‘It showed the spirit of this city:’ Crowds brave the elements to stand in solidarity for George Floyd

Updated: May. 31, 2020 at 11:30 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As cities across the nation stage protests in light of the recent deaths of unarmed black men and women, Wilmington groups came together Saturday to hold their own peaceful demonstration.

Droves of people donned rain jackets to stand in the downpour to bring attention to the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The event was organized by the National Black Leadership Caucus and Black Lives Matter and held at the 1898 memorial downtown, a spot meant to commemorate a dark chapter in the city’s history. In the coup’d’etat of 1898, white supremacists overthrew Wilmington’s leadership and killed countless African Americans.

On Saturday, people of all ages and backgrounds brought signs to display, chanted and talked about creating meaningful change in their own communities.

“Today was a great day… it showed the spirit of this city. People came out in the rain and they want justice for George Floyd and an end to the institutionalized racist system and the killing of black men, women and children in this nation," said activist Sonya Patrick. “It touched my heart to see the people come out and the love and spirit of the community today. It shows there’s hope for this nation and this community.”

The groups plans to host a virtual town hall Monday at 3 p.m. for people who were unable to attend the demonstration. In that zoom call, leaders plan to speak about local issues like efforts to launch a citizen’s review board, changing the culture of the police department and regular psychiatric evaluations for officers.

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