‘No justice, no peace:’ Hundreds gather for Gulfport peaceful protest
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - South Mississippians gathered under Barksdale Pavilion at Jones Park in Gulfport, refusing to let the incoming weather silence their calls for justice.
Hundreds traveled to Jones Park in hopes of bringing about change, and organizer Dee Ball expressed those sentiments.
“Today I would like everybody to know that excellence is in all people ... This is unity, this is power, and through unity, we will have more power. It is time to make a change, and I would hope that everybody here is here for the same thing, to become better people and to get to know the man next to them, know that color doesn’t matter," Ball said.
At Saturday evening’s peaceful protest at Jones Park in Gulfport, people were encouraged to bring their signs, their courage, and their voices to call for unity in the wake of the killing of George Floyd a few weeks ago.
"Sorrow, grief and anger tighten my throat. I can’t breathe,” said one protester as she read a poem about the current state of Civil Rights in America.
People of all different races, all different walks of life, and families with members young and old came together with signs in support of Black Lives Matter and George Floyd, who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the young man’s neck. Floyd pleaded for him to stop, the officer did not back down, and Floyd was killed.
“I’m in here for justice for George Floyd and his family and also Black Lives Matter, and feel like you know everybody should get along,” said Calvin May Sr.
Stephanie Joseph and her daughter Tenasha stood side by side to support the cause and help usher a new generation of tolerance and understanding.
"These are my brothers and sisters out here in the world today,” Stephanie said.
"I just feel all the love and love out here for the black community, white people, Hispanics, everyone, it’s just the love,” Tenasha added.
The love, and the passion to protest, was shared by hundreds.
"The Coast is such a diverse place with so many types of people, and it’s ridiculous that black people all over are being discriminated against because of their skin color,” said Kala South.
A break in the weather meant gave the crowd a chance to go back to the original plan of marching down Highway 90 east to Courthouse Road, some chanting “No justice, No peace," and “Black lives matter.”
They made it about halfway before turning back and turning heads in a massive show of support.
Ball noted how he strived to make the event a peaceful one, expressing concerns brought about Saturday morning with the sighting of bricks in downtown Gulfport.
The Gulfport Police Department denounced rumors that the bricks were in Jones Park and that said bricks were to rile up protestors. Gulfport Police PIO Jason Ducre’ said the bricks were placed near the construction site of the Mississippi Aquarium with the potential to build a brick sidewalk for the aquarium.
Tune in to WLOX News Now at 10 for the latest news from the protests.
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