Protesters march from Hattiesburg to Petal to ‘bridge the gap'

Protesters march from Hattiesburg to Petal to ‘bridge the gap'

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Community members marched from Chain Park in Hattiesburg across the Leaf River into Petal for a protest they call Bridging the Gap on Friday afternoon.

“Say his name. George Floyd! Say his name. George Floyd! What do we want? Justice,” shouted a crowd of protesters during the march.

After crossing the Leaf River, the protest finished in Hinton Park. Protesters traveled 2.4 miles in the Mississippi heat.

“Times they are a changing y’all, and you can either evolve or dissolve,” announced one protester to the crowd.

The goal of the march was to unite the community against racial injustice.

“When we say ‘Bridging the Gap,' look around this room, we see different colors of people, ethnicity and ages, genders, sexual orientations,” said organizer Reginald Virgil.

Community leaders also spoke about Juneteenth.

“In 1863, it wasn’t that black people didn’t know, it was that it wasn’t being enforced, that’s what Juneteenth was about,” said a protester.

Speakers encouraged the crowd to fight for a better future.

“A generation rose up… Hear me, a generation rose up and said ‘no more,‘” said a protester.

A libation was held to honor those who were lost.

Community members will continue to protest Saturday with a sit-in at the Confederate monument in downtown Hattiesburg.

Copyright 2020 WDAM. All rights reserved.