Eduardo Acevedo, News Editor
Thousands are expected to march in Richmond on Saturday for a 16th day of protests in the city, sparked by the killing of a black man in police custody.
Saturday’s demonstration, “Virginia’s 5,000 Man March,” will start at the Robert E. Lee memorial on Monument Avenue at 1 p.m. The march’s Facebook page states that protesters are marching “for your children… no matter the color.”
Protesters gathered near VCU’s Monroe Park campus Friday for demonstrations hosted by Black Pride RVA, Race Capitol, People’s Justice Alliance, Virginia Student Power Network, VCU Student Power and Godfrey’s.
Many waved rainbow flags as they marched through the Fan District in honor of Pride Month in June.
On Thursday night, demonstrators marched down Broad Street and through Windsor Farms, a predominantly white and wealthy neighborhood. Demonstrations began in Richmond on May 29 in honor of George Floyd, who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.
A Richmond native who wished to be identified as XYZ said the march through Windsor Farms showed residents that these protests are not going away. He said Windsor Farms residents should get out of their homes and join protesters in the streets.
“If you don’t, you’re against us,” he said. “If you’re against us, then stay off the street.”
As the Black Lives Matter protesters made their way through the neighborhoods of Windsor Farms, residents came out of their homes to watch the crowd chant and follow drivers who honked their horns.
The protesters have marched to the Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson statue with members of the crowd chanting, “fuck that statue,” and, “tear it down.” pic.twitter.com/ujEq5PHPvj
— Eduardo Acevedo (@edace2936) June 12, 2020
Throughout the last week of protests in Richmond, three monuments have been removed: the Williams Carter Wickham statue in Monroe Park, a statue of Christopher Columbus in Byrd Park and Jefferson Davis’ statue on Monument Avenue. On Thursday, city officials removed a statue honoring fallen police officers from Byrd Park due to vandalism.
Ashley Williams, owner of BareSOUL Yoga, a health and wellness center in Richmond, said “taking down the monuments is just the first step.”
“There’s a lot of inner work that these symbols mean, and I think we have a lot of work to do after they’re even taken down,” Williams said. “I think that we all need to come together and work through systematic change.”
Williams led a “love and kindness meditation” with protesters on Friday.
Jayvion Scott, a sixth grader who spent his birthday protesting with his older sister, had a message for his fellow middle schoolers.
“Black lives matter and come out,” Scott said. “It don’t matter what age you are, come out and protest.”