Protest and protect: Wilmington woman steps up and speaks out during protests

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 7:55 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When things turned tense between authorities and protestors downtown over the past couple of nights - one young woman was serving as a mediator between the two sides.

Lily Nicole said she feels that it’s right to promote change in America. You may have heard or seen Nicole on the streets of downtown Wilmington the past few nights.

Nicole is biracial. Her mother is white, her father is black. And, her stepfather is in law enforcement.

It’s that unique set of experiences that gives her a remarkable ability to see the current situation facing all corners of America with an open mind.

Nicole said she had no plans to get involved in Sunday’s protest, but after learning a lot of teens and younger people would be there, she felt the need to protect them.

“I want to watch," said Nicole. "I want to be able to be aware. I am part of the protests. I do stand with Black Lives Matter. I truly believe there is an issue in our system and I truly believe it can be fixed. But I did and will continue to go down to these protests to supervise and watch to make sure my community is okay but also to make sure that they’re being heard.”

She believes minorities don’t feel like they fit into modern America, but there is a right way about getting change.

Nicole works at Thalian Hall and doesn’t want Wilmington torn apart like we’ve seen in other cities.

Hence the reason—although she had no plans to become a liaison for protestors and law enforcement—she feels like it’s her duty to protest and protect.

So what’s the end game? Nicole says she can’t speak for everyone, but says it’s systemic change.

Nicole says there needs to be more police training.

She is currently working with WPD about going through the community cultural training to see what they’re being taught before demanding more training.

She also wants to see police have a bigger presence in the community.

Nicole says she’s tired of only seeing patrol cars when something bad is happening. She wants police to get to know community members.

Nicole says a big part of change will come in November but, before people vote, she says there needs to be more voting awareness.

“I think those are two, really good, tangible and reasonable requests that can happen within the next few weeks," said Nicole. “I think that’s something that can begin. I am talking with organizations trying to get voter awareness because that is a huge thing. We have to fix the system. We can’t fix the system unless the right people are in play. So unfortunately, there’s a lot of people to go but for them to go, we’ve got to get the votes.”

Nicole is neither leading nor organizing these protests that are happening in downtown Wilmington in the evenings; she doesn’t know when they will end, but plans to stand there along with the protestors until change is made.

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