GRANTS PASS, Ore. – A group of Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets, walking from Riverside Park to the Josephine County Courthouse in Grants Pass on Saturday. Around a hundred people participated in the protest, which started with a prayer and a speech about love.
“It's a beautiful thing, I told her (the organizer) that this is a catalyst to change, what they’re doing is a catalyst to change, especially because they are doing it with love. Love conquers all," Martin Kenneth Robinson Sr., who gave the group a speech before it marched said.
The group also discussed the meaning of Juneteenth, which they celebrated on Friday with a gathering in Ashland.
“This is a moment in this country where we really could make a change. I think with the pandemic and all of us being more vulnerable, I think we will have more compassion for people who are less fortunate than ourselves and have been a victim of a system that is broken. I see hope in this moment, and that’s why I am here,” Elib Crist-Dwyer, who took part in the protest said.
When the protesters arrived at the courthouse, they were met with counter-protesters that were across the street, who held their own signs that said, “all lives matter”.
Overall the protest was peaceful, except for one incident where police officers had to intervene between two protesters from opposite sides.
The officers were able to separate the two people involved in the incident, no one was injured.
The Black Lives Matter protesters also held a moment of silence for George Floyd, who police say was killed by a Minneapolis police officer after the officer knelt on his neck while Floyd was handcuffed.
Floyd's death sparked protests nationwide, including several in Southern Oregon.
“It’s really incredible how people are coming out, it’s different than anything I’ve been apart of. Even in places where racism has been prevalent, we are seeing people come out and support,” Crist-Dwyer said.