photo_ft_news_blm peace march-19_20200610

Led by Tiana Minor (with megaphone), the demonstration passes the Warrenton courthouse as it turns down Alexandria Pike toward Eva Walker Park.

On Wednesday afternoon during one of the hottest days of the year so far, about 250 people walked from Fauquier High School to Eva Walker Park in Warrenton in what organizers called the Black Lives Matter Peace March.

Lasting a little more than an hour, the event was organized by local high school students to spread a simple message: black lives matter, too. The overwhelming majority of marchers were young people, though a few parents and teachers joined them.

At times, the march was joyful. At other times, tears flowed. At all times, it was peaceful. Warrenton police officers and deputies from the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office escorted the marchers, temporarily blocking streets to let the marchers pass through safely.

On several occasions along the route, the occupants of stopped cars got out and raised a fist in solidarity with the demonstrators. Other drivers honked their horns and waved in support as they passed. When the marchers arrived at the park, several speakers addressed the crowd briefly before observing a minute of silence for black victims of violence.

The march came in the wake of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers. The flyer for the event asked all participants to wear face masks, and the vast majority of participants complied.

Juddy Jolicoeur, a rising freshman at Fauquier High School, was the main organizer of the march. Other students helped plan the event: Lily von Hurbulis, a rising freshman at Kettle Run High School; Molly Kirk, a rising junior at Fauquier High School; Nathan Kim, a rising senior at KRHS, and Tiana Minor, the chair of the Fauquier County NAACP youth committee and a recent graduate of FHS.

“I don’t to see my brother or my sisters die in the hands of racist police officers,” Jolicoeur said afterward about what inspired her to organize the march. She had begun to address the crowd assembled at Eva Walker Park at the event’s terminus but was overcome with emotion and yielded to other speakers.

“We are all hurting and I’m genuinely angry. I don’t believe all cops are bad, but in certain states or areas, it’s corrupt,” she said.

“I don’t understand what’s intimidating about black people, people of color. We all aren’t the same. Not all of us are thugs or in gangs. Not all of us do drugs, steal [or] murder people. The point I’m trying to get across is, just treat people with equality,” she said, elaborating later, “All I want is change, and to be heard.”

Jolicoeur added she has been encouraged by the response of the local community in recent weeks. “It’s crazy how many people showed up [to the march],” she said. “I didn’t expect it to become a movement within Fauquier County, and I would 120% do it again.” Her family has been supportive of her, but she said her brother was skeptical that the turnout would be very high. “He said people wouldn’t show up because I’m a kid. Well, I taught him wrong,” she said in a text, adding a laughing-face emoji.

During the procession across town, Minor usually took the lead, sometimes leading participants in slogans – “black lives matter,” “no justice, no peace,” “students for peace, students for equality” – and other times guiding the procession to follow the route indicated by their police escorts. For periods of the march, the demonstrators were mostly silent, sometimes simply raising their fists and holding up signs in solidarity as they walked.

“This is not only about George Floyd. This is not only about Ahmaud Arbery. This is not only about only about Brianna Taylor,” Minor told the assembled crowd at the park. “This is not only for the injustice we see on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This is for the injustice we do not see, when they are not recording … that happens every day.” She said at another point, “This is the year that we grow: you, me and everyone,” adding that the march demonstrated that “we accept that a change needs to be made.”

Minor said afterward that she hopes the recent anti-racist energy will encourage more people to speak up about injustices they experience or see in their everyday lives, and that ultimately systemic changes – brought largely by people exercising their right to vote – would occur. “We need to be putting people that look like us [in leadership positions] so that they can be a positive influence on us,” she said.

Jasmin Morton, a KRHS graduate, told the crowd at the park, “Don’t let this be your only form of action … continue the conversation” with classmates, friends and family. “Education is your most powerful weapon … each and every one of you has a great amount of power,” she added, encouraging the young people in the crowd to go on to become teachers and doctors, to run for public office someday and to, above all, vote.

She cited what, in her view, have been successes resulting from recent protests. Minneapolis, Minnesota will “defund” its police department. New York City will now allocate more money to its department of social services. Statues honoring leaders of the Confederacy have been removed from public places around the country. “Continue to make noise and shake the table,” she concluded. “Black lives matter.”

Arleena Allen, who graduated from KRHS in 2017 and organized a black lives matter demonstration in Warrenton last month, also addressed the crowd. “Growing up in Fauquier County was hard, especially as a black woman,” she said. “I am not impressed by the mural in D.C. It’s not enough,” she added, a reference to a street in Washington recently emblazoned with the words “black lives matter.” She continued, “We can have millions of discussions with law enforcement, but it’s not enough until we see change.”

Warrenton Town Councilman Renard Carlos (at-large) briefly addressed the crowd and praised the peaceful demonstration. “You didn’t have to pick up any bricks, you didn’t have to break any windows, all you had to do is lift your voices and your elected officials know that black lives matter,” he said.

Steven Bucher, a teacher at Taylor Middle School, spoke about the protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s and encouraged the young people in attendance to continue that tradition of advocating for justice and equality. “We were outraged. We stood up and we spoke out.” he said of those protest movements. But, he said, “it’s not enough to get it right. You have to keep it right. And we fell short. … And when you don’t keep it right, you wake up one morning and there’s a knee on your neck.”

When the speakers were finished, Jolicoeur asked participants to observe a minute of silence “for all the black lives taken every day.” Most attendees took a knee and raised a fist in the air. The crowd then quietly dispersed, with some riding buses provided by the school division back to the high school.

Ngozi Alia, a student at Liberty High School, said she participated in the march “to fight for my rights. I shouldn’t have to worry about whether I can get a job or get pulled over because of the color of my skin.” She said that she was encouraged that young people “of all different colors” had joined the demonstration to show their support.

Olivia Stith, 16, attended the march with her mother and a friend. “This has been happening for too long,” she said of violence perpetrated on black people. “I don’t want my children to experience the same thing.”

Lillian Kincaid, 15, attended the march with three of her friends; they all attend FHS. She took part, she said, “Because black lives matter. Because one day when I have kids, no matter what race they are, they shouldn’t have to deal with this.”

Elise Henry, 15, chimed in. “We’ve been in the same rhythm for hundreds of years. That needs to change.”

Next to her, Cat Chau, 16, said she participated “because I’m the only one in my family who supports this.”

Olivia Gulick, 17, a rising senior at FHS, said that her generation is better able to be aware of injustice because so many instances of police violence are now captured with a smartphone camera. “I had never been to a protest before. I went to the first one in Warrenton … I was so glad I was there.”

Warrenton Police Chief Mike Kochis was present at Eva Walker Park. “It was a great event, well organized,” he said afterward. “Knowing that we have young people who can put this kind of thing together – it’s inspiring.”

Reach Coy Ferrell at cferrell@fauquier.com.

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(15) comments

JBH

JoeK, you are quite well aware of what I am saying. You pay lip service to peaceful protest, but are trying to put the blame on the “left” and “Antifa” which have been proven to be uninvolved in the violence. What you refuse to acknowledge is that tRump* is a profound racist and that is why you support him.

The fact that you are slavishly devoted to tRump* in spite of his overt fascist and authoritarian tendencies, pathological lying (18,000 and counting) and inability to put our country ahead of his personal interests and finances is patent.

Stop with the inane comments about Pearl Harbor and puppies and try, for once, to focus on what is actually happening in this country. It is not what your propaganda channels are assuring you terrified, old, white dinosaurs want to believe.

There IS a sea change regarding the pervasive racism that has dominated our country for hundreds of years and it will not be walked back. This movement has the support of the vast majority of not only our country, but the entire world. YOU are the one who needs a clue.

JoeK

jBh* BTW, And IT is Antifa and the Left thats causing all the Mayhem. GET A CLUE!!!

JoeK

Its unbelievable that I was censored by this website when I did.nothing but speak the truth. Being called a WHITE dinosaur is racist. The world is upside down, everything wrong is right and everything right is wrong. I guess I'll continue to be wrong.

But one thing will always be true, this is America, you get what you put into it, it doesnt matter your race, color or creed.

Rioting, looting, setting fires, killing cops and destroying property will not get you there. George Floyd was murdered. Its appalling what happened to him but what I witnessed afterwards is just as appalling. 2 wrongs dont make a right but I guess in jBh*'s case the ends justify the means.

JoeK

https://www.foxnews.com/us/federal-law-enforcement-officer-killed-in-oakland-protest-identified

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/06/06/suspect-in-custody-after-officer-involved-shooting-in-santa-cruz-county/

https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/retired-police-captain-shot-to-death-at-st-louis-pawn-shop-in-slaying-caught-on/article_d482138c-0224-5393-bd87-9898bebb3fd1.html

https://nypost.com/2020/06/12/three-indicted-for-allegedly-throwing-molotov-cocktails-at-nypd-vehicles/

https://www.phillyvoice.com/driver-charged-running-over-philadelphia-police-officer-protests-looting-old-city-angela-hall/

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/four-arrested-after-two-cops-shot-dead-in-mississippi/

https://fox6now.com/2020/06/10/vegas-police-officer-shot-in-head-may-need-ventilator-for-rest-of-his-life-family-says/

I hope you aren't giddy about all of this protesting ,As you can see there are multiple SOURCES, as in plural.

some probably not wanted advice but you will get some anyway,

GET A CLUE!!

AmericanPatriot

Its too bad there aren't videos and stills of the thousands of blacks murdered in Chicago.

It may be a little sobering.

Concerned citizen

Too bad WUSA9 took down their video of 2 officers trying to spread out a group of black men on a DC basketball court. It was there until this attrocity involving George Floyd emerged.

The 2 officers, one white and one black, approached the group and were telling them to maintain social distancing. Suddenly one of the group punched the white officer hard in the face, and took off running. Officers chased him, caught up with him, and had a struggle to subdue him. The video stopped when all the officers fighting him were black. The white officer that had been punched had to be treated in an emergency room.

The video would have shown these students what is really happening in the country. Instead they have social media and the news only providing partial news and facts to get them riled up. The real truth obviously doesn't fit someone's agenda.

JoeK

Good for them. Peaceful is the way it should be. I despise what happened to George Floyd but what I despise is what has happened since. Looting, Rioting , Cops assassinated and injured. I despise this, I despise what's going on in Seattle. BLM and Antifa want a start a war in this country. This is America where anyone can succeed. Race, color creed, it doesn't matter, It all depends what you put into it.

Sure there are issues and injustice, but sometimes life isnt fair. What matters is how you pick yourself up from it. Breaking into buildings, looting, setting fires and causing destruction is not the way to go.

JBH

JoeK, you praise the pacifistic nature of this protest with one sentence and then immediately launch into a diatribe of absurdly untrue claims.

“Cops assassinated”, seriously? “BLM and Antifa want a [sic] start a war in this country”?

I’ve seen absolutely NO evidence of anything like this occurring. I have, however, seen footage of a peaceful protest in DC being broken up with rubber bullets and tear gas so tRump* could have a photo op in front of a church with a borrowed bible. I’ve also seen cops knock down an elderly peaceful protestor and leave him on the ground bleeding with a concussion. Then there is the gut wrenching video of Mr. Floyd begging for his life…

No sane, rational adult encourages rioting and looting. But we do have some serious systemic problems in our society that have been ignored for entirely too long. They will not go away if left alone, just like the Corona Virus, it will take honesty, positive change and work from ALL of us.

JoeK

You obviously dont watch the news or maybe you watch selectively. Cop inSanta Cruz CA assassinated, Federal officer shot dead in Oakland CA . Cop in Vegas shot in the head and will never breath on his own again. Retired Cop shot dead in St Louis for guarding a store. A Harvard trained Lawyer attempting to throw a Molotov Cocktail at a police van with 4 cops riding in it in New York, a cop being runover in Philadelphia and there are many other incidents and that was just last week.. What do you call what's going on in Seattle? A block party? You need to get your head out of your CNN and MSNBC, call a crane if you have to.

JBH

Cite your sources, Joe.

JoeK

Google any of the incidents. Numerous sources.

JBH

Here are my sources...

https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/25/us/officers-died-past-week-nationwide/index.html

Not a single one related to ANY protests.

JoeK

https://www.foxnews.com/us/federal-law-enforcement-officer-killed-in-oakland-protest-identified https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/06/06/suspect-in-custody-after-officer-involved-shooting-in-santa-cruz-county/ https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/retired-police-captain-shot-to-death-at-st-louis-pawn-shop-in-slaying-caught-on/article_d482138c-0224-5393-bd87-9898bebb3fd1.html https://nypost.com/2020/06/12/three-indicted-for-allegedly-throwing-molotov-cocktails-at-nypd-vehicles/ https://www.phillyvoice.com/driver-charged-running-over-philadelphia-police-officer-protests-looting-old-city-angela-hall/ https://www.cbsnews.com/video/four-arrested-after-two-cops-shot-dead-in-mississippi/ https://fox6now.com/2020/06/10/vegas-police-officer-shot-in-head-may-need-ventilator-for-rest-of-his-life-family-says/ I hope you aren't giddy about all of this protesting ,As you can see there are multiple SOURCES, as in plural. some probably not wanted advice but you will get some anyway, GET A CLUE!!

JBH

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/protests-antifa-absent/2020/06/13/7f14b8fa-ab80-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/13/fox-news-removes-manipulated-images-coverage-seattle-protests/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/lafayette-square-clash-still-reverberating-becomes-an-iconic-episode-in-donald-trumps-presidency/2020/06/13/9ddcc348-acb8-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most

JoeK

JBH, I dont know what you are trying to say but all I'm trying to say is I believe in peaceful protest. You asked for sources of examples of violence and all of sudden you're on a Trump diatribe. I get it, you don't like Trump, everything is his fault including the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 79 years ago. It's ok, everything will be fine. Find your cuddle.puppy and go into the corner.of your basement, close you eyes and whisper "Make Orange Man go away" 1000 times. When you begin to get a clue let's continue the conversation.

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