KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Many would say 2020 has been a year of change and growth in our country; with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement coming on May 25 with the death of George Floyd as Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest — sparking protests across the country as protesters demanded those involved to be held accountable.
Thousands of people used their voices to fight social injustice and systemic racism, with some protests continuing today, several weeks later.
Demonstrations came to our own back yard, with gatherings and marches popping up across Tennessee; at one point, curfews were put in place in Middle and West Tennessee cities to help keep the peace between the demonstrators and police.
In Knoxville, the marches this past summer had been peaceful.
“We’re here because of George Floyd, we’re here because of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery all the Black lives that have gotten killed innocently,” protester Kariah Cook said. “We’re here to protest and show awareness and just bring the community together.”
“Demonstrations like these are important so that they see that we are upset and there’s something that needs to happen and change cannot happen without action,” protester Chylynne Price said.
“And it doesn’t stop here. I want to challenge everyone to keep going, keep protesting, keep signing petitions, keep donating, keep making your voice heard,” protester Denecia Lofton said.
Prior to Floyd’s killing, the highest estimate for any American protest was the Women’s March in 2017, which saw more than 4.6 million people in attendance. As of this summer, an estimated 21 million adults had attended Black Lives Matter protests according to Civis Analytics.