to live without fear. They advocated for police reforms, accountability, and the use of de-escalation tactics.
Protesters hope to end 400 years of oppression that started with slavery in America in 1619 and continued after the Civil War with attacks on black people, lynchings, the Ku Klux Klan, segregation, discrimination, and racism. That oppression has been felt in Oak Ridge, and some young adults and teenagers said they have experienced or witnessed racism.
Protesters said they were angry, upset, and frustrated. They called the death of George Floyd while he was detained by police in Minneapolis last month a murder. They recalled the deaths of other black men and boys, some killed by police and others by citizens. They acknowledged that there are many good police officers, but they condemned police officers who they said hide behind their badges to do wicked deeds.
“Enough is enough,” protesters said. “We are done dying.”
Protesters met at Oak Ridge High School Tuesday afternoon, June 2, and marched to the Oak Ridge Civic Center. They carried signs and wore T-shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe.” They chanted “No justice, no peace” and, led by organizer Trevor King, “Make racism illegal.” Silence is compliance, the protesters said, and silence in the face of evil is itself evil.[Read more…]