CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Happening now, across our country, residents are protesting following the death of George Floyd who died after being arrested by police outside of a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota six days ago.
Here in Charleston, a peaceful protest was organized on the steps of the city building where dozens of West Virginians are voicing their concerns about law enforcement in America.
Dozens of protesters — marching around the Charleston Police Station. This protest comes roughly one week after the tragic death of Floyd in Minneapolis.
Several speakers shared their stories and voiced their concerns about racism in America.
Marlon Collins stood on the stairs of the city building speaking out to the crowd of protesters.
“I have a responsibility as a black man and a community leader,” he says. “When I see opportunities like this. I need to make sure we get the awareness out about the reality of racism and systematic oppression. There is a way to get rid of it and we have a responsibility as Americans to stamp it out so it does not exist,” he says.
The protest stayed peaceful.
“I think it has a lot to do with the culture of Charleston,” Collins says. “One of the reasons I did come out today was to make sure it didn’t go left.”
But several protesters say even though it’s more peaceful here in West Virginia, it doesn’t mean problems aren’t here.
“There are definitely beautiful people here,” Collins says. “But regardless of those beautiful people, we have to have some very hard conversations or this is going to keep happening. And it doesn’t mean Charleston can’t be the epicenter of something like George Floyd. So we have to be proactive in making sure everyone understands where we stand.”
“This is what America is supposed to look like,” he added. “This is when America is really great. Everybody is on the same page, about the same evil. And we recognize it and we’re doing something about it.”
The protesters are planning a “blackout day” on July 7th where they plan to not spend a dollar, to see how it’ll affect the economy.