OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — A peaceful protest in Oak Ridge happened Tuesday evening in response to the national protests and marches occurring after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota while in police custody.
Oak Ridge’s police chief, along with several officers, marched alongside community members, who were calling for change.
“Today what this event is about is bringing our community together. Everybody in agreeance, everybody standing together for something that we all agree with,” organizer Trevor King said.
The peaceful protest kicked off at Oak Ridge High School, organized by the 2013 graduate.
His message is short, but strong.
“Make racism illegal,” King said.
On Tuesday evening, a growing crowd gathered in the parking lot. They then marched across the street, chanting “no justice, no peace.”
Oak Ridge’s police chief and other officers walked with them.
“It’s not us against the community. We want the same thing they do. We want our people to be safe, we want them to be secure. We want them to feel like they can trust us and we can trust them back,” ORPD Chief Robin Smith said.
The group then came together at the city’s Peace Bell.
The organizer was adamant about the event remaining peaceful.
“At this time right now in America, after the looting, the rioting for seven days straight, it’s time to extinguish those fires. We got the attention that we need, we have their attention, now stop acting a fool. Stop doing all the extra stuff and hold people accountable,” King said.
Those showing up telling us why they did.
“It’s wrong, we need change,” said Jacob Cagle.
“If there’s no justice for you, there’s no peace for me,” said Danielle Humphrey. “I want everybody to fight for a purpose, even if it doesn’t seem like it has anything to do with you, and I want everyone to be loved.”
Speakers wrapping up the peaceful protest by calling up the city’s police officers and praying.
“We love you, we celebrate you, and we trust you and we thank you,” one speaker said to the ORPD officers.
Then, they posed a question to the crowd.
“Are you serious when you say that you really want to see change, and my question is are you willing to make a sacrifice,” he asked.
- Questions arise after Anthony Thompson Jr. seen roaming campus prior to Austin-East shooting; school launches internal investigation
- Hundreds call for justice related to Austin-East shooting, march in community protest in downtown
- Wildfire reported in Cocke County
- TSSAA changes venue of Spring Fling
- Washington DC one step closer to becoming a state as House passes bill